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Thinking Together projects page, classroom image

This section provides information on some previous research projects related to the Thinking Together programme:

  • Smile - Thinking Together around ICT in the Primary Mathematics Curriculum: Improving Classroom Practice
  • Key Stage 1 - Talking for Success: Widening Access to Educational Opportunities through Teaching Children how to Reason Together
  • Key Stage 2 - Language, Thinking and ICT in the primary curriculum: The Thinking Together approach with ICT to Maths and Science
  • Key Stage 3 - Thinking Together at KS3: A joint Milton Keynes-Open University project for raising achievement in English and foundation subjects.
  • Dialogic Teaching in Science  (2004-2007) - Funded by ESRC, the team included Phil Scott and Jaume Ametller (Leeds) as well as Neil Mercer, Judith Kleine Staarman and Lyn Dawes . This project examined the incidence, nature and functions of teacher-student dialogue in science education in upper primary and lower secondary classrooms. More information is available at
  • The Oracy Project (2013-14) - The aim of this project is to create a teacher-friendly toolkit for assessing the spoken language skills of school students in Year 7. It is being carried out jointly with School 21 in London and is funded by the Educational Endowment Foundation. The Cambridge project team members are Neil Mercer, Paul Warwick and Ayesha Ahmed.

Professional  Development for Teachers

A typical outline for session s:

9.30 – 10.30 am:  Neil Mercer: Keynote

What research tells us about the impact of talk in the classroom.
Interthinking – what it is and why it is important.


11 am – 12.30 am: Lyn Dawes: Talk for Learning workshop.

Strategies and activities which can help to stimulate and sustain exploratory talk.  Delegates take part in practical activities which can be readily customised to support curriculum learning at all Key Stages.

 A specific focus might be: Talk for writing; Talk for Science learning; Assessing classroom talk and identifying the impact of talk; Talk in groups; Talk between teachers and learners;  lanning for talk.


We have provided professional development sessions for these schools, organisations and LEAs:


September 2002          Charles Dickens School, Southwark


September 2002          First Schools, Milton Keynes


September 2002          The Lord Grey School & Stantonbury School, MK


January 2002               The Teaching Thinking Conference, London.


February 2003             Bedfordshire Head Teacher’s Conference, Flitwick


April 2003                   Workshop for Ashton C of E School, Dunstable


June 2003                    Teaching Thinking conferences, London and Birmingham


July 2003                     Talk and Learning Workshop, Cornwall LEA.


July 2003                    Thinking Together: Gloucestershire LEA


September 2003          Thinking Together: Tower Hamlets Education Authority


October 2004              Workshop for Middleton School, Milton Keynes


April 2005                   Head teachers and Literacy Co-ordinators Conference, Manchester LA.


June & Sept 2005        Clapham Park Development Project, Hounslow LA.


October 2005              Workshop for Lansbury Lawrence School, Tower Hamlets


July 2006                     Learning Schools – Head Teachers Conference. Luton LA. 


February 2007             Dialogic pedagogy in Bexley Primary and Secondary Schools Conference


January 2007               Talk and Learning for Literacy, Stoke on Trent LA.


November 2008          Talk and Learning Conference, Hampshire LA.


June 2009                    Primary English Conference, West Berkshire LA.


June 2009                    Lambeth Science Teachers Conference, The Oval, London


September 2009          Boys into Writing Conference, Wiltshire LA


September 2009          Teaching Gifted and Talented Children Conference, Gloucestershire LA.


October 2010              Yorkshire Science Teachers Conference, Wakefield


February 2010             Speaking and Listening; Secondary teachers, Finchley


July 2011                     Language Champions Project, Bradford

                                    Talk for learning; Secondary English Teachers, Coventry

                                    West Sussex LEA: Leading Teachers conference


Sept 2011 - 13             Talk for Learning with Primary and Secondary schools in Coventry


June 2012                    Talk for Learning: Cornwall, St Mellion (cross phase)


2012 ongoing               Talk for Learning, Waterbeach Primary School, Cambridgeshire


2012 ongoing               School 21 Oracy Project


October 2103              Talk for Learning
                                    Bodmin College and feeder primary schools: Conference.