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Interviewing Cameron Diaz and Justin Timberlake together, while they are promoting their new movie, Bad Teacher, is like being the third wheel on a date…even if it is between two exes. In my recent posts, I’ve shared some thoughts about ways to make Teacher Talk Time (TTT) count in the classroom. Instead of having such a teacher-controlled conversation, I should have tweaked the activity so the students were doing most of the talking.
Another problem with the TTT in the above scenario is the instructor might not be waiting long enough for students to actually respond to his questions. Finally, and, to me at least, most interestingly, the instructor above is playing volleyball when his students may be more accustomed to bowling. According to Folse, this teacher might have gotten more conversational bang for his buck by providing his students with a task rather than a topic. Common Core Math is here to stay for the moment, and I have to say that I am glad that it is! Accountable Talk(AT) is a term used when describing specific and relevant conversation that promotes learning.
One of my favorite things about accountable talk is that it can occur in different forms and will look different in every classroom. After attending multiple CC math training sessions, I learned about the different stages of accountable talk. The holidays can be a lonely time to be away from one’s family, so for our first Christmas in Belgium, my husband and I were delighted to host a small dinner party. Paul had recently started studying in one of Sandy’s classes, and he said that he found her use of grammatical terms intimidating. I was surprised to learn that, in spite of all I had believed about the traditional nature of the British education system, Paul had never learned to diagram a sentence.
After our conversation, though, I wondered how many of my fellow French students felt the same way as Paul.
However, in my experience teaching both ESL and EFL, most students actually seem to appreciate a quick, metalanguage-heavy explanation to a longer, roundabout one. My conclusion, based on nothing more scientific than personal observation, is that most international students are much better equipped to deal with grammar terms than native English speakers.
I found that my L2 university students were very receptive to and appreciative of direct explanations of grammar patterns. A big part of the art of teaching is figuring out what works best for our students — sometimes that means using a direct approach to grammar and sometimes an indirect approach. You must have JavaScript enabled in your browser to utilize the functionality of this website. Make sure that cuts are clean so that the pieces will match up nicely when students are putting the puzzles back together. Every time I am yakking during the lesson, the students aren’t, so I really need to make sure that the time I do spend talking is valuable.
Reading this conversation is like jumping back about 20 years when I was a brand spanking new teacher in Korea. The teacher in this example could have given each student a different question on an index card and have the class stand up and mingle as they ask and answer their questions. 27) and there are just so many options that allow way more Student Talk Time than the above example. Research shows that teachers usually wait 1 second before filling in the silence (Rowe, 1987).


For instance, he could have had the students work in small groups to rank 5 or 6 crimes from most to least heinous.
For me, Common Core is about providing the students with a clear understanding of the content that they are learning.
There are a lot of resources out there via Pinterest, Common Core website, and Google that will direct you to amazing sources of information. I never really thought about leveling the questions that were used during our AT discussions, but it totally makes sense! When I am modeling and helping students discover the true meaning of the questions being asked, I often show the question starters on the SmartBoard in a whole group setting. If you don't already use accountable talk in your classroom then I really encourage you to give it a go! The guests included a TESOL professional and friend on vacation from the USA, my French instructor, Sandy, and her English partner, Paul.
In a previous blog, I mentioned that Sandy occasionally resorts to English to give precise definitions of vocabulary and for descriptions of complex grammatical concepts. In fact, as we went around the table, only Sandy, who had been educated in France, and my husband, a product of the public school system in South Dakota, USA, had ever been exposed in a meaningful way to the nitty gritty of English grammar. More importantly, I wondered how many of my EFL students were mystified by my use of grammar terms. My students from Asia, South America, and Europe seem to have a much better background in grammar terminology than the average North American or Brit, so why not use what works for them?
I will continue to do what appears to work best for my students and fling grammar metalangauge about in the classroom. We should always bear in mind that the purpose of teaching grammar is to clarify; if it confuses then we should avoid it.
In other teaching situations, such as tutoring a man who was barely literate in his own language, I never touched grammar terms. Cards can be cut into two, three, or more pieces by looking at the front or the back of the card.
Nonetheless, I attempt here, in this TV insert for Vuzu, to find out how ex-lovers can be working friends and what exactly is drawing JT away from his music career.
In the research I did for a professional development session I facilitated, I came across many examples of “bad” teacher talk, which I think provide an interesting jumping off point for a critical evaluation of my own TTT habits. In one of my first experiences with adult students, I used to teach at a bank in Seoul and my students used to sit in a semi-circle while I asked “conversation questions” to all the students, one at a time. Or, the teacher could have broken the class into groups of no more than 3 or 4 students (Folse, 2006), handed out a list of conversation questions and given students time to discuss them. There is simply no excuse for me to do more talking than my students in any kind of warm up or conversation activity. I always need to remember that just because I think a topic is interesting (the US presidential campaign, the latest happenings on The Walking Dead, gun control, for instance), it doesn’t mean my students care at all about it. One speaker serves up a topic and the other conversationalists work together to keep the conversation up in air. Or he could have given sentences a handout with real crimes listed in one column and punishments in another and had students work together to match them. It is also about creating rigorous and meaningful learning experiences for EVERY child, no matter their ability level.
There is a lot of preparation that goes into setting up a classroom environment that can support and encourage the accountable talk procedures.


We level the HOT questioning that we ask our students on a normal basis so why would we not level these as well?!?(Teacher learning moment y'all) The students should ask community level questions first to help set a positive and encouraging foundation for the AT session. As we finished up the ham, Paul initiated an interesting conversation about the language of language learning.
However, for Paul, Sandy’s use of terms like infinitive, passive, and the past progressive actually clouds the issue more than it clarifies it. In fact, recently when working with an Italian couple during their private lesson, I kept referring to the -ing form.
Although I need to pay careful attention for the “deer-caught-in-headlights” stares of students who just aren’t getting it, I don’t want to underestimate my students either. There is a similar issue with phonemic symbols – just another thing that gets between the learner and the language, or a short cut?
I cringe to think of how much talking I was doing and how little each individual student was doing. Or, the teacher could have done a version of speed dating by giving each student a question to ask and creating two circles, an inner circle and an outer circle. You’ve even posed an interesting question about a hot button topic that should really get the students fired up, but instead all you can hear are crickets chirping in the background. That’s why it’s always safer to provide a list of conversation prompts for them to choose from rather than dictate a single topic I am excited about.
That’s certainly not long enough for me to (1) understand the question and (2) come up with a relevant and accurate response in French, that’s for sure. Once the answers have been revealed, students could discuss whether or not they agree with them. The students were having longer lasting and more meaningful conversations by the third and fourth month, and after that they were using the accountable talk conversations in ALL of our subject areas and often without any prompting from me.
Then, the students are given the opportunity to explain their solution paths by asking each other knowledge based questions. The students in the inner circle cycle every minute, so the students can ask discuss the questions with a fresh face several times in the course of the activity.
According to Nunan (1991), when teachers wait a mere 3 or 4 seconds, more students respond, the average length of the response increases, the complexity of response increases, and student initiated questions increase. Tasks like these are more likely to get students talking and allow teachers to reduce their TTT and accomplish their lesson goals than open-ended topics. Have we made things much more complicated for our students by forcing them to learn a separate set of vocabulary useful only when dissecting sentences?
Or, the teacher could have posted the questions around the classrooms and have pairs of students move to a new question every minute. They watch and consider the person as that one person approaches the lane and finally releases the ball.
They watch the ball roll toward the pins, and only after the pins have been hit can anyone else bowl” (Folse, 2006, p.



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