Teacher Talk! Effective classroom questioning and discourse. How to move students from surface level to deep level learning through classroom talk and questioning

Year: 2016

Author: Murphy, Sophie, Dawson, Georgia, Clinton, Janet, Mason, Sarah

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The notion of deep learning represents a critical consideration for teacher education, student assessment, and student learning (Hattie & Purdie, 1998). Empirical research suggests that in many cases, the vast majority of class time is dedicated to surface, rather than deep learning, with most teacher questioning (and assessment items) focusing on surface knowledge without any accompanying focus on deep learning outcomes (Marzano, 1991). One core finding from Hattie’s (2008) recent synthesis of meta-analyses was that conclusion that finding the right balance between deep and surface learning is an essential component of effective teaching practice. The Visible Classroom project, with its mechanisms for providing feedback to teachers through innovative captioning technology, presents unique potential for examining teacher practice – specifically teacher talk – and its connection to both deep and surface level learning. In this presentation, the authors will outline specific differences between surface, deep and transfer of knowledge and understanding. They will discuss the types of essential questions and rich dialogue that need to occur at differing stages of a lesson for deep level learning to occur and to transfer these understandings effectively into new contexts. The authors will also present data about teacher questions and dialogue, drawing upon findings from recent work on the Visible Classroom Project and discuss the contribution of questioning to effective teaching discourse, and its promotion of deep level learning through effective questioning and dialogue.