Wednesday, 6 May 2015

PD: Dr. Jannie van Hees "Developing a Dialogic, Orally Expressive Classroom"

This term, the year 5-8 teachers are participating in Professional Development with Dr. Jannie van Hees. Below are my notes from our first session.

Conversational Teaching and Learning
How do you explicitly grow student expression in the classroom?
-Repeat Back what was said
-Backing Up View Point/Answer
-Individual Conferencing
After this discussion, I am very interested in finding out more about and implementing “Talk Moves” into my daily Maths lessons.  

Students need to be pushed to use the “output” more in order recognise more complex language features.  They need to have “gifted” words provided multiple times a day in order to effectively receive a high level model of appropriate language features. The need to be continuously fed in order to lift their language readiness.

When students are acquiring language knowledge there are three major gains that happen for them.  
  1. Deeper Knowledge: Structure and Grammatical Language
  2. Fullness of Expression: How to deeply engage and talk with others using rich vocabulary
  3. Extended Language Growth and Vocabulary  

Students need to use their brains at a higher level of complexity than they are currently.  This will only properly happen if students are able to practice.  Providing students an opportunity to participate in a Think-Aloud that has multiple steps, which potentially puts them on the spot provides an extremely important life skill.  Students need to have orally shaping conversations that will allow them to “hold on” to information.

Our day-to-day priority of conversation enhances the learning of our students, in addition to the actual curriculum covered.  Students are required to participate in a more enriching manner. Students have to contribute, be focused, have meaningful things to provide, etc.

On a daily basis, students should be provided with a chance to have conversation.  Topics could be anything that the teacher suggests or that is student prompted.  This provides a chance for formative assessment, both on the topic and a students language ability.  This allows the teacher a meaningful opportunity to provide gifted words (including definitions) to help expand the vocabulary of their class.

Point to ponder: How many questions do you ask your students on a daily basis? Questions do not provide opportunities for students to expand their thinking and language. They provide a way for students to dig deeper into their own resources instead of expanding their thinking and engaging their understanding.


  1. Oh my goodness! You have been Jannied! Have you got plans for your practice?

  2. Of course Juanita! You'll have to keep reading, in order to see what ends up happening! :-)