Kathleen McCool

Primary Teacher

Gartcosh Primary

  • More Knowledgeable Others

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


This enquiry aims to investigate and measure how introducing MKO pairings impacts taught writing utilizing social interaction (talk) as a stimulus in learning and teaching.

As outlined in Vygotsky’s social development theory learners learn best by interacting with others to solve a problem. Vygotsky, (1978). Learning occurs within the ‘Zone of Proximal Development’ which is the ‘gap’ between a pupil’s ability to complete tasks with the assistance of a teacher or peers. McLeod, S. A. (2012). Vygotsky’s concept of the zone of proximal development (ZPD) implies that the learner becomes capable of solving problems when assisted by a more knowledgeable other (MKO) within a socially constructed learning environment. Learners act as motivators and guides to support each other in learning interaction between more able learners and learners who require additional support to perform tasks thus becomes a process of ‘scaffolding’ which enables learners to build upon prior knowledge in doing so it is suggested pupils will thus collaborate in learning within their zones of proximal development. Vygotsky, (1978).

The importance of the development of social interaction across all areas of the curriculum is further stressed in the Curriculum for Excellence. As stated in Building the Curriculum 4 “Oral Language skills are of personal, social and economic importance. The ability to use language lies at the centre of the development and expression of our emotions, our thinking, our learning and our sense of personal identity. Language is itself a key aspect of our culture”. Scottish Executive, (2009).


The aim of this enquiry was to investigate whether the pairing of learners one of whom being a ‘more knowledgeable other’ would impact on pupil’s taught writing.

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