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Skip to 0 minutes and 4 seconds Intentional dialogue is more than just talk in the classroom. It’s actually helping reveal explicit thinking on a specific idea or concept. And as such, it requires time and probably a change in pace to allow this to happen. In most classrooms, it requires teachers to say less and learners to say more. So teacher need to hold back and not intervene to soon when either a correct idea, or a wrong idea, or a mistaken keyword emerges. Collecting sufficient and rich evidence and then making a decision about next steps is more likely to be fruitful in the classroom than correcting something the learner says or stepping in and finishing off explanations. Sometimes learners need encouragement to take part actively in discussion.

Skip to 0 minutes and 55 seconds This might require teachers to use strategies to help them contribute ideas. So just “think-pair-share” which is very popular in primary classrooms and lower secondary. Often it’s about developing a willingness to compare ideas with others. And this can happen through concept cartoons.

Skip to 1 minute and 20 seconds Occasionally, it’s about reaching a group consensus and being able to compare their ideas with those of others. In classrooms where teachers bounce ideas raised by one group to another for comment, this can actually lead to much better understanding for both the teacher and the learners. However, it does require the teacher holding back from commenting immediately, as a teacher voice can dominate and close down dialogue in the classroom. So for the classroom to flow, teachers need to think carefully about the strategies they use and how they help their learners.

The characteristics of good quality intentional dialogue

In this video, Chris Harrison discusses the characteristics of good quality intentional dialogue and explains why it is important for both teachers and students.

As Chris explains, intentional dialogue is more than just having talk happen in the classroom. Chris describes the importance of intentional dialogue as a way of giving teachers evidence of students’ thinking.

Chris also provides ideas and strategies for how this can be achieved in practice, which is the focus of the next step.

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Assessment for Learning in STEM Teaching

National STEM Learning Centre

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