This book is about how people help other people to learn. Human life depends on knowledge being jointly created and shared: we rely on others for developing our understanding and for acquiring practical and intellectual skills. Yet most research on learning and thinking has focused on individuals. In The Guided Construction of Knowledge the author uses examples of talk recorded in classrooms and other places to show how teachers and learners, or learners working together, succeed and fail in the vital process of guiding learning and constructing knowledge. The book makes the ideas of socio-cultural research accessible to a wide audience and directly relevant to the practical concerns of teachers about the quality of education in their classrooms.
Neil Mercer is Reader and Director of the Centre for Language and Communications in the School of Education at the Open University. He is a psychologist whose research has mainly been on the everyday use of language in education and training, and in the course of this research he has worked closely with teachers and occupational trainers in the UK and with researchers in Europe and Latin America. He wrote 'Common Knowledge: The Development of Understanding in the Classroom' with Derek Edwards (Methuen/Routledge, 1987), was joint director with John Elliot of the SLANT (Spoken Language and New Technology) project and chaired the development of the Open University's first distance-education MA (Education) course on language and literacy. He has taught a variety of subjects to learners of varied ages and backgrounds.
What the book is about; ways of talking; guidance strategies; the learner's angle; a theory of practice; talking and working together; teachers, researchers and the construction of knowledge.