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Durham University

School of Education

Staff Profile

Publication details for Michaela Oliver

Oliver, Michaela (2019), Exploring and developing reasoning in primary English, in Shao, Xin & Dobson, Emma eds, Imagining Better Education. Durham, England, Durham University, School of Education, Durham, England, 137-150.

Author(s) from Durham


The socio-cultural framework describes reasoning as a cultural phenomenon,
expanding thinking to something which is played out in public. Drawing upon the
academic field of cognitive history, this project argues that academic domains
have developed their own ‘styles of reasoning’, which can be found as ways of
arguing in debates and written texts, and which should be promoted in the school
curriculum. This project identifies styles of reasoning drawn upon in English
literature and of importance within primary English. Activities are developed
which can be adapted to promote particular reasoning styles in the primary
classroom. Transcripts are coded and analysed using the Cambridge Dialogue
Analysis Scheme (CDAS) (Vrikki et al., 2018) which has been modified to
capture style-specific reasoning in English. This paper gives an overview of the
theoretical underpinnings of the project as well as a brief description and
justification of methodologies used.