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[Learning conversations] engage, motivate, and challenge...they also help us build ideas, solve problems, and communicate our thoughts. Zwiers & Crawford


We make sense of the world around us, our experiences, and our learning through language. Talk provides us opportunities to explore, elaborate, and question our own thinking, as well as the ideas of others. The talk competency is the cornerstone of the English Language Arts programs in Quebec (ELA, SELA & SELA2).

Through deliberate talk, students collaborate with peers and teachers for a variety of learning purposes. They discuss texts to deepen understanding and interpretations, they confer with peers and teachers about their own productions, and they reflect on their learning processes with others.

Talk gives students opportunities to:

  • organize their thinking, e.g. role playing, problem-solving, collaborating, asking questions, brainstorming, etc.
  • express and share thoughts, questions, points of view and ideas, e.g. engaging in literature discussions, giving feedback during writing conferences, etc.
  • gather and process information, e.g.  conducting an interview, brainstorming
  • work through problems, come up with solutions, and make decisions e.g. as part of an inquiry, in a collaborative team activity, etc.
  • make connections to prior knowledge and experiences
  • expand on their own thinking
  • present a final product, e.g. storytelling, debating, etc.

What students talk about, how they talk and their purpose for talk determine the degree to which talk supports learning. If teachers want students to be effective and successful when using talk in classroom activities, they need to guide and support accountable and productive talk.

In the following video clip, we go inside a Cycle 2 classroom, to see how Maureen Bowers helps her students gain a deeper understanding of texts through talk. 


You can find the required contexts and situations for teaching and developing the talk competency in the English Language Arts programs and in the Progression of Learning documents for elementary and secondary.

Elementary Program (EELA)  Program Secondary, Cycle One (SELA) Secondary, Cycle Two, Program (SELA2)


In this section of the website you will find information and ideas for supporting effective classroom talk. 


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