What Students See in Class Conversations

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:

  1. we’ll know who is participating, and who is not;
  2. we’ll learn who (and how much) benefits from speaking their ideas out loud;
  3. we’ll be able to see whose conversational skills improve;
  4. we’ll be able to see who is most often off-topic;
  5. we’ll be able to see what “off topic” means;
  6. we’ll see who is paying attention;
  7. we’ll see who thinks in concrete terms and who thinks abstractly;
  8. we’ll see what kinds of questions get asked, and if those questions improve;
  9. we’ll have a sense of which topics are sticky to our classmates, and what really drives us;
  10. we’ll have a sense of what confuses all of us, and what need to be discussed more deeply;
  11. we’ll build our comfort level with talking aloud in class.
  12. We’ll find strategies for finding things to talk about in the text.
  13. We’ll be able to see our own eagerness on display.
  14. We’ll read, write, and explain our ideas aloud every day.
  15. 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?

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