The Missouri Reader Vol. 43, Issue 1 | Page 27


Independent Reading

S2: On page 9 it said, ‘Mr. King helped me with

my math. I think he is the best teacher ever!

TC: What did the author want you to learn?

S2: To like everyone even if you don’t think they like you.

S4: I agree. She should have waited to not like him.

TC: So you think the author wants us to think about making quick judgements about other people? (restating)

S3: Yes, give everyone a chance.

TC: It is important to think about the feelings and actions of characters when you read. It will help you understand the story, and the author’s purpose: what the author wants to you to learn.

Planning and delivering student-centered conversations present challenges to TCS and novice teachers. In an end of semester interview with elementary education junior Abby Frandsen, she states:

I wanted to use specific expansion and elaboration strategies when facilitating students’ conversation to draw them into deeper levels of thinking. My intended role was to guide the students through a discussion and allow them to make personal connections and relate to the text on their own. However, they ended up doing more speaking to me, rather than talking with each other. By me, the teacher, doing all the questioning and prompting, the children spoke to me directly rather than converse with one another (personal communication, April 14, 2019).

Even when TCs plan for dialogic talk students have learned behaviors that make lesson delivery a challenge.

Management of a student-centered conversation doesn’t look like other lessons. If students are raising their hand to participate, the teacher is the focal point which disrupts the flow of discussion.

I taught my lesson to four third grade students. They were not familiar with talk moves or how to participate in a student-centered conversation. Up to this point waiting their turn and raising their hand before speaking was the norm rather than open contribution. I believe that as my students age, and are introduced to student-centered discussion practices, a more interactive environment will grow. Learning how to participate in a true "group discussion" must be taught and practiced (A. Frandsen, personal communication, April 14, 2019).

Student-centered conversations require students to engage in active learning, think deeply about text, and listen to one another. In these conversations, the students and the teacher are responsible for the collective learning of the group. Air space is shared not directed by the teacher. Student-centered conversations and the use of talk moves increases TCs ability to recognize what and how students are thinking, how they are interpreting the text, and their level of comprehension.


Beers, G. K., & Probst, R. E. (2012). Notice & note: Strategies for close reading. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Chapin, S., O’Connor, C., & Anderson, N. (2013). Classroom discussions in math: A teacher's guide for using talk moves to support the Common Core and more, grades K-6: A multimedia professional learning resource (third edition). Sausalito, CA: Math Solutions Publications.

Frandsen, A. (2019, April, 14). Personal interview with Loman, K.

Himmele, P. & Himmele, W. (2011). Total participation techniques: Making every student an active learner. Alexandria, VA: ASCD.

The Teaching Channel (n.d.). Strategies: Improving participation with talk moves. Retrieved from

Dr. Karen Loman currently teaches English Language Arts in the Young Learner Block at the University of Central Missouri.

Dr. Nicole Nickens is also a professor at the University of Central Missouri and

Abbigail Frandsen is an undergraduate student at the University of Central Missouri.



my math. I think he is the best teacher ever!