Five Talk Moves

Move 1. Repeating

When a student says something that a teacher or student thinks is important, one way to highlight it is to repeat it. A teacher might ask, "Who can repeat what Mia just said?"

Repeating helps confirm that what the speaker said is what the listener heard, and it lets the speaker know that he or she was heard—and that it matters. It enables teachers to highlight an idea that's central to the discussion. Moreover, hearing the idea again, or multiple times, helps students learn to listen to one another's ideas. Repeating is often one of the first steps in building students' ability to, as the standards put it, "continue a conversation through multiple exchanges."


Move 2. Revoicing

Although revoicing may seem similar to repeating, there's an important distinction. Repeating involves saying again the words someone just said, whereas revoicing calls for listeners to say what they heard in their own words. Revoicing is a way for listeners to try on another person's thinking.


Revoicing enables students and the teacher to hear the idea again in another way. It also gives the sharer of the original idea a chance to confirm, change, or clarify what was said so others better understand his or her thinking. A teacher might use revoicing to tease out nuances in an idea, affirm a tentative student's participation, or direct the discussion a certain way. Hearing ideas multiple times in different ways also supports students who struggle with the text, idea, or language (Moschkovich, 1999).

Move 3. Offering Wait Time

Teaching and learning through discussion require wait time. Wait time is think time. Teachers can offer wait time to students by asking them to take a moment to reflect on what they just heard: "Maria's point about how the x axis and the y axis relate to the slope is really important. Let's take a moment to think about what she's telling us."


Wait time often means there will be silence in the classroom, which can be uncomfortable. However, quiet moments are valuable for helping students to think through their own and other's ideas. Wait time encourages students who tend to answer quickly to slow down, and it gives students who are hesitant to speak up time to gather their thoughts, which leads to broader participation (Shultz, 2009), another focus area in the new standards.

Move 4. Asking Genuine Questions

Genuine questions are born of curiosity—about the topic under study or about how another person thinks about or experiences something. In the best genuine questions, the answer is unknown to the questioner. A genuine question creates an opening for many possible directions (Gadamer, 1989), whereas a question with a known answer closes the discussion.


By asking a genuine question, the teacher models listening for understanding to his entire class. He also presses the student to justify her conclusions, a skill called for in the Standards for Mathematical Practice: Students should be able to "construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others."


Move 5. Fostering Reasoning Skills

Once listeners understand what the speaker is saying, they have to determine how the information fits with what they already know and understand. At this point, the discussion shifts toward reasoning with and within the idea.

A teacher might ask the entire class to show, using a hand signal like thumbs up/thumbs down, whether they agree or disagree with the speaker. To deepen the conversation, the teacher should then ask several students who represent different sides of the issue to share their thinking about why they agree or disagree. This talk move requires students to justify their thinking, and it allows for multiple perspectives.

To take reasoning to the next level, the listener also needs to consider how someone else's thinking is similar to or different from one's own. This leads to deeper analysis than just categorizing an idea as right or wrong. This next level of reasoning gives listeners the opportunity to "clarify, verify, or challenge ideas and conclusions," which ultimately "promotes divergent and creative perspectives" to surface for the class to hear, consider, and respond to.


Reasoning helps students listen for understanding to their classmates' ideas, as well as to reconcile what they hear with their own thinking. As for teachers, by attending to reasoning, they're able to listen for students' understanding of a topic at more nuanced and sophisticated levels. Teachers will know they're on the right track when they find themselves reconciling their own understanding of a topic with a student's novel thoughts about the subject.


Folksonomies: discussion conversation dialogue

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revoicing:Person (0.738972 (positive:0.386090)), Maria:Person (0.539735 (positive:0.432485)), Mia:Person (0.522001 (negative:-0.405015)), Gadamer:City (0.469067 (neutral:0.000000)), Moschkovich:Person (0.464712 (neutral:0.000000)), Shultz:Person (0.460602 (neutral:0.000000))

Thought (0.950160): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Question (0.815288): dbpedia | freebase
Cognition (0.761490): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Idea (0.702655): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
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Critical thinking (0.511349): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc | yago

 How to Foster Deep Listening
Periodicals>Magazine Article:  Tyson, Hintz, Hernandez (November 2014), How to Foster Deep Listening, Educational Leadership, November 2014 | Volume 72 | Number 3 , Retrieved on 2015-11-24
  • Source Material []
  • Folksonomies: grammar literacy reading