Exploring types of educational classroom talk in early childhood education centres

Heli Muhonen, Priti Verma, Antje von Suchodoletz, Helena Rasku-Puttonen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Educational classroom talk is beneficial for children’s learning and communicative development (Alexander 2018); however, current research has focused predominantly on classroom talk starting at the primary school level. This study explored types of educational classroom talk between teachers and children as early as in early childhood education (ECE) in the United Arab Emirates. It also examined variations in the occurrence of different types of classroom talk, depending on activities and content areas. Twenty-nine video-recorded and transcribed sessions from 11 ECE classrooms serving three- to four-year-old children were analysed; the analysis was partly theory driven and partly data driven with respect to communicative acts, events, and situations. Four types of educational classroom talk were identified: initiation–response–feedback (IRF), open naming, open informal discussion, and teacher-directed exploration. IRF dominated the interactions across all content areas and activities. More extended exchanges between teachers and children occurred predominantly in small-group activities. No strictly defined educational teacher–student dialogue was found. The study showed variations in educational classroom talk in ECE settings and suggests that there is an urgent need to increase extended educational classroom talk between teachers and children in the early stages of pre-primary education to support children’s development and learning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)30-51
Number of pages22
JournalResearch Papers in Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2022


  • Educational classroom talk
  • United Arab Emirates
  • activity
  • content area
  • early childhood education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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