Ruth MacLean

Primary Teacher

Chryston Primary

  • Assessment For Learning

What Happens When I Introduce A Structure For Pupil-Led Discussion In The Classroom?


As teachers, we are highly aware of the influence we may have on pupil discussion or dialogue and the importance of trying to encourage independence. Vygotsky (1978) has argued that involving language in learning is essential for individual development and plays a key role in group problem solving. Traditionally in the classroom, there is a particular emphasis on the teacher talking and the children listening across all stages of the Curriculum (Mercer, 1995). Recently there has been a change and “excessive teacher talk” (Pay & Bradley, 2016) has been criticised. Schools and teachers are now being encouraged to allow more pupil discussion in classrooms, as it provides many more opportunities for children to be engaged in their own learning (Paton, 2014).

Although the majority of my class are enthusiastic in discussions, it can be a struggle to get all of the children engaged and participating in pupil-led discussions to ensure that they are meaningful to their learning. The purpose of this investigation is to explore what impact a structure has on pupil-led discussion and if it can help promote more meaningful learning.


The aims of this study are to investigate the impact introducing a structure has on pupil-led discussion in the classroom. The enquiry also aims to investigate it the introduction

  • To investigate pupil engagement in classroom discussions.
  • To investigate the link between pupil performance and discussion structure.
Download Practitioner Enquiry