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Skip to 0 minutes and 12 seconds Talk allows you to build confidence as a learner because learning is essentially about communicating. And that if we don’t communicate then we have one type of learning, which I would argue is totally valid. But actually the more we engage in conversation, the more we have dialogue, the richer is the learning experience. There are all sorts of theory behind this. But most of us know that we really get the breakthrough moment when we’re in conversation with somebody. The whole reason why coaching and mentoring are so powerful is because they involve dialogue. And crucially, for girls in particular, to really have access to high-quality learning consistently then it’s not just about their predisposition to communicate, which most of them have.

Skip to 0 minutes and 56 seconds It’s also about building up confidence in using specialist vocabulary, for example. But it’s also about rich opportunities for different types of conversation and really creating opportunities whereby they can engage in the range of different types of language, which are absolutely fundamental to any kind of successful learning. So for example, they need the technical language, but they also need the emotional language. They also need the reflective language. And they need to be able to use those in an appropriate way. I’m always amazed by just how skillful young children are in terms of understanding themselves in terms of language. My nieces who are aged 5 and 2 are incredibly reflective. They know what they’re talking about.

Skip to 1 minute and 47 seconds And we need to build on that basic propensity in terms of allowing opportunities for rich language to be at the heart, to build confidence in using the vocabulary, to understand how to communicate effectively with others. And crucially, that internal voice as well. The richer that is, the more likely we are to see really effective learners.

Building confidence as learners through talk

In the previous step you read in the research that girl-friendly classrooms make dialogue high profile. In this video Professor John West-Burnham argues that ‘‘we need to allow opportunities for rich language use to be at the heart at what we do in order to see real effective learners.”

How do you encourage this in your classroom? Share your ideas in the comments.

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This video is from the free online course:

Girls' Education: Teaching Strategies That Develop Confidence, Resilience and Collaboration

Girls' Day School Trust