When these four conditions were present, studies have shown that student conversations reflect deeper thinking and learning.
The teacher had created an environment in which students felt safe. When students need to take risks in their thinking and talking, deeper discussions occur. This feeling of safety must be present throughout each day, not only when there are classroom discussions.
- The teacher had positioned the students as competent and capable thinkers. Students will take risks with their thinking and discussions when they have multiple opportunities to do so. The culture of the classroom must encourage this type of belief in student contribution.
- The teacher is able to intersperse close-ended questions within deeper, more open-ended questions. Student conversations must be scaffolded and guided by the teacher and well-crafted questions. Without this guidance and support, students tend to experience a lower level of confidence and learning.
- The teacher must have framed reading as a collaborative endeavor. Students experience a higher level of success with deep discussions when reading is seen as collaborative and interactive. When multiple perspectives, instead of only one “right” answer, are encouraged, students tend to be more open with their thinking.
High-Press Talk. (Nov. 2014). Educational Leadership, 72(3), 8.