ERIC Number: ED497642
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Aug
Reference Count: 0
Let's Talk about Talking: Accountable Talk and Participatory Learning
Huss, John A.
National Middle School Association (NJ3), Middle Ground v11 n1 p28-29 Aug 2007
Middle-grade students like to talk. This natural "gift of gab" may at times be suppressed by teachers who prefer to impart knowledge rather than allow students to participate in its development. Intelligence is a social practice. Students become adept at socializing their intelligence if they are encouraged to talk in meaningful and constructive ways. One way to do so, writes Huss, is to utilize accountable talk, which holds students accountable to a foundation of knowledge to the learning community in which they participate, and to the notion of rigorous thinking. Young adolescents often propose statements for which they offer no authority base. Accountable talk ensures students are accountable to their wider learning community. Teachers can introduce accountable talk in the classroom with something like the Turn and Talk or Think-Pair-Share models. Students become active participants in their own learning as they gain experience contributing to a discussion and actively listening to classmates, building on the ideas and contributions of others. Accountable talk also requires students to be accountable to rigorous thinking, examining the quality of reasoning and evidence offered by themselves and others. Rather than have students simply absorb knowledge, they must be persuaded to make connections, categorize, conceptualize, and reflect on how their beliefs might affect and compare to others. The author concludes that educators of middle-grade students need to harness inclinations to talk out-of-context and mold them into a more robust academic enterprise that supports a thinking curriculum. Teachers can scaffold student participation as they create norms and skills of accountable talk in their classrooms.
Descriptors: Student Participation, Intelligence, Accountability, Middle School Students, Teaching Methods, Social Development, Socialization, Thinking Skills, Active Learning, Group Discussion, Secondary School Teachers, Interpersonal Communication, Classroom Communication, Teamwork
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Middle Schools
Authoring Institution: N/A