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What styles of reasoning are important in primary English?

Oliver, Michaela (2021) 'What styles of reasoning are important in primary English?', The Curriculum Journal, 32 (4). pp. 704-721.


The importance of teaching reasoning in schools is widely recognised. Yet this has presented teachers with difficulties, particularly in primary education. Difficulties partially stem from a lack of cohesive theory about reasoning for education and a lack of specificity about it in the English National Curriculum. One route to improved teaching of reasoning is through recognition of the importance and prevalence of discipline-specific practices. This paper draws on socio-cultural theory and disciplinary literacy research to argue that some reasoning practices are discipline specific. The theoretical lens of reasoning styles is adopted. A cognitive history approach has been used to create a framework of reasoning styles important in primary English. English represents a curriculum area that is currently poorly understood in terms of its prevalent reasoning practices. This paper, therefore, makes important theoretical and pedagogical contributions to existing research. Examples of student engagement with identified reasoning styles are provided. The framework and accompanying examples will help teachers to support the development of student reasoning, particularly in the subject of English. Developing students’ meta-awareness of patterns of language use is beneficial. Development may also support students to become fuller members of the English academic community.

Item Type:Article
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Publisher statement:© 2021 The Author. The Curriculum Journal published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Educational Research Association This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Date accepted:18 May 2021
Date deposited:21 June 2021
Date of first online publication:19 June 2021
Date first made open access:21 June 2021

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