NATE Multi-cultural & Diversity Working Group – a long history of celebrating active learning and literature from around the world


  • to reflect on developments in curriculum and assessment in English
  • develop responses to current conditions and issues
  • develop advice for teachers on progressive approaches and strategies
  • collaborate with other specialists to share good practice

The Nate M/C Diversity Working group has a long history of sharing good practice on interactive learning through talk and discussion of literature, promoting pupil engagement that is friendly to all pupils but particularly those who are new to English. These ideas about pedagogy, the use of language in the classroom and pupils’ own life experiences are distinctive, based on seminal research into how pupils acquire and enrich their spoken and written language, and are rooted in good English teaching.

The work of Joan Goody, a founder member of NATE , Head of English at Clissold Park Comprehensive School, established this committee over forty years ago and introduced teachers to new poets and novelists, disseminating the books via New Beacon and showing teachers how they could be used to support children’s talk, reading and writing.

Over the last decade the NATE M/C Diversity committee has continued to promote of talk and active engagement with a wide range of literature. The Collaborative Learning site (, has many examples of the recent work of the committee including work on:  KS2, KS3, KS4 texts; Ground Rules for talk; A set of Key Stage 3 schemes of work based on Autobiography and Reading Around the World which includes an open ended template for planning schemes of work;  Materials on Active Storytelling though talk and drama in Junior Schools in Europe with the Comenius Association. We are now developing new resources around Asian literature and planning a workshop on Asian Film and Storytelling in multilingual classrooms by revisiting the work, for example, of Satyajit Ray.

Meet the team

Stuart Scott & Valerie Coultas (Joint Chairs)

We develop, share and disseminate free talk for learning activities in all subject areas and for all ages. We started out as a group of teachers working in multilingual classrooms in Birmingham, London and New York. We were funded by the Inner London Education Authority 1983-89 and the European Union in the 1990s.

We believe that teachers are more creative and develop more engaging and exciting resources when they plan and work collaboratively inside and outside the classroom.

Stuart Scott

Stuart has worked in university education departments in England, USA, Germany, Spain and Romania; and London schools as a teacher and manager to raise the profile of talk for learning since the word ‘oracy’ was first coined. His collaborative learning resource network ( is now used by teachers in virtually every country in the world. He has been working to make classrooms language conscious and EAL friendly for over forty years and has worked as a trainer worldwide, providing practical solutions for the rapid induction and integrated language and learning development of EAL pupils.

Dr Valerie Coultas 

Valerie has been a member of NATE for many years and written for its journals and led workshops at conference and chaired the NATE Multicultural committee for over a decade. Valerie published her book, Constructive Talk in Challenging Classrooms reflecting on her 24 years’ experience of teaching English in 6 London comprehensive schools. Valerie was a Head of English at Stockwell Park School in Lambeth and at Selhurst High School in Croydon.

In 2004 she became a Senior Lecturer in English in Education at Kingston University and is now now an External Examiner for Secondary English at two universities, Edgehill and Sheffield Hallam, and continue to write and research on talk for learning. Valerie believes strongly in collaborative learning and teaching approaches that value talk and the cultural and linguistic assets of all pupils.

If you would like to find out more, please contact Stuart or Valerie

Latest news, CPD & recommended reading

Collaborative Learning is featuring paper and card learning games in this lockdown for children with no access to the internet (and those with who prefer paper games.) If you have any to contribute please do. We have quite a few Shakespeare games and also stuff on set books.