Can classroom talk help learning?
- Accountable talk refers to the ways that teachers skillfully encourage their students to think deeply, articulate their reasoning, and listen with purpose.
- Many believe talk is very useful for students as they learn. There is evidence of this world-wide. Those who are committed to teaching for understanding are also committed to engaging students in this type of classroom discourse.
- Using talk in this manner is a complex professional skill for a classroom teacher. It is also underexamined in the profession.
What is challenging about this way of teaching?
- Teachers are simultaneously responsible for the following:
1. Making what is said intelligible with special attention paid to new and complex content
2. Managing coherence so that instruction maintains a logical flow among students with many perspectives
3. Maintaining student engagement and motivation, going beyond simply listening to inspire real interest and commitment to ideas
4. Ensuring equitable participation so that all students are heard, not just the naturally vocal
- Establishing this type of discourse-intensive classroom takes serious commitment from the teacher.