Constructive Talk in Challenging Classrooms : Strategies for Behaviour Management and Talk-Based Tasks book cover
1st Edition

Constructive Talk in Challenging Classrooms
Strategies for Behaviour Management and Talk-Based Tasks

ISBN 9780415403436
Published December 19, 2006 by Routledge
176 Pages

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Book Description

Constructive Talk in Challenging Classrooms gives the practising teacher advice on how to make learning fun through the use of ‘talk’ and collaborative group work. Using clear examples, tried and tested in some of the most challenging classrooms in inner city schools, the book offers practical and honest advice on both the difficulties and rewards that can be gained when employing all forms of talk-based teaching in the classroom. 

Packed with real examples of successful talk based lessons with children of all abilities and needs, this book will show teachers how they can succeed in overcoming problems of disruption and engage even the most difficult pupils in real learning through talk.

The book shows that bringing the child's individual experience into a lesson through talk has huge emotional and psychological benefits – this can be particularly marked in classrooms where there are low levels of literacy, behaviour issues or where pupils’ first language is not English. The author argues that talk is vital for building positive relationships and essential for successful teaching, particularly in the difficult classrooms.

This inspiring title is essential reading for any teacher interested in building trust and making learning fun and meaningful for all.

Table of Contents

Introduction: What This Book is About  1. Talk under Attack?  2. Teacher Talk: How to Engage the Class  3. Small Talk Tasks: Engagement and Exploration  4. Group work: Exploration, Transformation and Presentation  5. Storytelling: Exploration, Transformation, Performance  6. Drama and Simulation: Exploration, Transformation and Performance  7. SEN and Talk  8. Gender and Talk  9. Reflecting on Talk  10. Assessment of Talk and Assessment through Talk.  Appendices


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Valerie Coultas taught English and Humanities for more than two decades in London schools. She has been a Head of English and an Assistant Head teacher.  She is now a senior lecturer in English at the School of Education, Kingston University.


'Valerie Coultas’s book on talk is primarily addressed to secondary English teachers, especially those who enjoy the challenge and lively contexts of inner city classrooms, providing the teaching equivalent of white water rafting. She has a lot of experience of working with pupils whose reading and writing skills are weak, but who bring to the classroom enormous energy and a wealth of experience combined with the ability to creatively express themselves orally in many different languages and vernaculars. She provides lots of practical and well-tried ways in turning that talk towards a learning purpose rather than stifling it through demands for silent reading and writing ... This is an ideal book for the inexperienced teacher who wants to make a difference ... I would like all English departments to buy this book, try out the strategies in the classroom, and then persuade colleagues in other subjects to try them out to ... I also recommend that all teacher trainers buy this book to help them to revisit all the excellent research on talk that took place between 1965 and the 1990s.' - English Drama Media, The Professional Journal of the National Association for the Teaching of English