Paige Clark

Primary Teacher

St. Joseph’s Primary School

  • More Knowledgeable Others

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


For the purpose of this enquiry I intend to investigate and measure how introducing “More Knowledgeable Other” (MKO) pairings impacts taught writing using talk as a catalyst.

The Curriculum for Excellence values and highlights the importance of social interactions in relation to learning and teaching. Scottish Executive . (2007). Building the Curriculum 2 states: “planning the careful development of literacy and numeracy skills supported by a strong and continuing emphasis on oral languagge and development.”

Concurrently, Vygotsky; a 20th century theorist promoted the use of “More Knowledgable Other” (MKO) which suggests peers can help to scaffold one and others learning and understanding through social interaction and collaborative dialogue, at the point of Zone of Proximal development (ZPD), a “highly abled” child may be able to support and scaffold the learning of a child in need of support, in the hope they will become independent. Vygotsky, (1978).

Talk is of great importance when learning to write. Fisher, Myhill, Jones and Larkin (2010), suggest using talk in the classroom may be a beneficial tool that will impact positively on the writing experience. Using talk to develop writing may also generate motivation from children as they are being given the opportunity to explore ideas with their peers, to develop and extend their thoughts.


The aim of this enquiry is to examine what happens when introducing “More Knowledgeable Other” (MKO) pairings during taught writing lessons. It also provides an opportunity to evaluate the progress of the children in need of support within the classroom setting when working alongside a “highly abled” child. Throughout the intervention children will work in mixed ability pairs to talk, plan and write. The achievement of these aims will demonstrate the extent to which children have engaged with their taught writing lesson when working with a MKO.

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