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The Collaborative Learning Project

Stuart Scott

The Collaborative Learning Project is a network of teachers who develop and share accessible talk-for-learning activities in all subject areas and for all ages. Originally set up in the 1980s, the aim of the project is to generate interesting and creative ways for all children to learn together in classes where many different languages are spoken, and where children are learning English while learning.

Activities to promote talk take time to make, but by sharing them, we hope to inspire others to work in similar ways. We have a lot of activities in paper form developed in the 1980s and 1990s. We are revising these and making them available. Now that talk is once again beginning to be recognised as a priority and recent research is even more supportive of its vital part to play in learning, we plan to expand our network and increase the number of activities online. Everyone is welcome to join the network.

The specific purposes and principles that guide teachers in creating talk-for-learning activities clearly also reflect the key pedagogical principles of co-agency, trust and everybody identified in the first Learning without Limits study:

  1. The activities place high value on what children can offer to each other on a particular topic.
  2. Teacher instructions are kept to the minimum. Children work out what to do by sharing/reading written instructions.
  3. The materials give children the opportunity to participate in their own words (or language) in their own time, without pressure.
  4. They encourage children to respect each other’s views and formulate shared opinions.
  5. They aim to be anti-racist, avoid gender stereotyping and promote equal opportunities.
  6. They develop learning-to-learn skills in context and support the use of a range of appropriate information books.
  7. They are suitable for a wide age group, because children can bring their own knowledge to an activity and refer to books that they choose themselves to further their own interests.
  8. All the activities have been produced by teachers working collaboratively, and are disseminated to encourage other teachers to do likewise.