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Building Relationships Through Talk

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By their interest in and responsiveness to what children say, teachers help initiate children to the back-and-forth sharing of conversation, encourage self-expression and problem solving, foster concept formation and vocabulary development and enhance the complexity of children’s language. In this session we will examine the opportunity for talk in the classroom and the nature of the talk. Let's begin by viewing this video from a preschool setting. As you view think about the opportunities for different kind of talk in your setting. (21:52)

  • 2:08 Concept Development
  • 3:10 Describing Problem Solving
  • 6:45 Language to Support Literacy
  • 8:40 Daily Experiences with Math and Language
  • 10:30 Daily Experiences with Nature and Science
  • 12:20 Social Skills

Think about the opportunities for different kind of talk in your setting. 

Next, read this article which describes differences between engaging in “task talk” and “contact talk”

Reflect: When, where and how does talk happen in your setting? 

What are the rules about talking in your setting?  When is it okay for children to talk?  Is there a difference between the rules and the routines? 

When does talk happen?  What routines in your schedule provide for an opportunity for children to engage in conversations that facilitate the mutual exchange of ideas, opinions, and feeling? What are the classroom rules about talk?

How does talk happen?  When talk happens, who initiates the conversation and who sustains the talk? Who is doing the talking? 

Finally: Conduct inventory about daily talk.  Using the template, write down the regular daily schedule.  Inventory the talk that occurs during those times. Before you meet again, use the inventory of talk to observe in a peer's classroom to gather more data about different settings.

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These tools were created as part of the Literacy Improvement in Rural Education through Collaboration (LIREC) project funded by the U.S. Department of Education