Sunday, September 17, 2006

Talk It Out!

I am a big proponent of talking things out.

You know, explaining things to someone else until yo
u suddenly figure it out for yourself. I think that we all need to mutter to ourselves (in an inconspicuous, non-insane sort of way) or find a sounding board (read: hubby or best friend) to listen to us and bounce ideas off of until we can come away with a better understanding.


A long time ago, when my Hubbs worked for cruel masters who forced him to pull 36-hour days, I remember sitting with him at his desk while he looked for errors or bugs or whatever wasn't working, on a computer screen filled with code. I saw letters and symbols but I had no idea what they meant, so I couldn't help him out at all in that respect. Instead, I would sit and listen as he mumbled to himself, talked outloud to noone in particular, and eventually tried to explain what he was doing, to me; I understood none of his explanations, but he looked cute talking so I just stared at his cuteness and smiled. Anyway, inevitably he would find his problem/bug/error mid-sentence during his explanation, and presto! Problem solved. This happened a lot. It was like he just needed the process of talking it out to help him process information and problem solve and see things in a new way.

My point? Today's archaic classroom - the ones where kids aren't allowed to talk (except when the teacher suddenly feels like there should be a brainstorming session or class discussion). Teachers are totally doing their kids a disservice by not letting them talk to work their way through ideas and math problems and science concepts. Without this talk, I think a lot of kids are finding it hard to come up with novel solutions or process information into genuine understanding.

I am an advocate of talking (as those of you who know me already know). I think a bit of noise is healthy for every classroom, and a relatively noisy class is a productive, engaged class.

So talk already!


8 comments:

Ridley Thunder said...

Are those people in your cartoon figuring out which button ends the 36 hit combo for M Bison in Street Fighter 3 Alpha?

Thinktalk is one of the great psychological ways in which a problem can be solved. But sometimes talking can lead to further confusion, sometimes.

Wynn said...

Or what about the poor kids who MUST MOVE to remember. I had our kids at a VERY kinetic school for a few years and I think they learned marvelously...

Mrs. Loquacious said...

Ridley - I think they're actually talking philosophy but I guess it could be interpreted another way! The beauty of constructivism =D

Wynn - I totally agree. I am not familiar with kinetic schools but I think that a social constructivist approach to teaching should definitely involve a lot of movement, project work, manipulatives, drama... it's far more *active* in probably every sense.

Ontario Emperor said...

At what age are children capable of talking through problems? High school? Junior high? Earlier?

Mrs. Loquacious said...

Well, for math problems and general educational concepts, I would say that from kindergarten onward kids can begin to use talk and dialogue and collaborative work to learn new things. And I think they begin to talk through things in general (to themselves) from the moment they learn to use language in a functional way. This is why little kids babble to themselves when they play.

As for talking through interpersonal problems...I don't know that some adults are even capable of that yet! ;)

Wynn said...

In the kinetic school the kids probably sat for about 2 hours altogether in a day. They were up and around using math manipulatives, spelling in sand, alot of movement but not chaos. They weren't allowed to just run pell mell. Although there was one poor kid who was ADHD and fed tons of sugar for every meal. He'd come down off of breakfast just before lunch, be somewhat controlable for a half hour or so and then eat pb&j, ding dongs, punch, and fruit roll ups for lunch and be sky high the rest of the day. He wasn't ADHD, just allergic to sugar I think!

Nome said...

I totally agree. I plan to encourage my kids to talk in class, too! But only in English!

Mrs. Loquacious said...

ESL? English only! (I've said that a zillion times while teaching overseas, but mine wasn't even an ESL school. The kids were just lazy and wanted to revert back to native tongues).

And I'm not sure if I have enough energy to teach at a kinetic school, Wynn! I hope the teachers weren't required to be as movement-oriented; I LIKE my teacher's chair ;)