Experimenting with the CHAT theory in the Social Sciences lessons on the Black Death, I have found that it was not initially easy for the learners to understand as to what was required from them. Moving away from an environment where all lessons were based on traditional teaching methods with very little room for manoeuvre, learners experienced an activity based lesson environment. They did not know if they were actually allowed to talk and also if they were actually allowed to take part in collaborative learning. The more I promoted collaborative learning, the more comfortable the learners became. I have explained the process of mediation to them, and told them that we have to work together in solving this problem (Roth and Lee, 2007).
I have found that those quiet learners that never say "boo or bah" in class, do not actually have the ability to express themselves verbally. They have a natural flair for getting involved by researching ideas on the Internet. To make them become part of the mediation process, I recommended they summarise their findings and present it briefly in their groups. Only their group members will hear them talking, and they would not be exposed to the whole class. They produced usable data and in their unique ways communicated their findings to members of their own groups.
Roth, W.M.& Lee, Y. 2007. Vygotsky's Neglected Legacy: Cultural -Historical Activity Theory. Review of Educational Research. June 2007, Vol.77, No2, pp 186-232.