Practice Brief 35 -- Topics: Instruction

How can I foster curiosity and learning in my classroom? Through talk!

  • Email Feedback
  • -BACKGROUND

Why It Matters To You
  • Teachers should think carefully about discourse in their classrooms. Do students frequently talk about their thinking, or do they simply share “answers” to teacher questions?
  • District Staff & PD Providers should support teachers in developing more strategies to support student sensemaking talk.
  • School Leaders should consider their walkthrough protocols and measures of teacher growth. To what extent does instruction prioritize student sensemaking through talk? BY

What Is The Issue?

Learning happens through talking. And yet, student talk typically makes up less than 20% of the time spent in science class, and of that small amount of time, very little is focused on student sensemaking. However, specific instructional approaches—or ‘talk activities’—can be used to support students’ three-dimensional science learning. Our Talk Activities Flowchart, this tool highlights those talk formats and explains when, how, and why to use each talk format in support of student investigations.

Authors:

KERRI WINGERT - AUGUST 2016


Reflection Questions

  • How often do students in your class or school get to talk deeply through their ideas?
  • Are students truly listening to and responding to each other in conversation? Or are they simply trying to guess the right answer?
  • Think about your students from non-dominant backgrounds. How do they engage in sensemaking? What activities might better support them?

Things to Consider

Pictured Above: Student Talk Flow Chart

Attending to Equity

Recommended Actions You Can Take

There are easy ways to support student thinking through talk:



ALSO SEE STEM TEACHING TOOLS


  • Email Feedback
  • -BACKGROUND



STEM Teaching Tools content copyright 2014-16 UW Institute for Science + Math Education. All rights reserved.
This site is primarily funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) through the Research + Practice Collaboratory (Award #1238253). Opinions expressed are not those of any funding agency.