Check out the research I came across today while reading Checking for Understanding: Formative Assessment Techniques for Your Classroom by Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey published in 2007 by ASCD.
- Inviting student to retell what they have just heard or read is a powerful way of checking for understanding (Hansen, 2004; Shaw, 2005).
- Gambrell, Koskinen and Kapinus (1991) examined the use of retellings with 4th grade proficient and less-proficient readers. They found that students who employed this technique made SIGNIFICANT INCREASES in the number of propositions and story structure elements recalled as well as the overall number of comprehension questions answered correctly. These authors noted that students needed at least FOUR practice sessions with retelling to become comfortable with the strategy.
I also found some disturbing research related to conversations and poverty in the classroom.
- In classrooms where there are increased numbers of students living in poverty, teachers talk more and students talk less (Lingard, Hayes & Mills, 2003).
- In addition, there is an increased focus on basic skills in these classrooms and less attention to critical and creative thinking (Stipek, 2004).
- Teachers of struggling student groups or tracks usually offer students "less exciting instruction, and more rote drill and practice activities" than do teachers of high-performing or heterogeneous groups and classes (Cotton, 1989).
People will talk and listen - that's a given. The ways in which this talking and listening are used are the real keys (Fisher, Frey, 2007).