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The Meaning Makers (2nd edition) Learning to Talk and Talking to Learn Author: Gordon Wells

Paperback - 360 pages
18 Aug 2009
Multilingual Matters
210 x 148 (A5)


The Meaning Makers traces the language and literacy development of a large, representative sample of children from age 1 to 10, quoting liberally from observations made at home and at school. Setting the findings of the study in the context of recent research, it offers suggestions for improving children’s opportunities for learning.


In the first edition of The Meaning Makers, Gordon Wells used a wealth of observational data to demonstrate the importance of talk with adults for children’s learning and development. The book worked especially well because it included the voices of the children and adults in its many illustrative examples. This new edition not only links the original analysis to recent research and contemporary educational issues, but also provides fascinating insights into the changing perspectives of a researcher over the span of a highly productive, international career.
Neil Mercer, Professor of Education, University of Cambridge

Author Biography:

Dr. Gordon Wells is currently Professor of Education at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he researches and teaches in the fields of: language, literacy, and learning; the analysis of classroom interaction; and sociocultural theory. As an educator, his particular interest is in fostering dialogic inquiry as an approach to learning and teaching at all levels, based on the work of Vygotsky and other sociocultural theorists. The rationale for this approach together with examples of it in practice are presented in Dialogic inquiry: Towards a Sociocultural Practice and Theory of Education (Cambridge University Press, 1999). From 1969 to 1984, he was the Director of the Bristol Study of Language Development at Home and at School, and from 1984 to 2000, he was a professor at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto, where he was involved in several collaborative action research projects with educational practitioners in Canada. Chief among these was a project entitled “Developing Inquiring Communities in Education” (DICEP), which was funded by the Spencer Foundation. Books arising from this work are Constructing Knowledge Together (Heinemann, 1992), Changing Schools from Within (OISE Press and Heinemann, 1994), and Action, Talk and Text: Learning and Teaching through Inquiry, written with his DICEP teacher colleagues, (Teachers College Press, 2001). He is also co-editor of Learning for Life in the 21st Century: Sociocultural Perspectives on the Future of Education (Blackwell, 2002).

Readership Level:

Postgraduate, Research / Professional, Undergraduate, Text

Table of Contents

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