This is a follow up post, to show real classroom examples of the students involved in adult like technical conversations. As always, I am taken aback by the complexity, subtlety and maturity Year 8 students can must when given the opportunity.
The example below shows the roles the students took during this activity. Each student had a turn in the fish bowl, as an observer summating the topics being discussed and as a coach to begin to consider the quality of the spoken word. It also shows the following parts of this technique
1. First half of the conversation last 5 minutes.
2. I share a tally chart of contributions. It must said that the successive groups grew increasingly aware of me doing this and lack of contribution became less of an issue by the third and final group.
3. The observers then provide a positive summary of what has been said and then what was was missing. It is therefore useful to have content success criteria here. You might notice me having my two penneth here, and why not. I think this is right, I can listen and make detailed judgements of whats missing with real evidence, and teach to an audience of students who are interested in what I have to say, because it is currently relevant to them. It;s an example of "just in time " teaching.
4. The three students in each group meet, and the coaches start to provide feedback. I think/ hope that it is obvious they too have some structure to help them.
5. The second half then runs for 5 minutes and I am sure that the impact of observers and the coaches is evident. The conversation all were more detailed, had a more balanced approach by all students and quality (eg flow, use of connectives) improves.
My interest in the idea of sharing pedagogical purposes comes directly with the contact I have had with the Project for Enhancing Effective Learning at Monash University in Australia. Now each of these teachers were very active in establishing learning agendas with their classes. The impact they were having was inspiring. Each classroom tool can have a purpose beyond delivering content, and this needs to be shared.
I suppose the purpose of this website is collate, crystalise and open dialogues about how to increase this within classrooms. As the quote from Carl Bereiter illustrates this classroom methodology can empower our students.