Focus on Dialogue About Teaching/Learning: Who is Engaged?

I began this current sequence of blogs by introducing a posting about “Openness to Learning” in which an expert on communication and learning provided insights into how administrators and teachers can optimize student success by engaging in meaningful dialogue.  But it isn’t only teachers and administrators who are engaged in this topic.  Here are some other “potential” discourse partners who can/will influence student success.

Teacher/Parent Conversations

Teacher/Student Conversations

Parent/Student Conversations

Student/Student Conversations

Special Educator/Teacher/Parent/Student Conversations

Teacher/Support Staff Conversations

In an attempt to curate/find relevant files/links for this current series I went back to my ScoopIt site for posts I had curated for my Dialogue and Learning Board: http://www.scoop.it/t/dialogue-and-learning which has over 500 posting starting in 2012.  Here is just a brief listing of the types of posts I curated:

Parent-Teacher Dialogue

http://www.latimes.com/local/education/community/la-me-edu-how-to-actually-get-something-out-of-parent-teacher-conferences-20151023-story.html

https://www.edutopia.org/blog/parent-teacher-conferences-collaborative-conversations-john-mccarthy?spMailingID=12608933&spUserID=MjcyNTI3Njg3NDIS1&spJobID=640473825&spReportId=NjQwNDczODI1S0

https://www.edutopia.org/blog/what-parents-want-teachers-to-know-joe-mazza?spMailingID=9633557&spUserID=MjcyNTI3Njg3NDIS1&spJobID=400677021&spReportId=NDAwNjc3MDIxS0

http://www.scilearn.com/blog/10-questions-to-ask-your-childs-teacher-cognitive-skills

Teacher-Student Dialogue

Students Voice…what are student’s thinking

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ocM9Sqz2gzg

Teaching Students to Give and Receive Feedback

http://inservice.ascd.org/teaching-students-to-give-and-receive-meaningful-feedback/

Parent-Student Dialogue

Good Talk: Raising Smart Learners Through Rich Conversations

http://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2013/09/30/good-talk-raising-smart-learners-through-rich-conversations/

Student-Student Dialogue

https://www.middleweb.com/28404/scaffolding-student-skills-for-productive-classroom-discussions/

https://cultofpedagogy.com/speaking-listening-techniques/

What’s Next?

Are there general guidelines for conversation?  Do they apply to all partnerships?  To all situations? Grice’s Maxims offer a starting place ( https://www.sas.upenn.edu/~haroldfs/dravling/grice.html ) but are they enough?

 

 

 

An Approach to Being “Open to Learning”…for Educational Leaders

Leading Students to Success in School

file:///C:/Users/Owner/Downloads/Open-to-learning_Conversations_Background_Paper_In%20(1).pdf

A few short excerpts that I hope will gain your interest and willingness to read and consider the whole 12 page document!  You may find it helpful to start with this 5 minute video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rB7wP8WJZeU

 

“The model of communication that informs this module is that of “Open-to-learning” conversations. At the heart of the model is the value of openness to learning – learning about the quality of the thinking and information that we use when making judgments about what is happening, why and what to do about it. An open-to-learning conversation, therefore, is one in which this value is evident in how people think and talk…. …Leaders may want to address what they see as a performance issue yet believe they can not do so without running an unacceptable risk of increased stress and conflict. In other words, they feel that they can not address the performance issues and maintain relationships with the staff member…”

“… The dilemma between concern for the person and for the task is irresolvable in both these examples,           doc4-cooperation                    because the leader leaves no room for a shared or co-constructed evaluation of the reading programme.

 

In the soft sell strategy, the leader discourages debate by failure to disclose her evaluation of the reading programme. In the hard sell strategy, the leader discourages debate by assuming the truth of her views. Neither strategy will produce the type of conversation that is necessary to reach a principled agreement about the quality of the programme and about whether change is needed….”

“When leaders seek to impose their views rather than invite debate and co-construction,

they face the dilemma of how to do so without creating negative emotional reactions. The key to resolving this dilemma is not, as we have seen, to hide one’s own views in the hope that the other party will express what the leader is reluctant to disclose….”

“Guiding Values Key Strategies

  1. Increase the Validity of Information • Information includes thoughts, opinions, reasoning, inferences and feelings
  • Disclose the reasoning that leads to your views
  • Provide examples and illustrations of your views • Treat own views as hypotheses rather than taken for granted truths
  • Seek feedback and disconfirmation
  1. Increase Respect • Treat others as well intentioned, as interested in learning and as capable of contributing to your own….
  2. Increase Commitment • Foster ownership of decisions through transparent and shared processes,,,,”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Words….the smallest unit of communication.

