Some results of formative research carried out in primary schools in rural India have been presented. The relationship between the lesson content and the participation of the pupils has been investigated. The spontaneous participation of pupils in teacher-directed classrooms is shown to be correlated with the time spent by the teacher in relating the content of the textbook to the natural experiences of the pupils. The use of an experiment or a teaching aid is also found to be useful in drawing participation from the pupils. The results of the study are relevant for teachers working in a traditional, teacher-dominated sytem of education.