The Curriculum for Excellence values the role of social interactions in the context of 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 language and development” (Building the Curriculum 2, Online).
Furthermore, Vygotsky, a 20th century theorist, promoted collaborative dialogue and social interaction as his findings suggest that peers can help scaffold learning. This enquiry is set within Vygotsky’s socio- constructivist conceptual framework as it involves collaborate dialogue in the form of ‘Think, Pair, Share.’ Vygotsky’s theory suggests that ‘pairing’ children with their ‘more able’ peers can help them progress in their zone of proximal development (Vygotsky, 1978).
Baturo (2004) further suggests that using talk in the classroom may be a significant learning tool that will positively impact numeracy abilities. Using dialogue to develop numeracy skills may also generate motivation from children as they are being provided with the opportunity to explore and develop ideas with their peers, allowing them to extend their thoughts. Jaramillo (1996) agrees with this and further proves the importance of a learner’s social interaction with other people, concluding that interaction with others is crucial for a person’s social development. Due to the varying levels of ability within the classroom, some pupils may enjoy and perhaps benefit from working with others to discuss their thoughts and reasoning before sharing with the class.
The aim of this enquiry is to examine what happens when introducing ‘Think, Pair, Share’ to number talks lessons. It also presents the opportunity to evaluate the progress of those in need of support within the classroom when working collaboratively with a ‘highly able’ child. For the purpose of this enquiry, children will work in mixed ability pairs to talk, plan and share.