Rich and I were talking about engagement this week. He did a presentation in his district on engagement in math and I asked him about it. Basically, Rich said his presentation was focused on strategies to increase math talk within each math class.
A one minute Google search landed me on an Edutopia article from 2015 titled, Talking to Learn: Harnessing the Power of Student Conversation. It states, “Research also strongly suggests that when learners are exploring a concept for understanding, trying to answer a question, or trying to solve a problem, they are more successful if there is an opportunity to engage in dialogue with another learner. With this in mind, we recently led a team of our colleagues in an endeavor to increase opportunities for structured student conversations, and we discovered for ourselves the significant impact speaking and listening activities had on our students.” I’m quite positive, with a little more time I could have found lots more research supporting this claim.
We spend an awful lot of time collecting all sorts of data. Reading logs, pre-tests, post-tests, unit tests, writing samples, fast-fact sheets, reading assessments, unit and chapter tests, benchmark assessments, and state tests (to name a few). I wonder if the best predictor of how students will perform on all of these assessments is best predicted by how much they have the opportunity to talk during the day about the concepts and ideas they are exploring. Perhaps all of the information we need is right in front of us. My guess, is that it’s already there if we just take the time to listen.