Classroom talk is accountable to the learning community.


Participants are engaged in talk.
Ø High amount of talk
Ø High percentage of talk by students
Ø High percentage of student to student talk
Ø Some extended speeches mixed with short comments

Participants are listening attentively to one another.
Ø Body language/eye contact show that they are attentive
Ø References to previous speakers
Ø Comments connected to previous ideas
Ø Limit to inappropriate overtalk
Ø Monitor students’ interests in only taking turns

Participants elaborate and build upon ideas and each other’s contributions.
Ø Talk remains related to text/subject/issue
Ø Related issues or topics are introduced and elaborated
Ø Low incidence of personal attacks

Participants ask each other questions aimed at clarifying or expanding a proposition.
Ø Participants revoice, summarize, and paraphrase each other’s arguments
Ø Participants make an effort to ensure they understand one another
Ø Participants clarify or define terms under discussion

Classroom talk is accountable to standards of reasoning.

Participants use rational strategies to present arguments and draw conclusions.
Ø Participants provide reasons for conclusions and claims
Ø Participants are able to fashion sound premise-conclusion arguments
Ø Participants use examples to make arguments and support claims
Ø Participants use analogies to make arguments and support claims
Ø Participants use hypothetical “what if” scenarios to make arguments and support claims
Ø Participants partition argument issues and claims in order to address topics and further discussion

Participants challenge the quality of each other’s reasoning.
Ø Quality of the premise-conclusion argument is challenged by participants
Ø Hidden premises or assumptions of participant’s line of argument are exposed and challenged
Ø Participants pose counter-examples to challenge arguments
Ø Participants use extreme case comparisons to challenge arguments and claims

Classroom talk is accountable to accurate information.

Participants make use of specific and accurate information.
Ø Participants make specific reference to the text or topic to support arguments and assertions
Ø Participants make clear reference to knowledge built in the course of the discussion
Ø Examples or claims using outside knowledge are accurate, accessible and relevant

Participants provide for claims and arguments.
Ø Unsupported claims are questioned and investigated by the participants
Ø Requests are made for factual information, elaboration, rephrasing and examples
Ø Participants quarrel over facts but with appropriate effort to attain information

Participants recognize the kind of knowledge or framework required to address a topic.
Ø Participants call for the definition and clarification of terms under discussion
Ø Participants challenge whether knowledge being used to address their topic is appropriate for their discussion
Ø Participants recognize or challenge whether the framework of discussion is appropriate.

Adapted from:
Institute of Learning. (2003). Accountable talk. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh, Learning, Research and Development Center.