In this episode Ms James’ Year 5 classroom discuss why the secret portal to Narnia in C.S. Lewis’ novel The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe was sometimes open and sometimes closed. The class consider a series of possibilities, testing each against evidence from the story. At one point in the discussion Ms James disagrees with one of the pupils, rather than evaluating his answer as right or wrong as is more common. Immediately after Ms James’ expression of disagreement, another pupil disagreed with Ms James, and a third pupil disagreed with the second. Is it possible that the first (teacher) disagreement set off a chain reaction of further (pupil) disagreements? And what became of those disagreements – what sort of dialogue did they bring about? This exchange was one of four exchanges that explored pupils’ pre-prepared answers to questions about the story, and the only one in which we witnessed a dramatic breakthrough to dialogue. How can the differences among these exchanges be explained?
Following our analysis of the episode we include guest commentaries by David Reedy, Principal Adviser for primary schools in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham and current General Secretary of the United Kingdom Literacy Association (UKLA); and James Cresswell, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Booth University College, Winnipeg, Canada.
Here’s the full transcript for this episode.