Hive mind


Hive mind

9 May ’18 Teaching 0

Having taken an interest in Cultures of Thinking, I remain interested in conversations around the development of thinking, revealing thinking and therefore oracy. I listened to Professor Neil Mercer Tes Talk with great interest.

Whilst he most definitely did not answer to provocative podcast title “How much of your lesson should be teacher talk?”

The research does not tell you what the balance between teacher and student talk should be, in any clear way…Crude proportions are not important or useful. – Professor Neil Mercer

though he did acknowledge

We know enough [from the research] to say you should strive for a balance between authoritative presentation and genuine dialogue – And that the proportion of instructive talk and dialogue should be determined by what you want to achieve, not by your personality.

A teacher may be more suited to one of those approaches, but they need both and it needs to fit the objective at that time.

…there was worthwhile conversation to listen to and think about, especially around the use of group work, language development, modelling and noticing and naming effective oracy. This includes noticing and naming effective speaking, debating, conversation when working in a group, helping someone else learn something, listening sensitively to someone, feeding back and so on.

He also highlighted that with group work, the “least keen” student group were high achieving girls, however, as time progresses, this cohort starts to recognise the value of it, particularly explaining for others, for themselves.

The last point, towards the end of the podcast was a trivial, passing observation that caught my ear. One for all leadership teams soon to reflect on the academic year and forward plan for the next.

You don’t just want people to interact in a group, you want them to inter-think. – Professor Neil Mercer

Search hive-mind and it gets a little dystopian – so you will need to make do with a featured image of bees.

Interested in a simple, straightforward introduction to oracy – here is Professor Neil Mercer with just that.


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