03/09/15 05:23 PM
Gallimore, R., Hiebert, J., & Ermeling, B. (2014). Rich Classroom Discussion: One Way, Not The Way to Get Rich Learning. Teachers College Record, Date Published: October 17, 2014
“Rich classroom discourse” has long been valorized by education reformers who object to teacher domination of classroom discussions. Is it greater use of RCD that is key to intellectually inspiring and challenging classrooms? Perhaps instead of focusing on increased use it’s time to ask what specific role for RCD might be realistic and yield learning outcomes educators value? The best chance for progress is to link this question to another one: how to create rich learning opportunities for achieving more advanced competencies. Strategic deployment of RCD for well-defined instructional purposes seems a more realistic vision than advocating greater use without respect for why, when, and for whom. Finding RCD’s proper role requires at least three conditions. Sustained collaboration between teachers and researchers. An ongoing study of curriculum and practice to identify pivotal rich learning opportunities (RLOs) in each unit or project and which might benefit from RCD. Supporting teacher development of the professional judgment to skillfully manage complex decisions with each population and generation of students they teach, so they deploy the best instructional choices.