Induction session 8.3 - OER4Schools Taster Session

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Learning intentions and objectives.

Success criteria.

ICT components.


1 Creating a supportive environment for dialogue

We are now moving on to the topic of this unit, and we start with introducing whole class dialogue. We initially focus on

  • Creating a supportive environment for dialogue, and
  • Cumulative talk - creating a story together.

2 Introducing cumulative talk - creating a story together

Educator note

Cumulative talk is talk in which all participants agree and add to the previous talk (or sentence).

Activity icon.png Cumulative talk (10 min): Creating a story together All the participants get up to rearrange the seating. Arrange the group in a horseshoe seating arrangement(a) if there is room. If not choose another arrangement allowing participants to see each other. Facilitator starts a story by saying one sentence. All participants then contribute to the story by adding sentences.

A good story would:

  • be contextually appropriate: for example, use common names of characters and a setting familiar to participants.
  • have a theme relevant for participants such as education (girl-child receiving schooling later supports family), importance of forests and wild-life (saving a snake later becomes useful for invention of new medicine), treatment of diseases (steps taken by a family to treat an ill person) etc.,
  • be short and have few characters, and
  • have a problem which is collectively resolved in the end.

For instance, you could create a story about welcoming a new child to the school, perhaps a child with an impairment or some kind. Tthe facilitator starts by saying: "The other day, I heard my neighbours talking about whether their child should be starting school, because their child has difficulty walking, and they were not sure whether children like that should go to school." (Relates to Index for Inclusion, A1.1 Everyone is welcomed.)

Educator note

Facilitator can introduce the notion of Talk Rules during this activity if needed. Some examples are: “everybody listens when one person talks” because they have to add to that sentence, “respect others’ ideas” by adding to rather than changing their idea, “make sure everyone in the group understands”, “try to reach consensus in the end” – participants don’t need to actually come to agreement but the process of trying gets people to listen to each other. You may want to ask participants to generate their own examples of Talk Rules.

The activity we just did is example of “cumulative talk” where participants build on what the previous person has said (“cumulative talk” is one example of whole class dialogue).

3 Introduction to the lesson (for context)

Activity icon.png Observing, thinking, reflecting (10 min)Video on classification of vertebrates. In the ongoing OER4Schools sessions, the teachers would already be familiar with Eness' lesson. However, here, just to introduce Eness' lesson itself, let's watch these two videos:

VIDEO

Teacher repeats and clarifies

Teacher repeats and clarifies instructions; she illustrates them with nonsense classifications so students do not copy hers

Video/Eness vertebrates 4.mp4, http://oer.educ.cam.ac.uk/wiki/Video/Eness_vertebrates_4.mp4,This video is available on your memory stick in the video/Eness Vertebrates folder.About this video. Duration: 2:43 (watch on YouTube, local play / download options)(Series: Eness Vertebrates, episode 04)(Transcript available here or via YouTube captions.)

VIDEO

Teacher gives detailed help

Teacher gives detailed help to group: shows ICT use. ("I've never seen a Zebra.")

Video/Eness vertebrates 5.mp4, http://oer.educ.cam.ac.uk/wiki/Video/Eness_vertebrates_5.mp4,This video is available on your memory stick in the video/Eness Vertebrates folder.About this video. Duration: 4:04 (watch on YouTube, local play / download options)(Series: Eness Vertebrates, episode 05)

4 Whole class discussion: Creating a supportive environment

Activity icon.png Observing, thinking, reflecting (10 min) Video on classification of vertebrates. Video clips Eness vertebrates 10 ("Is a boy a mammal?") and 11 ("Is a whale a fish or a mammal?"); lively class discussion about classifying these animals, deliberately chosen to create controversy and to challenge the pupils

VIDEO

Is a boy a mammal?

Eness leads a discussion on 'Is a boy a mammal?'

Video/19 Eness 3 vertebrates 10.mp4, http://oer.educ.cam.ac.uk/wiki/Video/19_Eness_3_vertebrates_10.mp4,This video is available on your memory stick in the video/Eness Vertebrates folder.About this video. Duration: 3:51 (watch on YouTube, local play / download options)(Series: Eness Vertebrates, episode 10)

VIDEO

Fish or mammal?