One of my favorite resources on Literacy is The TextProject.  Here is a recent post on word/vocabulary learning.  Putting words in context build background knowledge and gives kids something to talk about.

The Text Project and Resources on Words (Vocabulary Learning)

http://www.textproject.org/classroom-materials/students/stories-of-words/

We are pleased to offer you our newest product, Stories of Words.

Stories of Words aims to develop students’ interest in interesting words (e.g., snickerdoodles, terrapin, scuba). The texts in Stories of Words use the TExT model—the same model that underlies all TextProject products (e.g., FYI for Kids) and commercial products (e.g., QuickReads). That means that reading the texts also increases students’ exposure to the core vocabulary. Each book of the 12-volume series explores the vocabulary of a different topic such as food, movies, and acronyms.

Each topic falls into one of four methods of how words have been added to the English Language.

  1. Languages from other parts of the world.
  2. Themes that play a big part of our lives.
  3. Words that we’ve manipulated or reused to suit different needs.
  4. New words to describe new inventions or technological advances.

 

Here is one example from the Word “Flight.”

http://www.textproject.org/assets/products/stories-of-words/Stories-of-Words-2016-Flight.pdf

The Power of Words – Building Vocabulary Age 3 to Grade 3

Deep Listening. Especially Important for Learning

Deep Listening

Posted to Dialogue on Oct 20 16

Bookmark

http://www.edutopia.org/discussion/deep-listening-activities-academic-discussions

Amy Heusterberg-Richards , ELA Teacher – High School

Posted 10/01/2016 9:01PM | Last Commented 10/07/2016 8:41PM

Deep Listening Activities for Academic Discussions

A short excerpt:

“Deep listening is a technique beautifully rooted in American traditions like the Quaker faith and various Native tribes. At its core, deep listening entails listening over hearing and connecting over responding. In relationships, deep listening means acknowledging others’ emotions so they feel heard. In careers, deep listening means developing productive, honest communication by listening to understand, not merely to reply. In my classroom, deep listening can mean students better know each other’s ideas and therefore better know our studies.  It can mean a more inclusive atmosphere where all voices feel respected and where moments of silence are welcome….”

 

Listening and Learning

Reading Sage on Think Alouds

From the blog of  The Dyslexic Reading Teacher Sean Taylor,  a teacher whose work I highly respect and value!

 http://reading-sage.blogspot.com/2016/07/effective-think-aloud-think-aloud.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ReadingSageReviews+%28Reading+Sage+Reviews%29

 Rethinking Ability Groups and Differentiation!

   ” Teachers are trained to use reading assessment data to differentiate and ability group students based on reading comprehension scores, yet many teachers never ability group based on the students listening levels. Many teachers never test the students listening comprehension ability. Why? Basing reading instruction and lessons on grade level reading scores alone is a mistake, student’s grade level listening comprehension levels are a clue to your students’ potential ability….”

 My Experience with Low Reading Scores and High Listening Comprehension!

       “Special educations students like me, that could barely decode at a first grade level in 5th grade, yet I could have easily understood literary concepts many years higher than my grade level. I never had a chance to test my ability and tackle complex literary concepts because I was always in a special education ability grouped reading class (differentiated) my whole public school career!  My education choices were accommodated, modified and differentiated to the point of being mute….”

 

Zwiers and Crawford: Chapter 3 on Lesson Activities for Developing Core Conversation Skills

Quote from 5th Grade Language Arts Student: “The book was only so-so, but our conversations about it were awesome.”

As a reminder from the last post: the five core conversational skills were:

Elaborate and clarify

Support ideas with examples

Build on and/or challenge a partner’s idea

Paraphrase

Synthesize conversation points

The introduction to this chapter cautions that these are not separate skills taught in isolation.  Rather they are to be integrated into the content being taught, as well as being integrated with the other skills.

As noted earlier, this text offers lots of good suggestions for HOW to teach these skills.  First an example of a technique for Synthesizing Conversation Points.

Parking/Promoting/Pruning Ideas.  Students start by “writing down ideas (or parking them) for later use.  Then they Promote ideas they may be reluctant to share after you give examples of ideas that originally seen as “crazy” – airplanes, cell phones, moon shots…  And then student “prune” the ideas—both their own and others—by being conscious of which ideas further the conversation and which ideas do not. (p. 55)

The authors also suggest mini lessons on conversations that allow to students to practice:

Analyzing good conversations via a fishbowl technique.

Student modeling of good conversational skills, perhaps using posters or checklists.

Scaffolding by modeling think-alouds, conversations with students and analysis of written conversations.

 

 

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