Month: June 2015


Struggle is Not a Dirty Word: The Importance of Productive Struggle, part 1

By Krista Morrison and Kristi Hemingway

Teachers and administrators often report that the most valuable part of the Inquiry By Design professional development cycle is peer learning labs. Teachers have the opportunity to observe a colleague’s classroom as a lesson from the curriculum is being implemented with students. The goal is not to observe a “model” lesson or “perfect” classroom, but rather to gather data and provide a basis for conversations about teaching and learning.

At a recent lab, middle school students […]

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The Teacher’s Role in Classroom Discussions: Fostering Student Talk and Classroom Dialogue – Part 5

If we want students to speak and listen to one another effectively, we must, to put it diplomatically, stop filling the airwaves with teacher talk.

Thus, the most important part of a teacher’s role in fostering successful dialogue between students is to stay out of the discussion—or rather to work our way out of it as quickly and completely as possible.

Students will only start speaking and listening to each other when the teacher successfully breaks the typical “discussion” pattern of initiation-response-evaluation […]

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Enhancing Discussion Through Technology: Fostering Student Talk and Classroom Dialogue – Part 4

A few months ago I was in Cupertino Unified School District observing in an eighth grade classroom. The students speaking and listening skills were impressive, and their teacher, Christine Kowalishen, credits regular classroom discussion enhanced with technology to increase engagement and accountability, for their proficiency. Here’s how it went.

Eight students sat at a central table discussing an interpretive question about John Updike’s story, A & P. They made clear claims, used academic language, consistently referred to the text, questioned one […]

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