Say What?

The oft-used instructional strategy of pairing students to interact, has no shortage of monikers…Think-Pair-Share, Discussion Partners, Structured Student Interactions, Productive Partners (Access Kate Kinsella’s article here), and there are many more. Regardless of the nomenclature, many teachers acknowledge the power of structuring opportunities for students to not only talk and share their perspectives, but to actively listen to what their fellow interlocutor has to say in kind.

Fans of this approach understand that if time and practice is not invested in establishing and managing procedures, and without adequate linguistic support, an interactive opportunity quickly devolves into a session of students talking off topic (and not listening) with teachers making Herculean attempts to restore “order” after what feels like a feat of herding cats with hula-hoops.

Below is a video of a teacher who decided to take an “assets-based” approach to supporting her enthusiastic and appropriately loquacious students all while increasing student accountability by having them report what their partner said. The CCSS Speaking and Listening Standards, California ELD Standards, and the College and Career Readiness Anchor Standards (CCR SL 6)  (Thanks, Debra!) all address the need for students to interact and to utilize “language appropriate to the task.” While this is not an example of an “in-depth” practice, it is a great example of a teacher creating frequent and less formal opportunities for students to engage with each other on a daily basis.

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