Class explores the question 'Is a whale a fish or a mammal?'

Video/19 Eness 3 vertebrates 11.mp4, http://oer.educ.cam.ac.uk/wiki/Video/19_Eness_3_vertebrates_11.mp4,This video is available on your memory stick in the video/Eness Vertebrates folder.About this video. Duration: 4:31 (watch on YouTube, local play / download options)(Series: Eness Vertebrates, episode 11)

Activity icon.png Whole class dialogue (10 min) on the learning environment and classroom management.

  • Was there a supportive environment for pupil participation and dialogue in this lesson?(Relates to: LfL, 2) If so, how did the teacher achieve this?
  • How did she help students to work out whether the boy and the whale were mammals? Did this discussion move their thinking forward?(Relates to: LfL, 1)
  • What did you think about teacher control and pupil learning in these video clips? How would a horseshoe seating arrangement have impacted on this?
  • How would you manage something similar in your classroom? How would you encourage pupil talk without losing too much control?
Educator note

Did participants notice the “wait time” after asking a question before teacher made a further contribution or question? Increasing wait time a little increases thinking time and in turn leads to an improvement in the quality of students' responses.

5 Reflection on what we have learned

Activity icon.png Whole class dialogue (10 min): Reflecting on what you have learnt. Reflection on what you have learned from this session about

  • Body language for encouraging dialogue
  • Cumulative talk
  • Encouraging most pupils to talk
  • Withholding feedback sometimes to motivate pupils without fear of “wrong” answers: not evaluating pupil responses, just accepting them
  • Forming rules for dialogue
  • Managing the tension between control and learners’ freedom to contribute

6 Cumulative talk in the classroom

Activity icon.png Same-task group work (10 min) in pairs: Planning cumulative talk in the classroom Now pair up, and come up with ideas for cumulative talk in the classroom.

  • Consider that when this activity is done in the classroom with pupils, themes should be chosen from the curriculum.
  • Also consider that the seating arrangement can be modified according to teachers’ classrooms such that pupils see each other. Pupils can leave their tables and just move their chairs (or sit outside if the grounds are suitable).

As you are planning this activity, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do your students find it easy to talk?
  • How can you encourage students to talk?
  • Are some students likely to laugh at other students contributions? How can you create safe environments that enable students to take risks?(Relates to: LfL, 2.4)

You can use the activity template if you like.

7 Follow-up activities

Activity icon.png Agreeing follow-up activities (5 min).

Part A: Try out cumulative talk by asking pupils to create a class story, contributing one line each whenever they are handed the magic microphone by their peers. Use some of the techniques discussed in this session to create a supportive environment, for example: positive body language, enthusiastic tone, listening to each other before speaking and building on what the previous person has said. Encourage any shy children to have a go, and repeat the activity with another topic on other occasion so they get more used to public speaking.

Educator note

In the next session, these follow-up activities will be reviewed. If you are using this session on its own, you can have a look at the review of follow-up activities here.


8 Review of follow-up activities from last session

In the last session, we asked you to try out cumulative talk in the classroom? How did that go?

9 Introduction to questioning

Questioning, offering opportunities for classroom talk, and listening to learner responses are an essential part of interactive teaching. They help teachers to determine

  • what learners understand,
  • what they misunderstand, and
  • what they are actually learning.

10 Reflecting on current questioning practice

Question marks.jpg
Educator note

The idea behind this activity is to make the need for this session explicit.

You will need mini-blackboards and something for display (blackboard/flipchart).

Choose some topics that participants are teaching this week (from the curriculum), and display the topics (on blackboard or flipchart). Some examples are:

Activity icon.png Same-task group work (5 min) in pairs: Coming up with some questions. Choose a topic from the board. Write a list of up to five questions on mini-blackboards or paper that you normally ask/would ask the pupils in class?

Educator note

Allow only about 3-5 minutes for this activity so that spontaneous questions are recorded.

After 3-5 minutes, explain what open and closed questions are (see background reading below) and ask the whole group for a couple of example questions of each type for illustration. Write these examples (no more than two of each question type) on the blackboard or flipchart for reference during the game, or ask a volunteer participant to do so. When you are sure that participants have got the idea of the differences between the question types proceed with the game.

