Last modified on 10 September 2013, at 14:31

Unit 2 - Whole class dialogue and effective questioning

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We are now starting a new unit. The unit’s focus is whole class dialogue and effective questioning. It covers:

  • creating a supportive environment for dialogue,
  • introducing cumulative talk – creating a story together,
  • promoting and managing whole class discussion,
  • types and examples of effective questions to ask in class, and
  • how to engage students in activity at the blackboard.

At the end of this unit we consider how to communicate with other teachers at the school, with parents, head teachers, as well as officials who might seek to assess your new teaching practices. It also includes some material to support school leaders in providing a conducive learning environment for their staff.

In terms of ICTs, this unit introduces GeoGebra and collaborative writing. You should continue practising your other ICT skills, including typing, and making use of images.


2.1 - Introduction to whole class dialogue and effective questioning
In this session you will learn about:
  • creating a supportive learning environment for dialogue through body language, emotional support and enthusiasm for pupil learning,
  • one aspect of whole class dialogue cumulative talk,
  • classroom management techniques for whole class dialogue such as forming classroom rules in consultation with pupils, and
  • the idea of an assessment portfolio.
To meet the learning intentions you will:
  • role play a cumulative talk activity using the magic microphone technique to generate enthusiasm,
  • plan a cumulative talk activity for use in the classroom and consider using a horseshoe seating arrangement to encourage peer co-operatively, and
  • identify features that illustrate 'a supportive classroom environment' whilst watching videos of whole class dialogue in action.
The ICT components you will focus on are
  • continuation of Geogebra practice
  • planning another slideshow with OpenOffice Impress

Classroom based activities (with your students, after this session):

  • another image sequencing activity
  • typing practice in the classroom
2.2 - Questioning
In this session you will learn about:
  • differentiating between types of questions (closed questions versus open questions and surface questions versus deep questions),
  • generating open and deep questions,
  • other types of questions that you can ask students (e.g. questions for remembering / understanding / applying / analysing / evaluating / creating), and
  • handling multiple responses.
To meet the learning intentions you will:
  • play a game to classify questions as open or closed,
  • further classify questions during discussion using an information sheet for reference, and
  • watch a video and identify techniques for handling multiple responses.
The ICT components you will focus on are
  • planning a lesson with Geogebra
  • using Etherpad to make shared notes

Classroom based activities (with your students, after this session):

  • do a lesson with Geogebra
2.3 - More on questioning
In this session you will learn about:
  • further techniques for questioning and handling responses
  • common mistakes made when asking questions in the classroom
  • how to increase pupil participation for answering questions
To meet the learning intentions you will:
  • practise effective questioning and handling responses
  • role-play a question and answer session with common questioning mistakes to highlight how ineffective some commonly employed questioning strategies can be
  • recognise and plan to use a range of effective strategies to increase pupil participation for answering questions
The ICT components you will focus on are
  • Using Etherpad to make shared notes
  • Planning a lesson with Geogebra

Classroom based activities (with your students, after this session):

  • try another lesson with Geogebra.
2.4 - Concept mapping
In this session you will learn about:
  • concept mapping as a technique to promote interactive teaching
  • developing ideas for concept maps
  • encouraging talk that involves reasoning and building on others’ ideas
To meet the learning intentions you will:
  • take part in a whole group brainstorm activity and record the results as a concept map
  • plan, present/listen to others present a concept map and use supportive dialogue
  • plan a concept mapping activity for use in the classroom
The ICT components you will focus on are
  • Consolidate your skills with Geogebra, images, and typing.
  • Learn about using OO Impress (e.g. adding titles to images)
  • (optional) Concept mapping software.

Classroom based activities (with your students, after this session):

  • you will continue with Geogebra, images, and typing.
2.5 - Engaging the community
In this session you will learn about:
  • using a 'combined' Leadership for Learning lens to evaluate student learning
  • using the Leadership for Learning framework to structure discussion with a parent, colleague, head teacher or inspector
  • involving students
To meet the learning intentions you will:
  • make observations on student learning using a 'combined' Leadership for Learning lens and evaluate these during discussions with peers
  • role play a discussion with a parent, colleague, head teacher or inspector
In this session, you will learn how to communicate with parents about your use of ICTs in the classroom. Unlike the other sessions, there is no time set aside for specific ICT activities.