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Really Saying Something? Speaking Up for Authentic Classroom Talk

Knight, Rupert



Pupils’ talk within classrooms has recently seen a renewed focus of attention, usually under the banner of oracy. Much of the justification at policy level seems to stem from a ‘levelling-up’ agenda, based on oracy’s distinctive contribution to enhancing opportunity through developing pupils’ communicative competence with benefits for employability and attainment. Worthy and well-founded as these aspirations are, this article seeks to reassert, alongside them, the potential of oracy also to promote pupils’ authentic voices and involvement in their own learning. Some criteria for avoiding ‘voiceless’ participation are used as a starting point for examining everyday classroom practice. Using real examples of recent practices, the article then shows how, despite the constraints of the current policy climate, teachers can and do find ways of ensuring authentic verbal participation in their lessons. They achieve this through the classroom conditions they create, the stance they adopt towards pupils’ contributions and the purpose that talk serves.


Knight, R. (2023). Really Saying Something? Speaking Up for Authentic Classroom Talk. Forum: for Promoting 3-19 Comprehensive Education, 65(1), 98-107.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 21, 2022
Online Publication Date Mar 29, 2023
Publication Date 2023-03
Deposit Date Feb 28, 2023
Publicly Available Date Mar 30, 2024
Journal Forum: for Promoting 3-19 Comprehensive Education
Print ISSN 0963-8253
Electronic ISSN 1474-7685
Publisher Lawrence and Wishart
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Volume 65
Issue 1
Pages 98-107
Keywords Pupils’ talk; oracy; authentic classroom talk; dialogic classroom; discourse of collaboration
Public URL
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