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“The readiest way of working on understanding is often through talk…”

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Douglas Barnes on Exploratory Talk



The readiest way of working on understanding is often through talk, because the flexibility of speech makes it easy for us to try out new ways of arranging what we know, and easy also to change them if they seem inadequate. Not all kinds of talking (or writing) are likely to contribute equally to working on understanding. A great deal of the writing that goes on in school is a matter of imitating what other people have said or written, and the same is true at least in part of the talk.

–Douglas Barnes, “Exploratory Talk for Learning” in Exploring Talk in Schools, edited by Neil Mercer and Steve Hodgkinson (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2009) 5


Image Credit: Kirk Livingston

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