Dialogical, Enquiry and Participatory Approaches to Learning

Donna Hurford, Chris Rowley

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterEducationpeer-review


Dialogical enquiry and participatory approaches
This chapter is concerned with approaches to leading children into active participation and enquiry, through involvement in their own learning, both at Key Stages 1 and 2. The terms ‘enquiry’, ‘learning’ and ‘active participation’ are closely related. We link these approaches to dialogue and discussion because these aspects of learning are often dealt with separately in the literature and yet clearly they are a form of enquiry and participatory learning. We draw upon a range of literature and research in order to justify these approaches and we offer some examples of how they might be put into practice in the primary curriculum. Dialogical enquiry and participatory approaches apply across educational stages and have much in common with the concept of ‘sustained, shared thinking’ identified in the Researching Effective Pedagogy in the Early Years (REPEY) Project (Siraj-Blatchford et al. 2002). This project found that the most effective strategies and techniques for promoting learning in the early years involved adult–child interactions in which the adult responds to the child’s understanding of a subject or activity, the child responds to what is to be learnt, what is in the adult’s mind, and both contribute to and are involved in the learning process, although the project also found that such exchanges do not occur frequently and that freely chosen play activities often provided the best opportunities for adults to extend children’s thinking (Cooper 2004 pp. 1–2).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProfessional Studies in Primary Education
EditorsHilary Cooper, Sally Elton-Chalcraft
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherSAGE Publications
Publication date2018
ISBN (Print)9781526409683, 9781526409676
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • participatory approaches
  • dialogic enquiry
  • Philosophy for Children
  • Global Citizenship


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