Conversations in the Classroom

People doing the most talking are doing the most learning

Accountable Talk

Accountable talk is a discourse between teachers and students, or students and students where they are focused on academically relevant content. Providing students with opportunities to have accountable talk allows students more time to deepen their understanding, and it provides insight for teachers as to what students know. It is a critical and constructive source of assessing how and what children think.

Talk in Action

Here are a few sample strategies to encourage accountable talk. These activities should first be modeled so that students have an understanding of the skills they need to be successful. Common accountable talk skills include: active listening, taking turns, asking for clarification, paraphrasing, avoiding put downs, or making connections.

Asking Quality Questions

It is critical that as a teacher the questions you pose to your students allow for them to think deeply and critically. Some different question categories are: Knowing/Understanding (recalling, organizing, describing etc.), Applying (using facts, rules or principles), Analyzing (looking at parts of a whole), Creating (combining ideas to create something new) and Evaluating (developing opinions, judgments or decisions). There is a place for all types of questions in every classroom, it a matter of finding the right balance. As a teacher you need to ensure you are providing students with opportunities to engage discussions that involve higher level thinking (such as creating and evaluating).