Reading and writing float on a sea of talk. James Britton, 1983
We know that students’ learning is enhanced when they have many opportunities to elaborate on ideas through talk. However, it takes time to create a classroom environment where students are respected and their ideas are valued. This requires a climate of trust and risk-taking. As well, students need to develop the skills and strategies that will lead to deeper and more productive discussions.
|Planning for Talk||Contexts|
|Provide daily opportunities for students to practice using talk in a variety of forms||
|Include routines and learning contexts that encourage talk||For example:|
|Establish guidelines for conversations and discussions||
Behaviours that contribute to good discussions may include:
|Encourage active listening||
Active listening is a multi-step process that involves:
|Ask, and teach students to ask, the kinds of questions that foster dialogue||
Types of questions include:
|Encourage students to engage in deeper more thought-provoking discussions||
|Provide time for reflection on talk abilities either as a class or individually||
In a whole group debriefing at the end of a group activity or discussion students can reflect on what they did well, and what they need to work on. For example:
Accountable Talk Sourcebook: For Classroom Conversations That Work is an excellent document put out by the Institute of Learning at the University of Pittsburg (2010).
YouthLearn: Programs that tap young people’s creativity and elevzte inquiry as a tool of empowerment.
Barnes, D. (1993) Exploring the potential of talk in learning, Heinemann: Portsmouth, NH
Vygotsky, L.S. (1962) Thought and Language. Cambridge, MA: MIT
Cazden, C.B. (2001) Classroom Discourse: the Language of Teaching and Learning. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann