Recently created NSW Institute of Teachers (NSWIT) put the quality of teaching at the top of its agenda. The Framework of Professional Teaching Standards emphasises the importance of teachers’ effective communication with their students (NSWIT 2006, pg3). The importance of teacher - student communication in learner’s achievements is strongly emphasised in the socio-cultural educational theory, originated by Lev Vygotsky (1978) and further developed in modern research (Daniels 2001). This theory describes the process of teaching and learning as "much more than face-to-face interaction or the simple transmission of prescribed knowledge and skills" (Daniels 2001, pg2) but rather places stress on dialogue and co-construction of knowledge (Wells 1999). It describes teaching as strongly influenced by, and embedded in its social and cultural context and points to the meaning of teaching as the transformation of socially constructed knowledge into that which is individually owned by the learner. This type of teaching assumes a specific paradigm of teacher-student interaction where the role of the adult is that of collaborator and co-constructor. A strong emphasis is on the active position of the learner, which is essential for the development of the life-long learning skills.
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