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Cultivating Classroom Discourse to Reveal Student Thinking

Adapted by Jonathon Saphier from the video series: Leaders in Educational Thought. Lucy West: Deepening Teaching and Learning. Student Achievement Division. Reach Every Student: Ontario

Teacher Moves That Promote Discussion The teacher:

1. Calls on all students whether hands are raised or not. This sets the expectation that everyone is expected to engage in learning.

2. Stays with each student for several exchanges. Always asks further questions. This shifts the dynamic from short answers in response to teacher questions to developing the stamina to get engaged in a complex conversation.

3. Often gets another student to restate, especially in order to highlight, an important idea. This sets the expectation that everyone’s voice has weight and we need to listen to one another’s ideas, not just the teacher’s voice.

4. Returns to a student whose answer was initially incomplete or incorrect and asks him/her to summarize/synthesize the body of information or the explanation that was produced in subsequent class discussion.

5. Responds to any student answer, whether right or wrong, with: “How did you arrive at your answer?” or “What is your thinking?” to find out what the student is thinking..

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