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Quality Talk summary

Group discussions as a mechanism for promoting high-level comprehension of text

Quality Talk comprises four components: an ideal instructional frame for discussion; discourse tools and signs; teacher modeling and scaffolding; and a set of pedagogical principles. The instructional frame represents a set of parameters that we consider important for promoting quality talk about text. The discourse tools and signs are discursive elements teachers can use to promote and to recognize productive talk about text. Teacher modeling and scaffolding are conversational moves teachers can employ to initiate students into productive talk about text. The pedagogical principles, the fourth component of the model, comprise understandings about language and pedagogy that we consider essential to fostering a culture of dialogic inquiry in the classroom.

The figure below shows the connections among the four components and how they relate to high-level comprehension. The instructional frame provides the context for Quality Talk discussions and this context is embedded within a larger classroom culture of dialogic inquiry embodied in the pedagogical principles. The context and culture foster the discursive elements—the discourse tools and signs—that enable students to engage in critical-reflective thinking about and around text. Teacher modeling and scaffolding are used as temporary supports to initiate students into the kind of talk that promotes critical-reflective thinking. Students’ critical-reflective thinking, in turn, contributes to their high-level comprehension of text.

Figure: Pedagogical Principals Supporting Culture of Dialogic Inquiry

The figure is available here as a PDF file.