It is said that the person doing all of the talking is the one doing all of the learning.
With this in mind, educators are encouraged to allow for student discussion and conversation to take place in the classroom.
Try these strategies for focusing on conversation and discussion with your students:
Roundtable. Ask a single, open ended question and go around the classroom, asking each student to provide an answer. For example, ask students to name an adjective to describe how they were feeling this morning. This is a great activity to get students sharing/discussing right from the beginning of class.
Pair-Share-Report. Students find a partner and the pair answers a question, sharing their responses with each other. As a final step, have each pair report back their responses to the whole group.
Conversation Choice. Let students list topics for discussion at the beginning of class. Encourage students to think of problems, questions, clarifications, interesting points, and concerns. Narrow the list down to 4-5 choices, and allow each group to pick one of the topics to discuss.
Agree-Disagree-Add. When students are answering questions, model a strategy for students to follow up on peer answers. Give students the ability to agree or disagree with a comment as long as they are backing up their thoughts with evidence, or give students the ability to add to a comment that someone else made.
Discussion Prompts. Post an interesting image and ask students to discuss the image with a small group. What does the picture make you think about? What issues are raised? How does the picture make you feel? After students share with a partner, share with the whole group.
How do you encourage student discussion and conversation? Share in the comments section below or at #4OCF on Twitter.
Resource: Calvin and Hobbes Cartoon.