Summary:This chapter, from Thomas M. McCann's Transforming Talk into Text: Argument Writing, Inquiry, and Discussion, Grades 6-12, traces the sequence of discussions in a 9th-grade English class, as the teacher moved the learners toward writing an academic essay and reading related texts critically.
Original Date of Publication: September 5, 2014
Excerpt from chapter:
“In this chapter I focus attention on one 9th-grade English teacher. She teaches in a “high-performing” school, with students who come from middle-class and upper-middle-class homes. It is important to note this specific context, because the teacher’s practices as a designer and initiator of inquiry and as facilitator and manager of discussions may not be appropriate for every student population. At the same time, most teachers would likely benefit from following many of the teacher’s practices in planning for discussions, in linking them together, in facilitating large-group discussions and managing small-group work, and in building one discussion upon another in an inquiry progression.
The 9th-grade teacher, Ms. Edsel, who is featured in the next chapter as well, relied on a simple device to tap prior knowledge and introduce students to the focus for shared inquiry. She designed structured forums in which the learners could talk in a purposeful way, specifying intended outcomes and parameters for talking. She built one discussion upon another to advance students’ understanding and refine their thinking and the language with which they discussed complex concepts.”