Classroom talk is so much more than just the teacher delivering a lesson to the pupils. It involves so much more. Interaction between pupils and the teacher is key for effective learning and can be done in a variety of different ways, which is extremely beneficial as every child has different learning styles that work for them. For example, an incredibly effective method of communication between pupils and the teacher is through questioning.
Questioning is an amazing way of engaging pupils as it gets them actively involved by participating in thinking of the answers. The teacher can come up with lower order thinking questions to get pupils into the mindset for learning, which are questions that perhaps require a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer, or they can come up with more advanced higher order thinking questions which really get the child to think deeper about what is being asked. This allows children to extend their knowledge of the subject by digging a little deeper into the analysis of what is being asked, making them think even deeper and giving them an element of challenge to push them that much further in their development. Questioning is an effective way for the teacher to find out the level of knowledge their pupils have in relation to a subject and it helps them to formatively assess who in the class might need more support than others. It is an effective form of communication between pupils and the teacher as it allows the teacher to discover how their pupils are getting on without the children actively telling them as they might be ‘scared’ or ’embarrassed’ to. This way is therefore much more anonymous.
In addition to questioning, another effective method of classroom talk is getting children to work collaboratively in groups which helps them to develop trusting relationships with each other so that they get support from their peers to know that there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answer. It encourages shyer pupils to get their voice heard in the class as well as all the other children. Furthermore, pupils can hear other opinions from their peers that might be different from their own which makes them more open as people to hearing knew ideas which develops their listening skills even further, allowing for even more effective communication. This helps everyone to achieve the best they can.
Finally classroom talk can even be developed through areas of the curriculum such as drama as it allows for pupils to express themselves in a different way than in the classroom. It gets them to focus on body language and facial expressions further which is also an essential part of non-verbal communication.
For this weeks Literacy TDT we are focusing on writing and there are some key messages from the reading and video i have read and watched that I will discuss.
Firstly, for children, in order to write, the have to be able to talk first as from Pie Corbett’s video, children cannot write sentences unless they can say them and they cannot say sentences unless they can hear them. From this video, I felt the key message was that as a teacher it is my job to model good sentences in order for pupils to understand how to form their own sentences and be able to put them down on paper. This is important as some children do not get their parents to read them stories as they might have a lack of books in their households, so it is important that in school teachers immerse children into hearing as many stories as they possibly can in order to build their vocabulary.
In addition, it is important to differentiate in writing lessons as all children have different experiences with language and some might be of a higher level than others. This can be done by providing many different resources such as writing frames, sentence starters and a range of vocabulary. By doing this, it helps create equity in the class as pupils can use these to help if they need to and if they do not need the guidance then that is fine too. It helps fill the gap to bring the pupils to a more similar level. From Medwell, I could see that another key message of this book was that children need to be inspired by understanding the relevance of writing in their lives by engaging in purposeful writing and understanding how it works. If children understand the relevance of a lesson, then they are more inclined to want to engage as they know that what they are learning has a purpose to it which will help them later in life. Furthermore, teachers can make lessons more engaging by using the Interactive White Board (IWB). Through using this, the teacher works with the pupils in a more active way as they work with the whole class to hear everyone’s ideas for planning, writing, exploring and discussing a text. Through active discussion, it allows the pupils to hear their peer’s ideas rather than only the teacher’s. This therefore reinforces the importance of talk in the classroom as discussion is a key way of getting children to develop their thinking more deeply and it gives them a chance to learn from their peers, helping them to build their vocabulary.
On the whole, writing is a key skill in literacy and it is important to develop it in all aspects of the curriculum in order to give pupils as much practice as possible. It is important for the teacher to read as many stories out loud as possible to the children in order for them to build their vocabulary as much as they can to become successful writers so that they can achieve their full potential.
Medwell et al. (2017). Primary English: Teaching Theory and Practice. (8th End.) London: Sage Publications. Chapter 7
Pie Corbett- Talk for Writing
Restorative practice in schools is a vital part of education in my opinion. It helps to promote positive relationships between both pupils and teachers by dealing with conflict in a mature and empathetic manner which is extremely important in schools for them to be successful.
In the past, the retributive approach was used which was very much focusing on accusation and punishment for actions and used blame. This in turn is not very effective as through this approach no communication between the pupil and teacher occurs on how they could do better, the pupil just gets punished and that is it. The child that does the actions that causes conflict in turn do not understand why what they did was a problem and will not not how to change and become a better person. This approach is therefore not very supportive and it feels like the child and teacher are essentially ‘against’ each other as they are not working together to make things better by just punishing bad behaviour.
Whereas through the restorative approach, a lot more communication is happening and the teacher is much more involved in helping to find a way to resolve the conflict. Communication is key to get to the root of what is going wrong. It is a much more empathetic approach as everyone’s point of view is discussed so the child that caused the conflict can understand how their actions made others feel. This helps them become better people by understanding the harm caused from what they did which motivates them to make a difference and change for the better. It is also effective in the sense that the teacher clearly addresses that it is the behaviour that they do not like and not the pupil themselves, which makes the pupil feel that the teacher is not against them in any way. This approach is therefore fair and helps children to develop positively as individuals as through the discipline of it the teacher keeps the pupil on the right track whereas with punishment the complete focus is on what you did wrong rather than on how you can be better.
The restorative approach therefore builds positive relationships between pupils and teachers as it makes pupils have more trust and respect for the teacher as they are being fair and reasonable when dealing with conflict. The pupils become better people through this as it gives them skills for later in life about dealing with problems and conflict in a mature and empathetic manner. It is important that the restorative approach is encouraged as much as possible and that we move away from assigning blame and dispensing punishment as pupils will not develop from that. The restorative approach will help create a much more empathetic society in the long run.