Reason and creativity in classroom dialogues
University of Exeter
Language and Education
Multilingual Matters & Channel View Publications
The development of reason has long been an important aim for education. This is possibly reflected in the emphasis on the importance of explicit verbal reasoning in definitions of ‘Exploratory Talk’: a concept that has had some influence on classroom teaching. In this paper I argue from transcript evidence that, while Exploratory Talk is a specific dialogical model of reason that has proved to be a useful pedagogic tool, there are educationally valuable ways of talking together that are characterised more by verbal creativity than by explicit reasoning. Close analysis of actual dialogues highlights the essential importance of verbal creativity even to the task of solving reasoning test problems in small groups. This analysis also suggests that the extent and quality of creativity found in classroom dialogues is influenced by shared ground rules. This implies the need to expand our understanding of dialogical reason to incorporate creativity and to develop dialogical models to support the stimulation and channelling of creativity in educational contexts.
Language and Education, 19, (3), 223-238