This page has some practical resources for teachers and teacher-trainers to use to improve the quality and quantity of pupil talk in classrooms. Please try them out and let us know how you get on!
An activity for establishing discussion guidelines for Key Stage 2 or lower Key Stage 3. May need to be adapted for early years.
An alternative activity for establishing discussion guidelines – suitable for upper Key Stage 2 to Key Stage 4.
Discussion guidelines are easy to establish, and can transform the quality of classroom talk and group work. A set of discussion guidelines should be established with each class and displayed so that they can be read and referred to from any seat in the classroom.
This worksheet allows students to have a copy of the agreed discussion guidelines on their desk. It also includes some questions to encourage them to reflect on the quality of talk in their group.
This activity enables pupils to monitor the quality of group talk in real time. This may be useful as a way to enable pupils who may be shy or self-conscious to play an active role in monitoring and contributing to a culture of effective speaking and listening.
This activity encourages pupils to think and talk about speaking and listening. Can your pupils reach agreement about each statement?
Here’s a set of talking points to be used in conjunction with the book The Lost Words by Robert MacFarlane and Jackie Morris. Talking points are a powerful way of stimulating extended discussions, whereby instead of responding to questions, pupils are asked to respond to a statement. Dr Lyn Dawes has produced a range of books of talking points to stimulate discussions in classrooms; many of them are available here.