If I were to walk by your classroom, whose voice would I hear? Yours alone? Yours and a handful of students? Or a sea of voices and a buzz of energy? The answer would be different at different times of the day, of course. However, it is essential that our students are talking much of the day: to articulate their thinking, to share opinions, and to ask questions.
Fostering equitable opportunities for all student voices to be heard is vital. We don’t only want to hear from those most eager to talk. We want to hear from everyone. By creating opportunities for students to turn and talk throughout the day, we place value on talking to learn. By encourage and listening to those more reluctant to share, we show that we value all voices in our classroom.
In her latest book, The Heart-Centered Teacher, Regie Routman says, “For optimal relationships and optimal learning, the quality and depth of conversations matter–a lot.” She continues, “Let’s prioritize creating a classroom environment that puts conversation at the heart and center of teaching and learning.”