Conversation in your classroom is as important as conversation in real life. Which is to say the least very important. Without conversation skills one cannot communicate ones needs, nor can one answer questions and debate possibilities or outcomes. Details and knowledge without the ability to communicate them are largely useless. How big a classroom is will vary, but not the way a student learns… As all teachers know, a quiet student concentrating is a victory sometimes but not if the student doesn’t pop their head up and show off what they learnt. Also, a quiet classroom is bliss, but if a classroom full of eager students is quiet all the time, then a teacher should be worried. Below we answer four important questions in regards to classroom conversation.
What is good classroom conversation?
A teacher has many tools in his arsenal with which to implement good learning. One of these is the classic conversation. Conversation is good because it draws the student out from the desk, the activity and themselves. The student gets to use things learned in real time, form opinions and ask questions. Good conversation is the goal. Good conversation invokes spritely communication in classrooms and above all – is fun. It allows the student to gather their thoughts and reply in kind. Just like they will in real time conversations in their future.
But beware, classroom conversation that goes unchecked can descend into madness, resulting in nobody learning anything except how to outbid another in volume. Also, students can often digress into topics unsuitable for a classroom or just plain wrong for your lesson. It is a teacher’s job to keep classroom conversation in-check, a master of ceremonies if you will. This is a good way to teach the students how to stay on course in conversation. Which in real life will be very handy. However, it is through planning and prompting that this can be achieved.
Important to note is that good learning is FUN. So a good teacher must be sure to inject fun elements into the lesson plan, making sure to keep the conversations about things the students care about. Finding out the latest trends and basing the class conversation around that will keep the student eager to know and to show what they have learnt.
Why does it help improve understanding and grades?
As any human will attest. Conversation improves memory. A student can link it to word play and movement, and react to comments, thus, the language will imprint itself in the students mind. It is the pinnacle of evidence based learning. Design thinking within the learning spectrum is important also. You can lead on from one conversation to another, while keeping both relevant and fun. You can design the lesson so as to call back all the conversations the student had throughout the lesson, culminating in an all knowing ‘ahhhhh ‘moment from the students. It is a tried and tested method. Splitting up the class into small sections enables better learning and allows the student to converse in an easier setting. We don’t want to reinvent the wheel, but we do want to improve its function.
How it helps to develop communication and confidence?
Questions, answers, theories, maybe’s. These are all great ways to develop conversation skills. A teacher can start with a good question. An open question that can take many answers. Then the student can be given time to write down thoughts and ideas. Describing things for example is a good way to get the learning pot bubbling. A student, given the opportunity to write down her ideas on a subject can then lean on the notes during a conversation. Eventually the student won’t need to write or lean, she can just get stuck into the conversation fully equipped to ask, answer and theorise.
With modern technologies such as Kapture8 you are able to ‘Kapture’ the evidence to help improve and monitor progress during your lessons. Learning is fun and assessment should not hinder learning but help to extend and enhance! Find out more about Kapture8 by contacting us on [email protected]