Sam* an eighth grade student in Tammy’s* class, looks forward to her class each day. He knows that he will have time to talk with other students to process what he’s learning which helps him clarify his thinking. Tammy has a rule that she needs to get the students talking within the first five minutes of her class period. This takes different forms: sometimes Tammy writes one or two words from the previous class period on the board and students pair up and talk about what they remember; other days, students generate questions that they have related to their reading and discuss their impressions.
When asked why this works for him Sam says, “When I have to talk about what I was thinking it helps me to understand it better. I also like hearing what other people think about things that I might not have thought about.”
We’ve all heard the adage, “More student talk, less teacher talk,” but why is this so critical in learning? Vygotsky (1962) suggested that thinking develops into words in a number of phases moving from images to inner speech to inner speaking to speech. Following this theory, talk is really the representation of thinking. We want our classrooms to be filled with talking because this means they are filled with thinking.
So, how can we build purposeful talk into the classroom and ensure that it really is deepening thinking and not just a recap of Friday’s football game?
| 1 |
Enjoy our Blog!
Members of the Secondary C&I team weekly post useful tools, tips, and tricks to help you help students.