Amina Nadeem

Primary Teacher

Stepps Primary School

  • More Knowledgeable Others

What happens when you use “more knowledgeable others” in pairs?


The Curriculum for Excellence focuses on multiple learning strategies in order to support pupil learning. In order to do this effectively, it is important that teaching professionals carry out a professional enquiry. This will allow them to challenge and transform education by investigating new strategies whilst monitoring and developing their own practice. In doing so, teachers will increase their knowledge of teaching and learning which will enable them to make more professional and autonomous judgements to enhance learning (adapted from General Teaching Council Scotland (GTCS), online).

One of the challenges in schools, examined by Florian (2007) was how to respect as well as respond to differences between children in such ways that we include all learners in. However, she points out that in order to meet this challenge, the standard for inclusive practice is set high as this a complex pedagogical endeavor as we are attempting to extend what is already available to learners. Furthermore, Thomas and Loxley (2001); Fendler and Muzaffar (2008) (cited in Florian and Hawkins, 2012), have discussed that teachers’ actions and decisions are often influenced by the assumptions of thinking about ability.

As the classroom is a busy environment with children of different ability levels and requirements, it is important that the teacher is able to ensure challenge and progression for each child. This enquiry is set within Vygotsky’s socio-constructivist conceptual framework as it involves collaborative dialogue. This theory suggests that by allowing children to become ‘more knowledgeable others’ for their peers they can help them develop in their zone of proximal development.


Vygotsky’s theory suggests that using ‘more knowledgeable others’ in pairs is beneficial to both learners. This enquiry will examine the impact on ability and development by using ‘more knowledgeable others’ in pairs.

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