In class today, as we discussed the importance and value of participating in class discussions, and as I tracked their participation using my new record system, they generated the following list of things that could be learned from a formal effort to study conversation, and include it as part of classroom behaviors:
- we’ll know who is participating, and who is not;
- we’ll learn who (and how much) benefits from speaking their ideas out loud;
- we’ll be able to see whose conversational skills improve;
- we’ll be able to see who is most often off-topic;
- we’ll be able to see what “off topic” means;
- we’ll see who is paying attention;
- we’ll see who thinks in concrete terms and who thinks abstractly;
- we’ll see what kinds of questions get asked, and if those questions improve;
- we’ll have a sense of which topics are sticky to our classmates, and what really drives us;
- we’ll have a sense of what confuses all of us, and what need to be discussed more deeply;
- we’ll build our comfort level with talking aloud in class.
- We’ll find strategies for finding things to talk about in the text.
- We’ll be able to see our own eagerness on display.
- We’ll read, write, and explain our ideas aloud every day.
- We’ll be stronger and more capable students.
That’s what they believe about having their contributions to class discussions tracked and recorded. What do you believe?