During the game, ensure that participants do not feel less motivated if their questions are more closed or surface type. To ensure this:

  • Refrain from judging questions. Record/discuss questions factually without expressing any emotion.
  • Mention that all types of questions have value and can be used for different purposes. Closed and surface questions are also important to some extent.
  • Maintain positive body language by listening attentively.

Before the session, prepare the workshop room by marking OPEN on one side of the room and CLOSED on the other side. To keep it simple, draw a line on the floor with chalk and write OPEN and CLOSED!

To start the game, ask participants to look at the first question (on their respective lists), work out whether it is open or closed and move to the corresponding side of the room. When participants have categorised their first question, take a few examples from each side of the room for clarification that they have been correctly categorised. Participants move on to the second question on their list and categorise it in the same way.

Continue to play the game for five minutes, clarifying that questions have been correctly categorised after each new move, taking examples from different participants each time.

Activity icon.png Observing, thinking, reflecting (5 min) Facilitator talk on open and close questions.

Activity icon.png Game (5 min) on open and closed questions. The facilitator will ask you to categorise the questions on your list, one at a time, as open or closed and to move to the corresponding side of the room. Work through your questions one at a time and categorise them as closed or open when asked to do so. For each question, move to the side of the room marked OPEN if that question is open or to the side marked CLOSED if that question is closed. Be prepared to explain your rationale to the rest of the group.

Educator note

Make this activity interesting by asking participants to run to the appropriate side of the room (OPEN or CLOSED) at the sound of a clap and ask the participant who gets there first to clap when it is time to move again after considering the second question, and so on.

Activity icon.png Whole class dialogue (5 min): Reflecting on current practice. Where do you stand? Is your current practice of generating questions more open or more closed?

11 Reading about open and closed questions

Activity icon.png Observing, thinking, reflecting (5 min): Reading about open and closed questions.

Background reading

Closed versus Open questions:

  • Closed questions are factual and focus on a correct response. Some examples are: Name the different parts of a plant? What are the five nutrients that must be present in a balanced diet? How many sides does a triangle have? What is the formula for calculating the perimeter of a square? How many planets are there in the solar system? Name two sources of renewable energy.
  • Open questions have many answers. Some examples are: What could be the consequences of water contamination? How does a balanced diet help us? How could we use flowers of plants? Suggest ways to prevent the spread of malaria in your community?

Surface versus Deep questions:

  • Surface questions elicit one idea or some ideas. For example, What is the difference between organic and inorganic fertilizers? What is the use of carbohydrates in a balanced diet? Which part of the sugar cane plant is used for eating? Which features of a cactus plant are useful for its survival in desert regions?
  • Deep questions elicit relations between ideas and extended ideas. For example, What would happen if only inorganic fertilizers are used for growing plants? What connections do you see between the climate of a region and its vegetation? Why is the water in the nearby pond not safe for drinking?

‘What if’ and ‘Why’... questions can help you delve deeper into pupils’ thinking.

12 Handouts


Questions you can ask in class

  • Can you guess what will happen?
  • Can you give me an example? Can you find an (another) example?
  • How does (cause) relate to (event)? or How does this explain ...?
  • Is this the same as …? Is this different from ...?
  • Tell me something that is true about ...
  • What connections can you see between ...?
  • What always seems to happen?
  • What other ways are there to …?
  • What do you think is happening?
  • What would happen if ...?
  • What could be changed if we want...? What would you change so that ...?
  • What is wrong with ...?
  • What happens when ...?
  • What did you observe?
  • What do you think about ...?
  • What do you think about what X said? Why?
  • Why do you think that ...?
  • Can you explain that to your partner?
  • Can you group these?

Here are some questions classified using Bloom's taxonomy, in order of increasing demand:

Remembering

  • What do you remember about ...?
  • How would you define ...?
  • How would you recognise ...?
  • What would you choose ...?
  • Describe what happens when ...?
  • How is ...?
  • Which one ...?
  • Why did ...?

Understanding

  • How would you clarify the meaning ...?
  • How would you differentiate between ...?
  • What did you observe ...?

  • How would you identify ...?
  • What would happen if ...?

