10 strategies for ‘talk-better’ teaching

Reflecting English

Tharby-teacher-talkFINAL (2)

Image: @jasonramasami

Teacher talk gets a bad press. Indeed, in recent years there has been a powerful movement promoting ‘talk-less’ teaching. Even though there is a modicum of truth in the observation that some teacher talk is poorly planned and unfocused with a tendency to overrun, a carefully crafted explanation is simply the clearest and quickest way to convey new ideas. During my career, talk-based pedagogic principles like ‘explanation’ and ‘modelling’ have played second fiddle to other generic strategies such as ‘questioning’ and ‘feedback’ as the focus for CPD. Of course, how we explain is mostly bound up in the content we are teaching and our knowledge of the topic; nevertheless, I believe there are some generic strategies that helpfully aid and supplement high-quality teacher-talk.

For me, there are three features found in the best teacher talk:

• New knowledge is linked to existing knowledge;
• Ideas are introduced in…

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