Section 4.2 -
Students need the confidence to teach speaking and listening
We have also found the following resources useful for working with student teachers on this topic:
||Dawes, L (2004) Talk and Learning in Classroom Science. International Journal of Science Education 26, 6, 677 – 695.
This journal article discusses the issue of using speaking and listening in science, to elicit and address children's misconceptions, to help them articulate their ideas. Students reading this article can be asked to discuss the nature and purpose of IRF sequences; the importance of sensitive dialogue between teacher and pupil; the child's use of talk for thinking aloud with others, and what the teacher can find out from hearing such talk.
||Mercer, N. (2003) The Educational Value of 'dialogic talk' in 'whole class dialogue' : New Perspectives on Spoken English in the Classroom: Discussion Papers, pp 73- 76(London: QCA: Available from QCA Publications 01787 884444 ref QCA/03/0170
All the papers in this publication merit discussion with students. Neil Mercer's contribution clarifies the importance of talk for thinking, making clear the link between learning new, rational ways to talk and developing a more rational approach to problems and new ideas.
By analysing the impact of talk on learning in the core subject of mathematics, Andrea Raiker emphasises the fundamental nature of good oral language development for children. Andrea Raiker shows how a mismatch between what a teacher says ( e.g. 'cuboid' , 'repeated addition') and what a child thinks can create barriers to learning. Similarly, children expected to work together in mathematics may be baffled by lack of vocabulary and, more importantly, lack of the speaking and listening skills which can help them to articulate their difficulty. Students reading this paper can be asked to analyse their own teaching of mathematics in a whole class or small group context, perhaps tape recording part of their session then attending carefully to what the children actually say. By foregrounding talk, it becomes possible to evaluate at what point mathematical concepts are understood – or not.
||Activity: Thinking Together in Science: Force
ask students to undertake the Force activity as described on the sheet
ask students to carry out the activity with a group of children, or a whole class.
This activity provides good resource for discussion of the effect of talk on learning, understanding, thinking, and on confidence. The activity (or similar) undertaken alone is much more difficult. Not only that, people carrying out this activity alone are much less confident when asked to share their answers. Students can make up their own 'true, false, unsure' statements in any area of science. They can usefully contrast children's ability to answer accurately, or answer at all, when working alone or working in a group; or when working in a group contrasted with working in a talk-focused group.