Classroom Discussions in Education: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Classroom Discussions in Education

1st Edition

By P. Karen Murphy


148 pages | 20 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2017-09-28
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Classroom discussion is a concept familiar across the field of education and is often employed to support students’ comprehension of text. Edited by a leading expert on classroom discussion, this book situates the topic within the broader context of educational psychology research and theory and brings it to a wider audience. Five chapters describe in detail the different approaches to discussion and provide recommendations for best practices and curricular materials for student success. This concise volume is designed for anyeducation course that includes discussion in the curriculum and is indispensible for student researchers and both pre- and in-service teachers alike.


"This edited volume provides a comprehensive examination of classroom talk from both the student and teacher perspectives. The book will be highly beneficial for academics that want to learn more about classroom discourse and for pre- and in-service teachers. The depth of the treatment of the topic includes theoretical and some empirical works to satisfy an academic audience, while the use of specific examples will help those not versed in the theoretical or empirical perspectives to apply what is in this volume to their classroom practice. This is particularly helpful in Chapter 4, where specific examples are given across academic domains, and in Chapter 5, where broader principles about quality talk are discussed."

—Daniel L. Dinsmore, Associate Professor of Educational Psychology in the Department of Foundations & Secondary Education at the University of North Florida, USA

"At the core of all classroom instruction are discussions—the academic talk that occurs between teachers and their students. But what distinguishes good discussions that promote students’ thinking and learning from less effective ones? That is the critical question that this volume edited by P. Karen Murphy sets out to address. With each chapter, contributing authors share guiding principles for how quality discussions should be orchestrated and the learning and motivational benefits to be accrued from those discussions by teachers and students alike. Those principles, and the illustrative cases that accompany them, put the ideal of quality classroom discussion within the reach of all educators. Given the theoretical importance and practical richness of this volume, it belongs on the must-read list for anyone concerned with improving students learning."

—Patricia A. Alexander, Jean Mullan Professor of Literacy and Distinguished Scholar-Teacher in the Department of Human Development and Quantitative Methodology at the University of Maryland, USA

Table of Contents



Chapter 1 - Classroom Discussions: Building the Foundation for Productive Talk by Rachel M. V. Croninger, Mengyi Li, Chelsea Cameron, and P. Karen Murphy

Chapter 2 - Teacher and Student Roles: Walking the Gradually Changing Line of Responsibility by Liwei Wei and P. Karen Murphy

Chapter 3 - Pedagogical Decisions and Contextual Factors: Tipping the Scales Toward Highly Productive Discussions by Mengyi Li

Chapter 4 - Learning Processes and Products: Propelling Students Ahead Through Talk by Elizabeth M. Allen, Cristin Montalbano, and Rebekah F. Duke

Chapter 5 - Quality Talk: A Blueprint for Productive Talk by P. Karen Murphy and Carla M. Firetto


Contributor Biographies


About the Author

P. Karen Murphy is Professor of Education and Harry and Marion Eberly Faculty Fellow in the Department of Educational Psychology, Counseling, and Special Education at The Pennsylvania State University, USA.

About the Series

Ed Psych Insights

The Ed Psych Insights series translates major topics from educational psychology into accessible primers for general education students, teachers in training, and all education scholars. Thorough yet concise, expert-authored yet highly readable, each Ed Psych Insights book centers on a key construct that already has a high-level evidence base but that is increasingly integrating into teaching and into the Education sector’s broader discourse. Cognition, self-regulation, student assessment, classroom discussion, and emotions are just some of the issues already covered by the volumes of the series so far. Written in language common to stakeholders across Education and readable by the intelligent public, these books offer readers a basic working knowledge of the chosen construct.

Each book is approximately 40,000 words (140 book pages) and addresses the core meaning of its construct, takeaways from existing research, and implications for pedagogy. Rather than include extensive literature reviews or references more typical of scholarly writings, each volume limits in-text citations, instead using superscript numbers to lead readers to references at the end of the book (think Wikipedia). Glossaries are included to familiarize readers with the important terms and concepts described in the book.

The Ed Psych Insights series is edited by Patricia A. Alexander, University of Maryland, USA, and published by Routledge, an imprint of Taylor & Francis.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Educational Psychology
EDUCATION / Students & Student Life
EDUCATION / Philosophy & Social Aspects
EDUCATION / Classroom Management