Beyond Accountable Talk

I don’t have an issue with students not wanting to participate. For the most part, they all always want to add their perspective into our class discussions. The issue is their inability to articulate their thoughts eloquently, intelligently, and respectfully. At the start of the school year, I provided my students with a list of accountable-talk sentence starters.

Accountable-Talk Sentence Starters


I agree…
I disagree…
I want to add…
Can you explain…?
I have a question about…
What I heard you say is…?
Can you show me where…?
I do not understand ________, can you repeat it in a different way?
Thank you…
Can you give me a few moments to process this?
My evidence is…
In the text, I read…
My research shows…
I can make a connection to how you said…
This reminds me of…
I predict…
It’s explicit enough to see…
I understand your perspective but in my own opinion…
I don’t know but I will find out…



Most of them have seamlessly implemented the phrases into their vocabulary but right after they use the sentence starters, they get stuck. Their sentences lose meaning, they don’t make clear connections, and they usually just stop like – “umm, yeah…” or “y’all know what I meant.” Simple prompts such as, “No, finish your sentence”, only seem to frustrate them and cause them to visibly show their anger. But what are they so mad at? Not knowing how to articulate their thoughts or being pushed to do so? I believe it’s a little bit of both. I know this because I, too, can identify with the feeling of having the knowledge in my mind but not knowing exactly how to say it.

In the Black community, “Nah’mean?” and “Know what I’m saying?” are the most acceptable cop-outs ever. We abuse them so frequently that we allow them to enable the habit of not fully explaining ourselves. In order to discontinue this habit among my students, the only thing I can do is teach them: replacement strategies, ways to pull prior knowledge before they speak, and the art of pacing one’s self while conversing with others.

Next week, I will be rolling out my Beyond Accountable Talk series:

Part I- Replacement Strategies
Part II - Inserting Prior Knowledge
Part III - Pacing One’s Self While Conversing with Others


Comments

  1. This is so powerful, even to us as adults. 😘

    ReplyDelete
  2. I cannot wait for you to blog about the series! This is extremely beneficial in and out of the classroom.

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