By whatever pedagogical buzz-words you may know it, getting students to talk to each other in class is all the rage now-a-days. Indicative of a social shift towards a more progressive, multiculturally sensitive education, this constructivist approach to the cultivation of knowledge that runs contrary to the traditional tabula-rasa, lecture-heavy style can be broken down into a simple phrase: students talk more, teacher's lecture less.
However, this means no less responsibility for the teacher. In fact, fostering and moderating fertile conversations among students can prove a much more Herculean task than even the most engaging and academically rich lectures.
As a new teacher, getting a handle on conversation mastery is a work in progress.
She told us she saw a relaxed and thoughtful discussion cultivated between myself and the students as we generated a class list on the most fundamental human rights, but as good as the conversation was, she said, it was leaving a lot of students silent.
She suggested simply taking a moment to let students discuss/debate the issue at hand with their table partners: "Okay, we seem to have a few ideas on how to group these rights. I want you all to take a minute and discuss the possibilities with your groups and come up with a recommendation you can bring to the class."
If some students still refuse to take part in the conversation, you can have students indicate their readiness to speak by raising hands (or any other similar action of one's liking) , and then have those students pair with the non-speakers in order to help them clarify any troubles, confusions, or questions, and to help them come up with something to say.
The list of possible tactics is as long as the list of classroom scenarios, but the point is that getting students to turn'n'-talk is a habit. It's not a natural action, especially for