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ERIC Number: ED233365
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-May
Pages: 13
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
Some Aspects of Classroom Discourse in English.
Watson, Ken
Observations of 90 lessons reveal the limitations of the whole-class discussion, the dominant teaching method in elementary and secondary schools. In addition to producing a low percentage of student involvement, rarely more than 50%, teachers' questions and answer techniques do not usually stimulate critical thinking. Besides most often asking for recall rather than intepretation of facts, teachers control students' responses, signalling desired answers through intonation and reformulating answers to fit their own thinking. Even if they avoid over-translation, teachers, rather than students, do most of the cognitive work during discussions--hypothesizing, generalizing, analyzing, and synthesizing. Teachers can make whole-class discussions more effective, however, with the following practices: (1) allowing students to reflect on the material, first silently and then in small groups, before beginning a class discussion; (2) arranging seating to promote discussion; (3) encouraging students to respond to each other directly; (4) making questions as open as possible and responding to pupils' answers instead of simply evaluating them; (5) urging students to develop their answers; and (6) occasionally recording discussions to analyze their quality. (A scheme for analyzing lesson transcripts is appended.) (MM)
Publication Type: Guides - Classroom - Teacher; Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers; Practitioners
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Canadian Council of Teachers of English (16th, Montreal, Canada, May 10-14, 1983).