Classroom Conversations and Banter

ON USING THE SOCIAL BRAIN IN THE CLASSROOM

“Teachers are losing the education war because our adolescents are distracted by the social world. Naturally, students don’t see it that way. It wasn’t their choice to get endless instruction on topics that don’t seem relevant to them. They desperately want to learn, but what they want to learn about is their social world—how it works and how they can secure a place in it that will maximize their social rewards and minimize the social pain they feel… How do our schools respond to these powerful social motivations? Schools typically take the position that our social urges ought to be [...]

ON THE POWER OF FRIENDSHIP SIGNALS

“It is amazing how easy it is to influence people’s behavior using these friendship tools [the eyebrow flash, the authentic smile and the head tilt]. Alone or in combination, they allow you to make people feel better about themselves and, in turn, encourage them to make you feel better as well. When you employ the Golden Rule of Friendship, it encourages reciprocity: ‘If you make me happy, I want to make you happy.’”  p. 90-91 The Like Switch: An Ex-FBI Agent’s Guide to Influencing, Attracting, and Winning People Over, by Jack Schafer, Ph.D.

Why Persona Especial Interviews Work: The Way They Want to Be Known

Here is another reason I think the Special Person interviews work so well: they allow students to create the picture of themselves that they want us to see. Interviews let students paint themselves the way they want to be perceived, rather than the way they have been known up till now. When students volunteer information about themselves they have something to live up to and this becomes a building block of community in the classroom. The crucial, hidden storytelling skill that we develop in TPRS is a big part of this: No actor every looks bad in a story. Years [...]

QUESTIONS STUDENTS WANT TO ASK ONE ANOTHER IN INTERVIEWS

These are some of the questions that students said they would like to ask one another using the present perfect. It is interesting that the hot items always cluster around the same themes. Questions about four topics are always winners, and they showed up here. These Top Tier Topics are: Music, Pets, Sports, and Cars. All are engaging topics. Kids will have an opinion about them. They will always have something to say about those. But other topics also showed up. These may be considered Second Tier Topics: Travel, School, Work and Food. These topics can be the source of [...]

SPECIAL PERSON INTERVIEWS IN TRADITIONAL UPPER LEVEL CLASSES

The Special Person questions are not regulated to lower level classes. They can be adapted to any level. And if you want to target a specific verb form with Special Person questions, you can. With practice you can make natural sounding questions and conversations that lean towards almost any verb form. EXAMPLE:  THE PRESENT PERFECT FORM I wanted to model for a student teacher how students could be interviewed with questions in almost any verb form. It just takes the right set up and then following through with logical questions. The class in this example had not explicitly been taught [...]

STUDENTS INTERVIEW THE STUDENT TEACHER

Yesterday the students in my 7th hour Spanish I class asked if they could interview the student teacher. This was compelling stuff for them. The energy and interest were there and the questions kept coming, so the interview continued for the entire class period. I was very proud of them for speaking in Spanish for about 95% of the time and for keeping the conversation with her going the entire hour. Those doggone kids ruined my beautiful lesson plan by voluntarily speaking spontaneous Spanish with a very fluent speaker for almost an hour! About half of the students in class [...]