Talk makes everything better. The Why: Effective and accountable student talk is arguably the most precious aspect of reading and writing development. When we give students a space to talk they are able to practice language, process what they read, and understand more to eventually write more. Yet if we were to measure the ratio […]
Effective and accountable student talk is arguably the most precious aspect of reading and writing development. And yet, if we were to measure the ratio of teacher talk to student talk in our classroom, we would very likely find that we, the teacher, talk more than the students. Or, in the cases where students may be talking more, we might also find that this discussion is less accountable, may not require the use of high-utility academic language, or may not effectively support high levels of language learning and cognitive processing. In their white paper: “Teaching for Rigor: A Call for a Critical Instructional Shift,” Robert Marzano and Michael Toth underscore a crucial shift most teachers will need to make to effectuate wide-spread increases in student achievement: students must work harder than teachers. Additionally, students need to engage in far more effective and accountable academic discourse. We need to subvert the ratio wherein teacher talk minutes outweigh student talk minutes. And, we need support in how to make student talk minutes worth the time and effort.