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Talk Strategies



Our job is to create rooms with students’ voices. Not to be the main voice. -Pernille Ripp


Talk offers a multitude of learning opportunities. Strategies for talk such as talk moves and the routines that surround classroom discussions need to be modelled prior inviting students to try them out.

Facilitating Talk in the Classroom

Increase Wait Time

  • Give students time to think and formulate an answer before you call on them.
  • Strategies such as "turn and talk" and "think pair share".

Encourage Active Listening

  • Teach students to listen carefully before they reply to each other’s responses. Model using prompts such as "This is what I heard you say...".
  • Ask follow-up questions such as, "What do you think about that?" or "Do we all agree with this?"

Organize the Classroom to Encourage Participation

  • Set up the classroom to accomodate discussion in small groups or in a larger square or circle. 
  • Students should be able to see one another to encourage responsing to each other.

Model and Use Talk Moves

  • Talk moves can be modeled "I wonder if...?" and used to focus or synthesize the conversation "So you are saying that...".
  • Talk moves can be used to press students to extend their thinking during classroom discussions "Can you tell me more?" or for specificity "What makes that a good example?".


Implementing Talk in the Classroom



Download this infographic here.


Additional Resources

Jeff Zwiers from the Stanford Graduate School of Eductation maintains a website that offers many learning activites and resources for cultivating classroom discusions.

Exit tickets help students reflect on their small group discussions and are a tool that facilitates teacher feedback on student-centered discussions.

Enough with the Teacher Talk- Ideas for Getting More Student Talk by Pernille Ripp offers practical ideas and strategies for student-centered talk. 

Teaching the Talk, Not the Text discusses practical ideas for introducing more student-centered talk in the classroom.

In Literature as Invitation Robert E. Probst considers the potential for dialogic talk about literature. 

Barker, L.M. Under Discussion: Teaching Speaking and Listening. English Journal, Jan. 2015. p. 97-100. Print.