This paper argues that the National Literacy Strategy (NLS) offers contradictory pedagogical advice to teachers on 'interactive teaching'. It reports research on teachers' perceptions of and responses to this advice and focuses particularly on NLS demands for teaching which is 'well paced with a sense of urgency'. Evidence from case studies and systematic observations of classroom interaction is used to show that whilst teachers vary in their sensitivity to the dilemmas posed by NLS demands, their classroom discourse in the Literacy Hour is quantitatively and qualitatively different from pre-NLS discourse. It is suggested that opportunities for critical reflection on practice are needed to help teachers articulate and resolve the dilemmas created by the imposition of prescribed programmes on personal educational principles
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