Have you ever been pondering a situation or problem for days and then when you finally stop to talk with someone about it, you solve the dilemma midway or as soon as you finish speaking? Do you know why that was? As mentioned in my last post, talking is thinking. And this is why we want talking classrooms.
Let me explain why this occurrence hasn’t just been a coincidence in your life to begin with. Once a person begins to speak to another about something, they have to go through the process of consciously articulating the thought for it to be understood by the receiver. The “magic” is that you are actually explaining it more clearly to yourself as well. We think we are quite clear on the issue in our head, but more often than not, this is not the case. Likely, you are articulating certain aspects of the problem to a certain point and then subconsciously looping back from a stumbling point over and over again because you haven’t fully thought through the issue to its fullest framed articulation. Finding all of the right words to explain in order to be understood communicates not only to the listener, but also to your own conscious and subconscious thinking. Now these two aspects of the brain are in communication together and a solution can more readily appear.
So what does this mean for your classroom? I shared this information so that you have a personal connection to how talking is the catalyst to your own thinking. My hope is that bringing this “why” to your attention will encourage you to elevate conversation time into your daily schedule. I encourage you to look for a way to invite children to talk about the objective of every lesson with a partner or their table group. Explain to your partner… what does this mean? How will you do it? Not only will they learn your lesson better by hearing the information again in their friend relationship, but their brains will be fully engaged as they find the words to articulate the concept so as to be understood.
It’s time to put our beliefs to work combating the disconnect between true learning and curriculum regurgitation our students are facing. Asking children to talk about themselves and about what they know is showing respect for who they are and how they learn. And in the end, our own story and thinking is all any of us truly own.