Six Simple Ways to Get Your Students Talking


This is a great post by Lucas Richardson a High School History Teacher. It reminds me of my post Extending the silence. On my many walk-throughs in classrooms, I see many ways to ask students questions. Many times the teacher targets specific students. That might be a better way then waiting for volunteers, who usually tend to be the same 4-5 students. I’m sharing parts of Lucas’ article here. Look here for the whole article.

Does anyone remember Ben Stein’s part as the boring economics teacher in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off? Anyone? Anyone? If you have no idea what I’m talking about — or even if you do remember but you want a quick laugh — watch this short clip. If you’re like me, you can (painfully) recall moments from your own classes when, perhaps, you felt like Mr. Stein, asking low-level questions in one breath and answering them in the next, boring the the entire class.

1. Ask Authentic Questions
Authentic questions are typically open-ended, and empower students to join their classmates in a line of inquiry in which the answer is not already known or owned by the teacher.

2. Play Volleyball, Not Ping-Pong
Authentic questions are typically open-ended, and empower students to join their classmates in a line of inquiry in which the answer is not already known or owned by the teacher. 

3. Use — And Trust — Wait Time
It is important to note here that there are two types of wait time. Wait Time 1 (after a teacher’s question) and Wait Time 2 (after a student’s response). It turns out that Wait Time 2 is the more important of the two, and also the more challenging one to manage given our desire to keep the conversation moving.

4. The Good Ol’ Socratic Seminar
The Socratic Method, Socrates as the teacher claimed to “know nothing,” and engaged in dialogues where he forced his students into the role of a teacher. In a discussion with Socrates, students did the intellectual heavy-lifting, reasoning their way to satisfying conclusions.

5. Micro-Debates As Class Starters
Micro-debates to start class. Write a controversial statement on the board related to the objective for class that day and ask two students to take the pro and two other students to take the con.

6. Measure It!
The last point here is using an app that uses a machine learning algorithm to distinguish your voice from your students. It’s called TeachFX, and it was created by a former teacher. To me that seems like a great idea!

 

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