Why purposeful talk?

Dialogue is the collaborative sharing and discussion around ideas that leads to a “co-construction of new understanding”.

Wolf, Crosson and Resnick (2004) “effective classroom talk was linked to a high level of student’s thinking and active use of knowledge”

Substantive collaborative talk drives intellectual development.

For such discussions to take place, you require; transmitter, receiver and message.

Forms of discourse: explanation, elaboration, evaluation, argument and questioning.

Dialogic instruction: instruction in the use of classroom conversations – teacher controlled exchange of ideas between students.  Students cannot learn by listening only – they need to ‘try the knowledge’.  Students need to be equipped with the functions, forms, registers and vocabulary required for the classroom.


Nichols, Maria (2011) Talking about text: Guiding students to increase comprehension through purposeful talk.  Huntington Beach, CA: Shell Education.

Fisher, D., Rothenberg, C., & Frey, N. (2008). Content-area conversations: how to plan discussion-based lessons for diverse language learners. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.