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Teacher Talk vs.

Student Talk: Data Collection Reflection
When reflecting upon my observations of other teachers in my building and upon my
own lessons regarding how much time the teacher is talking in comparison to how much time the
students are spending talking, I found that more students were engaged in the learning when they
were talking the most. This observation is supported in Visible Learning For Teachers when
Hattie says, “student engagement is higher when teachers talk less-especially for at-risk
students” (Hattie, 2012, p.80). When I saw that students were fully engaged in their learning,
they wanted to talk out their ideas and process their learning with each other. By providing
students with the time to engage in structured discourse, they are doing the learning as both
speakers and as listeners.
In reflection, something that I also noticed in my observations was that other teachers
were not spending more that forty percent of the class period talking to students as a whole
group. The times that they were speaking to the whole group were intentionally planned (such as
delivering a mini-lesson to guide their practice for the day, or a catch and release where the
teacher noticed multiple students making a mistake during their work time and the teacher pulled
the class back together to re-teach the concept). This also made it so that the teachers I observed
could confer with students one on one and pull small groups to provide further instruction when
necessary.
I also observed many ways of holding students accountable during this student talk time.
I saw one teacher use a graphic organizer for students to capture their thinking on. I also saw the
same teacher have students use white boards to record their thoughts before committing it to
paper. I have heard of another teacher on my team who uses a google doc for each of her table

groups to have a running record of their math talks that they can refer to throughout their unit.
From my observations, having students complete something in the written form to keep their talk
time accountable during small group work time was helpful in keeping them engaged and on
task.
Ultimately, these observations helped me to visually see the impact of giving students
more time to engage in dialogue with one another. I was able to see a great amount of student
engagement in what they were learning and a greater amount of ownership in what they were
learning because they were vocally involved all along the way!