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School of Education

Dr Ruth Newman

Dr Ruth Newman

Associate Professor in Language Education


 +44 (0) 1392 724746

 North Cloisters NC139


North Cloisters, University of Exeter, St Luke's Campus, Heavitree Road, Exeter, EX1 2LU, UK


My research interests focus on the role of talk in the teaching of language and literacy, including the role of dialogic metatalk in the development of metalinguistic understanding and writing.  I am a member of the Centre for Research in Language and Literacy and teach primarily on the Secondary English PGCE programme and MA Education (online). Before joining Exeter, I worked as a secondary English teacher.


PhD awarded June 2014, MSc, PGCE English with Drama; Senior Fellow HEA. 

Research group links

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Research interests

My research interests are in the field of language and literacy, with a particular focus on classroom talk, and the potential of dialogic metatalk in the teaching of writing.

My PhD research examined the teaching of collaborative talk in the Secondary English classroom, and focused particularly on the role of the teacher in shaping collaborative dialogues, the relationship between emotional engagement and dialogic talk, and the learning potential of metatalk. I have worked on a number of research projects, including Powerful Learning Conversations (Youth Sports Trust), Grammar at GCSE (Pearson) and Choice and Control (EEF).

Metatalk about Writing (ESRC New Investigator)

I am currently leading an ESRC funded study (New Investigator Grant) to investigate the impact of high quality classroom talk on children’s metalinguistic understanding and writing. For more information, please follow the link below to the Metatalk about Writing project page. 

Research projects

2020- ongoing (ESRC New Investigator) Metatalk about Writing. 

2016-2017 (Education Endowment Fund) Choice and Control in Writing. 

2014 - 2016 (Youth Sport Trust) Powerful Learning Conversations.

2013 - 2014 (Pearson Education) Grammar at GCSE. A study of the impact of contextualised grammar teaching on reading and writing.

2009 - 2014 (ESRC PhD CASE studentship) Making talk work: Exploring the teaching of collaborative talk. 


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Myhill D, Watson A, Newman R, Dowdall C (2022). Understanding Literacy and Disadvantage., SAGE. Abstract.
Watson A, Newman R (2021). A Practical Guide to Teaching English in the Secondary School., Routledge. Abstract.

Journal articles

Watson A, Newman R, Morgan S (2021). Metatalk and Metalinguistic knowledge: the interplay of procedural and declarative knowledge in the classroom discourse of first-language grammar teaching. Language Awareness
Newman R, Watson A (2020). Shaping Spaces: Teachers’ Orchestration of Metatalk about Written Text. Linguistics and Education, 60 Abstract.
Myhill D, Watson A, Newman R (2020). Thinking differently about grammar and metalinguistic understanding in writing. Bellaterra Journal of Teaching & Learning Language & Literature, 13(2), e870-e870. Abstract.
Newman RMC (2017). Let’s talk talk: Utilising metatalk for the development of productive collaborative dialogues. Thinking Skills and Creativity, 26, 1-12.
Watson AM, Newman RMC (2017). Talking grammatically: L1 adolescent metalinguistic reflection on writing. Language Awareness, 26(4), 381-398. Abstract.
Newman RMC (2016). Engaging Talk: One teacher's scaffolding of collaborative talk. Language and Education, 31(2), 130-151. Abstract.
Myhill D, Newman R (2016). Metatalk: Enabling metalinguistic discussion about writing. International Journal of Educational Research, 80, 177-187. Abstract.
Newman RMC (2016). Working talk: developing a framework for the teaching of collaborative talk. Research Papers in Education, 31(1), 107-131. Abstract.
Newman RMC (2015). 'All in favour, say aye!' Voting in pupils' collaborative talk. Changing English: Studies in Culture and Education, 22(1), 87-98.


Myhill D, Newman R (2023). Writing Talk: Investigating Metalinguistic Talk about Written Texts. In  (Ed) Dialogic Pedagogy: Discourse in contexts from pre-school to university, Routledge.
Watson A, Newman R, Myhill D (2022). Creating a language-rich classroom. In  (Ed) Learning to Teach in the Secondary School a Companion to School Experience, Learning to Teach Subjects in the Secondary School Series, 394-404. Abstract.
Myhill D, Newman R, Watson A, Susan J (2022). Writing Dialogues: Metalinguistic Talk about Writing. In Solheim R, Otnes H, Rijs-Johansen M (Eds.) Samtale, Saskrive, Samhandle, Universitetsforlaget, 71-93.
Myhill D, Newman R (2019). Writing Talk – Developing metalinguistic understanding through dialogic teaching. In Mercer N, Wegerif R, Major L (Eds.) International Handbook of Research on Dialogic Education, London: Routledge.
Myhill DA, Newman R (2019). Writing talk: Developing metalinguistic understanding through dialogic teaching. In Mercer N, Wegerif R, Mercer L (Eds.) Routledge International Handbook of Research on Dialogic Education, London: Routledge, 360-372. Abstract.
Myhill D, Watson A, Newman R (2017). Re-thinking grammar in the curriculum. In Egeland B, Olin-Scheller C, Tanner M, Tengberg M (Eds.) Tolfte nationella konferensen I svenska med didaktisk inriktning Textkulturer, 25-44-25-44.

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