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From exploratory talk to abstract reasoning: a case for far transfer?

Research has shown improvements in science, mathematics, and language scores when classroom discussion is employed in school-level science and mathematics classes. Studies have also shown statistically and practically significant gains in children’s reasoning abilities as measured by the Raven’s Standard Progressive Matrices test when employing the practice of Bexploratory talk^. While these studies suggest that transfer of learning had taken place, a number of dialog-intensive designs have failed to find positive results, only reported delayed transfer, or have been criticized in terms of methodological rigor, small sample sizes, or because they have only shown small effect sizes. In this study, the claim is made that a particular set of studies which focused on exploratory talk and reasoning abilities, and which used designs that are better positioned to meet the standards mentioned above when presenting data in support of far transfer, provides robust evidence of far transfer within the framework of Barnett and Ceci’s taxonomy of transfer. Possible relationships between exploratory talk, argumentation, and key domains in the science of learning are considered in an attempt to explain the apparent far transfer effects when children engage in exploratory talk.

Uploaded by: Paul Webb
Author: Webb, Paul | ORCID: 0000-0002-4118-8973
Co-author: Whitlow, J. W. Jr. | ORCID: 0000-0002-3489-4458
Co-author: Venter, Danie | ORCID: 0000-0003-3378-0165
Institution: Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology | Centre: East and South African-German Centre for Educational Research, Methodologies and Management (CERM-ESA)
Type: Journal article | English | Peer Reviewed
Subjects: Education

Published: Educational Psychology Review, ISSN 1040-726X | Volume 29, Number 3 | New York: Springer Science+Business Media
Date: 28 April 2016 | Pages: 565 - 581
Copyright: ⓒ Springer Science+Business Media New York, 2016 | License: Springer Science+Business Media: The final publication is available at