Classroom talk/Collaboration

Classroom talk is a strategy which is a means to reaching the end goal of greater, more in-depth understanding. Not only does it actively engage all students, it also helps students to increase confidence, to articulate, and to develop a voice. Because most often a student must think before he speaks, the processes within Classroom Talk encourage sound thinking, use of sound judgment, and an opportunity to try out new ideas or positions. Collaborative Group Work is the process of working together. This strategy generates focused groups, enables students to communicate, both as speaker and listener, exposes students to other points of view, and maximizes student engagement. Students learn to work together in a team and as they both assume and share responsibilities.

Why Is Classroom Talk/Collaboration Important?

Current research stresses the importance of verbal communication. Our nation’s economy has moved away from manufacturing and mechanical operations. Instead, we have moved to a service industry, which requires 80% speaking and listening and only 20% reading and writing. Business communication skills are continually cited as central to career success. Students learning and working in the 21st century should be competent in the art of both oral and written communication. Classroom talk helps:

* develop a confident voice and become comfortable speaking in front of others

* learn to be an active listener and reflective speaker

* engage in meaningful conversations about important topics

* build strong student-student and student- teacher relationships

* acquire the ability to use content-specific vocabulary

"Never say anything a kid can say!" - Steve Reinhart

Specific Methods of Classroom Talk

* Think-Pair-Share – develop your ideas, pair with one other person, verbally share ideas with one another, often required to reach consensus or rank ideas

* Round Robin – each person in the group provides his response, moving around the group one at a time; often used to verify answers, brainstorm ideas, or gather input

* Wagon Wheel – sitting in a circle, face-to-face, students discuss a topic, then rotate to another person to discuss the same or a different topic, often requires each pair to reach agreement or common understanding

* Block Party/Tea Party/Dinner Party – involves role-play, each student takes on the persona of a character and speaks from that perspective, circulate among classmates until all characters have interacted with one another

* Fish Bowl – one group of students join in conversation while others look in by standing around the group, as if looking into the fish bowl; often the inside group changes as the teacher asks new and different questions.

* Reciprocal Teaching – students talk with one another, teach one another about various aspects of the topic using guidelines provided by the teacher

* Debate – students analyze a topic by discussing it from various aspects in a debate format

* Panel Discussion – combines role-play and research; students play a role and speak from the perspective of that role

* Talk Show/Meet the Press – like panel discussion, students conduct research and speak from the perspective of the role they are playing

* Socratic Seminar – students analyze a topic while seated in a circle and sharing their thoughts with one another

Setting Expectations for Appropriate and Productive Classroom Talk and Collaborative Group Work

Teachers must set expectations and hold students accountable for productive classroom talk that adds to the effectiveness of the student learning. In short, prior to implementing classroom talk teachers have to teach students how to do this properly. General guidelines may include:

* Speak one at a time

* Be courteous and do not interrupt others while they are speaking

* Respect the right of the speaker to express his ideas, even if you do not agree with the ideas

* No put downs

* Challenge ideas, not one another

* Respond using complete sentences

* If your idea is similar or builds on someone else’s idea, acknowledge that

* Encourage others and show your appreciation for their contributions

* Wait until three others have spoken before you speak again

Mature collaboration is distinguished by the use of positive dialogue. Dialogue is characterized by:

* suspending judgment and polite listening

* examining our own work without defensiveness

* exposing our reasoning and looking for limits to it

* communicating our underlying assumptions

* exploring viewpoints more broadly and deeply

* being open to disconfirming data

* approaching someone who sees a problem differently, not as an adversary, but as a colleague in common pursuit of a better solution

14 Instructional strategies that are high student engagement and focus on a collaborative learning environment.

This is a collection of AVID strategies focused on writing, inquiry, collaboration, and reading. These included graphic organizers and explanations of how to use each activity in classroom instruction.