Episodes 4-5. Debating football in Year 6

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As preparation for the SATs tests the Year 6 classes conducted debates and prepared persuasive essays on the topic of restricting football playing on the school playground at lunch time.  The topic attracted considerable interest and concern, and led to many pupils’ spirited involvement in the activity.  The teachers moved to a relatively peripheral role in the debate to allow for more pupil participation in the discussion and greater pupil control over its course. This positioning led to interesting dynamics as the pupils assumed responsibility for conduct of the debates, but were unable to manage them effectively. In this chapter we discuss how two teachers, Ms Lightfoot and Ms Anderton, coped with this problem, and implications for designing debate activities and the teacher’s role in conducting them.

Following our analyses of Episodes 4 and 5 we include guest commentaries by Jeff Barrett, who served as Headteacher of Abbeyford Primary School while the lessons appearing in this book were recorded, and participated in all the workshops in which the teachers and researchers analysed video-recorded episodes; Lucy Henning, a Primary National Strategies literacy consultant for two West London LEAs and PhD student at King’s College London; and Jayne White, Senior Lecturer in the Faculty Education at University of Waikato, New Zealand.

The full transcripts for these episodes are Episode 4 and Episode 5.