#39 Follow tumbleweed with a Turn and Talk
Giving students chance to discuss with a partner might help the floodgates open
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💡 A tip to try in class this week 💡
There are several times in a lesson when you may want to ask students to turn to their partner to discuss, commonly referred to as a Turn and Talk. One of my favourites is following tumbleweed. In other words, you have asked the class a question and either no one volunteers an answer, or the selection of students you Cold Call have nothing to offer.
The temptation in such circumstances is to offer an explanation yourself. Instead, if you ask students to turn to their partner to discuss what they think the answer might be, you may be surprised at the results.
Students are often more willing to share their thoughts with their partner than they are to voice them in front of their teacher and all their peers, especially if they are unsure about their answer. Turn and Talk offers a safe environment to try things out. Indeed, using Turn and Talk as an opportunity for students to rehearse in this way is so powerful. Students also have the opportunity to hear the thoughts of their partner and use this to develop, adjust or build upon their own explanation.
Following the Turn and Talk, you can ask the question again, and more students should be able to contribute. If the tumbleweed persists, you can choose a pair and ask them simply what they discussed, which might be enough to get the ball rolling.
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