Best Practice

Don’t do ‘the right thing’

The language of learning and classroom talk about the process of learning are two key aspects that are too often missing, especially in the STEM disciplines, says Joel Wirth

When you are a born English teacher, the mathematics classroom is truly “Here Be Monsters” territory: the unexplored emptiness on the map where such exotic creatures as quadratic equations vie with Boolean Logic in pursuit of vast shoals of integers and denominators.

The science labs are the same. Visits there are akin to a trip to the Triassic.

Although, what has always struck me as the most glaringly alien thing about most mathematics rooms and science labs is not the exotically plumed language of stoichiometry and gluons, but rather the relative absence of words.

In terms purely of purposeful talk, they are often the quietest places in the school. And this is not a good thing.

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