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Beyond Turn and Talk: Creating Discourse

As an answer to the demand for discourse within many mathematics classroom, “Turn and talk!” has become a popular phrase in education. Whether you are a student teacher, a novice teacher, or a veteran teacher needing to rejuvenate your mathematics classroom, adding meaningful dialogue into your classroom routines can be quick and easy. When you move beyond having students simply turn and talk, you will introduce them to something far more meaningful. As a supervisor to student teachers, I have watched many teachers justify discourse through the turn-and-talk strategy, one of the talk moves created by Chapin, O’Connor, and Anderson (2009). Unfortunately, many teachers have used this talk move in isolation, which can be limiting. A vast difference exists between true mathematical discourse and simply turning and talking. How do we move students beyond turn and talk and have them engage in discourse that is more significant?

Reprinted with permission from Mathematics Teacher: Learning and Teaching PK-12, copyright 2018, by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. All rights reserved.