chapter  2
Pages 12

In order for the children to collaborate effectively we believe that ground rules need to be introduced. The majority of research investigating the use of ground rules has made a positive link between their use and children’s learning through talk (Mercer, 1995; DfES, 2004a; Alexander, 2006). However, Lambirth (2006) warns against the tendency to produce what he describes as ‘Mary Poppins’ rules; rules that are too good to be true. Our research supported the use of ground rules to help children work within a climate where dialogue between them is both accepted and promoted. However, we advocate the use of a range of rules, which can be used to ‘pick and mix’ for any given task (see the suggestions in the workshops). The children who took part in the project certainly found them useful and, encouragingly, chose wisely and later began to revise the ‘rules’ as they became more confident talkers.This ensured that any ‘Mary Poppins’ rules devised in the initial stages were refined as the children’s understanding of how the rules operated in a variety of contexts developed.