Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Teacher Talk-1

Dr.K.N. Anandan

Q1: What is teacher talk?

We all know that language is primarily speech. This implies that if the learners have to acquire English they should get input in the form of language that is spoken. Without this we cannot expect any learner to acquire any language. The listening input cannot be substituted by the input learners get through reading.
So what is meant by ‘teacher talk?’ All teachers talk to children. We all know this. In fact sometimes teachers even talk too much. Language pedagogues say that teacher’s over-talk is characteristic of any teacher centered classroom. Therefore teacher talk does not mean this. Teacher talk also does not mean the many number of questions posed by the teacher for eliciting responses (whether they are free or fixed responses).
The revised curriculum of Kerala envisages a classroom process where at several points the teacher has to interact with the learners.
What are the various slots where the teacher has to interact with the learners? Let’s have a glance at these:
• Initial interaction
• Interaction based on the trigger
• Interaction leading to individual reading of the text
• Interaction at various stages of collaborative reading
• Interaction related to asking analytical questions
• Interaction leading to individual writing of the discourse
• Interaction related to the individual presentation of the discourses
• Interaction while the discourses are refined in groups
• Interaction related to the presentation of the group product
• Interaction prior to the presentation of teacher’s version
• Interaction related to thematic editing
• Interaction related to editing
• Interaction related to the formation of big books
• Incidental interaction that might take place at any time
Each instance of interaction serves a specific objective. At the same time all instances of interaction serve some common objectives too. Unless the teacher knows why she has to interact with the learners at a certain point and how it is to be done the teacher talk she gives will not be meaningful. All these instances of interaction can be put under the umbrella of teacher talk. But there is a vital point to be taken care of: The teacher talk should be meaningful and comprehensible to the learners.

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