Showing posts from March, 2016

Best of Frank Serafini - Classroom Talk & Instruction

Some implications for instruction from my book on classroom talk: Students make more interpretive moves when teachers demonstrate such moves in advance. In other words, we learn from the company we keep. If we want students to talk about books in particular ways, we have to show them this preferred way of talking and support their efforts as they move in this direction. If we want students to construct sophisticated interpretations, we need to construct more sophisticated interpretations during our discussions, and explain our interpretive processes so students may internalize them as they construct their own interpretations. The traditional interaction pattern (IRE) does not support students’ thinking. Our discussions should look more like (I-R-R-R-R), where an initiating move by the teacher is followed by a series, or chaining, of students’ responses. Our discussions should not be back-and-forth ping pong matches. We need to

Best of Frank Serafini: Asking Questions

Three assumptions that underlie the types of questions we ask and why we ask them: There are particular meanings that are more important than others and the teacher believes they know which of these meanings are correct. It seems that teachers ask questions to provide students with an opportunity to offer the interpretations teachers have already decided are correct. Teachers believe they have privileged access to a book’s meaning and ask questions to see if their students can provide answers that align with their thinking. When we do this, the question we are really asking is, “Guess what’s in my head?” In general, a majority of the questions that teachers ask can be answered by referring directly to the text. The research I have conducted, and the reviews of research available in the professional literature, suggest that teachers favor asking literal questions. These questions privilege the text over the think