Saturday, 3 June 2017

Talk .. What do the students think?

In order to promote further progress in reading comprehension that includes the development of higher order thinking skills, students need to increase their interactions in discussing what they read.
Interactions are a powerful source of learning that is beneficial not only for children of similar ability but also an effective teaching and learning tool in mixed ability groups.  

The teaching and learning in this latter situation is a collaborative process as those who are supporting others actually clarify and deepen their own understanding at the same time. This 'tuakana teina' relationship, (with the older or expert child helping another) can be empowering on different levels i.e. the positive change in attitude, engagement and progress and also in the role reversal where the learner is then empowered to become 'tuakana' perhaps for another peer or in sharing skills or knowledge that may not be known by a peer who initially supported them.

'Peers interactions build a classroom culture of questioning and deeper thinking' (Bernard Bagnall)
One of the most interesting things about this article is that What's All The Talking About?  is linked to talking within the context of mathematics.   I took out the word mathematics and replaced it with reading.  I asked myself .. 'Student Talk' - do they recognise the role that talk has in their learning?   

Prior to commencing a guided reading lessons with a mixed ability group whose reading comprehension ages range from 12 through to 13.5, I posed the question: 'Talk - how does it help you to learn'?  (a little leading perhaps)

Responses:   (Piwakawaka)
  • Talk helps work out the main ideas 
  • Talking / interacting gives you more information about others ideas and that helps clarify and critic your own ideas if they are different.
  • It introduces you to other perspectives and helps to get your ideas sorted as you think about what is being shared
What is talk?
  • It's communication and discussion; interaction and sharing
  • What does it look like?   -  People interacting  
  • Sound like?  - taking turns and voices it can make you feel annoyed and argumentive because it challenges you.

  • What about if you don't talk - if you are not active?  - It makes you feel left out, bored, lonely and affect your confidence. 
Target  Group:  How does talking help you to learn?   
                       Is it important to talk?
  • Talk is important, it allows you to share ideas
  • It promotes you to make connections with what you are reading and others ideas
  • It gives you knowledge - it increases knowledge and skills because you can see and listen to how other people understand things and it helps to understand words you don't know.
  • Talking helps t0 learn about other points of view and it makes you think critically.
  • What is critical thinking?             It's thinking really hard and asking questions that makes you think and that makes you go back and read again to see if there are things that you missed out.

* While some of the target group were more involved than others, the levels of 'Talk '  - the responses are beginning to increase as are their interactions and responses to one another and the vocabulary they hear is from myself and others is becoming part of their language of learning. 

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