classroom talk

Cynthia Wong
Classroom Connections
Classroom Talk
It has been said that much time in the classroom is spent talking, whether it is from a
teacher or the students. Usually classroom talk is performed by three steps called as the IRF
(Initiation, Response, Feedback). This is when a teacher initiates a question to the class and a
student's responds in a word or a small phrase. This will then be followed by feedback from the
teacher. I have personally never thought about it this way, but I completely agree. This three step
process happens with different age groups, culture, sex, etc. It is commonly used to help the
students display their knowledge out. I agree, that this helps students show what they have
learned or need help learning. I think it is commonly aimed for those more outgoing and willing
to answer, unless the teacher is calling on students individually.
Another way students talk during the classroom and communicate is through group work.
For second language learning, group work has several advantages over regular class work.
Group-work allows learners to hear a variety of language from various different individuals. It
also forces students to interact more and therefore speak more. Without the authoritative teacher,
second language learners tend to be more at ease with speaking in a group of students. I believe
this is true to those that are not even second language learners as well. As for me, who is not a
second language learner, tend to be more talkative and open in group work rather than wholeclass work. It involves more interaction and focus for all students.
Group work helps second language learners a lot, but only if they are effectively created.
There should be clear and explicit instructions, clear outcome for the group work, cognitively
appropriate to the learners, all children are involved, and students have enough time to complete
the task. To me, it almost seems that there needs to be several things to be sure that the group
work will be effectively. I feel like most teachers will forget one of the requirements or not make
one as strong.
Group work helps English second language students out a lot, by giving them a chance to
speak more and to listen to various languages. However, whole class centered environment can
be beneficial as well, but if the interactions are modified so the teacher is not the one that is
constantly talking.