  • Can you give an example of ...?

Applying

  • How would you develop... to present ...?
  • What would be the result if ...?

  • How would you present ...?
  • 
How would you change ...?
  • Why does ... work?
  • 
Can you develop a set of instructions about ...?
  • What factors would you change if ...?

Analysing

  • How can you classify ... according to ...?
  • How can you compare the different parts ...?
  • What explanation do you have for ...?
  • Discuss the pros and cons of ...?

  • What is the analysis of ...?

  • How is ... similar to ...?

Evaluating

  • What criteria could you use to assess ...?
  • What data was used to evaluate ...?
  • What choice would you have made ...?
  • What is the most important...?
  • How could you verify ...?
  • 
Is there a better solution to ...?
  • 
What do you think about ...?

  • Do you think this is a bad or a good thing?

Creating

  • What alternative would you suggest for ...?
  • What changes would you make to revise ...?
  • Predict the outcome if ...?

  • What could you invent ...?
  • How would you compile the facts for ...?
  • 
If you had access to all resources how would you deal with ...?

  • Compose a song about ...

  • Design a ... to ...

You can print this content on a separate sheet here: OER4Schools/Questions you can ask.



How do you find out whether your question is open or closed? How do you find out whether your question is surface or deep? Let's first look at some examples:

Background reading

Closed versus Open questions:

  • Closed questions are factual and focus on a correct response. Some examples are: Name the different parts of a plant? What are the five nutrients that must be present in a balanced diet? How many sides does a triangle have? What is the formula for calculating perimeter of a square? How many planets are there in the solar system? Name two sources of renewable energy.
  • Open questions have many answers. Some examples are: What could be the consequences of water contamination? How does a balanced diet help us? How could we use flowers from plants? Suggest ways to prevent the spread of malaria in your community?

Surface versus Deep questions:

  • Surface questions elicit one idea or some ideas. For example, What is the difference between organic and inorganic fertilizers? What is the use of carbohydrates in a balanced diet? Which part of the sugar cane plant is used for eating? Which features of a cactus plant are useful for its survival in desert regions?
  • Deep questions elicit relations between ideas and extended ideas. For example: What would happen if only inorganic fertilizers are used for growing plants? What connections do you see between the climate of a region and its vegetation? Why is the water in the nearby pond not safe for drinking?

‘What if’ and ‘Why’... questions can help you delve deeper into pupils’ thinking.

Here are some questions you can use about your questions!

  • Does this question have one correct answer?
  • Is there more than one answer to this question?
  • Are you using this question to get a student to give you a particular answer?
  • Could a student come up with the answer through their own thinking, or is it something that they either know or don't know?
  • If the question is answered by somebody, would it be possible for somebody to object to the answer, and come up with a different answer (that can be justified, or one that at least isn't easy to dismiss).

Also try to answer the question yourself: Is it a productive question? You could also test your question on a colleague: Again, how do they answer the question?

Also see OER4Schools/Questions you can ask, and also see Starting the enquiry based learning process regarding "productive questions".

You can print this content on a separate sheet here: OER4Schools/Open and closed questions.


Educator note

At the end of each session, we provide an overview of the activities in this session, together with their suggested timings. Although this appears at the end of the session (for technical reasons), you should keep an eye on this throughout the session, to make sure that you are pacing the workshop session appropriately!

Total time: 90 (min)

Activities in this session:

  • Cumulative talk (10 min): Creating a story together
  • Observing, thinking, reflecting (10 min)Video on classification of vertebrates.
  • Observing, thinking, reflecting (10 min) Video on classification of vertebrates.
  • Whole class dialogue (10 min) on the learning environment and classroom management.
  • Whole class dialogue (10 min): Reflecting on what you have learnt.
  • Same-task group work (10 min) in pairs: Planning cumulative talk in the classroom
  • Agreeing follow-up activities(5 min).
  • Same-task group work (5 min) in pairs: Coming up with some questions.
  • Observing, thinking, reflecting (5 min) Facilitator talk on open and close questions.
  • Game (5 min) on open and closed questions.
  • Whole class dialogue (5 min): Reflecting on current practice.
  • Observing, thinking, reflecting (5 min): Reading about open and closed questions.

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