Examining Our Own Teaching Practices: How much classroom time is being taken up by "Teacher Talk?"

Have you ever sat through a course or in-service training where the instructor or facilitator talked at you for the majority of the time? How long did it take for you to zone out? How much of the information do you think you retained? That answer will vary depending on where you are stronger in the Multiple Intelligences. If you are stronger in linguistic intelligence, then you may have gotten something out of it, but if you are stronger in spatial or bodily-kinesthetic, then you may have gotten little or nothing from it.

Now think of this in terms of your own classroom. Are you teaching to the different intelligences of the students who are sitting in your room or are you primarily teaching to the linguistic?
Thomas Armstrong in his book Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom cites John Goodlad's "A Study in Schooling" project which puts "teacher talk" at taking up "nearly 70 percent of classroom time." Something to ponder as we move forward.

One of the things we would like to explore in this blog is practical strategies for teaching to the multiple intelligences through integrating the arts. They can be simple things like taking a vocabulary lesson and substituting movements that show what the word means rather than simply going over definitions out loud. You'll be amazed at how this energizes the classroom and how well it works. I've seen students quietly doing the movements at their desks during a quiz, and I've seen scores go up using this method.

Keith, Donnie, and I will be posting some strategies that have worked for us, but we also want to learn from you. We need you to post what has worked for you or just some new ideas you want to bounce off the other people reading this blog. So we encourage you to comment often; the more people we can get ideas from, the richer the experience will be for all of us.

Armstrong, T. (2000). Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.


carlthomsen said…
I teach school residencies in which students use creative movement to learn core curriculum topics. Mostly grades 3-5 and mostly local, regional and national history (native americans and early settlers, natural enviroment, undergroug railroad, etc).
When I begin a session, I tell them three things:
Everyone's a dancer.
You're never NOT dancing.
Dance = communication.

Then we move. I teach them a movement game and then point out what learning strategies they just used in the game. I help them generalize those strategies to other learning situations. They apply the strategies to the topic we are studying, create movements around the topic, organize them into Beginning/Middle/End sequences and then perform for the shool at the end of the week.

Kinesthetic learning is a huge gateway for becoming excited learners!

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