What is your role as the teacher during exploratory talk?
What do you want to do?
What do you say?
Initially you will spend time teaching the skills involved in having a discussion e.g. the many aspects such as tone of voice, turn taking, gestures etc. You will also need to teach the various aspects of the oracy framework.
When setting up exploratory talk there is always the worry that groups will finish their discussions at different times. What then?
Here’s an idea from Alice Stott – “One way to manage this is to set up several layers within a task. Rather than providing one discussion question or talking point, give 3 or 5 that have different foci and levels of difficulty. Let pupils choose to discuss the one that interests them the most and move on to another when they have finished.”
As you can see the focus for the teacher has shifted. You now need to have thought about how you want the discussion to happen and what you want the children to achieve at various points in the conversation. Crafting the discussion might mean you consider where the discussion should be by the half way point and the end point.
What sort of things need to be said to make that happen?
What could stop a discussion moving forward?
What can you do to move it forward?
(Stott, Gaunt 2019)
Your job is now to facilitate the conversation or discussion through carefully crafted questions and prompts. The emphasis is now on moving the child led discussion forward rather than imparting your knowledge.