chapter  4
Task, time and talk
Pages 117

In this study, a sequel to the one described in the previous chapter, we come even closer to the core of primary education - children and teachers at work. The study is grounded in systematic classroom observation, backed by extensive transcript material of teacher-pupil discourse, and uses a mixture of quantitative and qualitative methods to explore how lessons are structured and sequenced, the learning tasks pupils are given, how they respond to them, how teachers and pupils spend their time, and the character of that all-important feature of classroom life, talk. It raises questions not just about the fine detail of what is observed, but also about the versions of good practice which teachers such as these seek to emulate, especially in respect of notions like curriculum balance, groupwork and 'exploratory' learning.