McCann, Johannessen, Kahn, and Flanagan guide high school teachers in developing skills in promoting and facilitating authentic discussion in the English language arts classroom.


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Experienced teachers know—and new teachers quickly learn—how challenging it is to spark and sustain effective classroom discussions. How can we avoid asking leading questions that make students try to read our minds for a “correct” answer? How can we foster meaningful, focused conversation that produces deeper insights into a specific work or topic?

Talking in Class guides readers in developing skills that promote and facilitate authentic discussion within the English language arts classroom. Speaking from their own classroom experience, the authors introduce some basic considerations for planning, managing, and evaluating large-group and small-group discussions. Examples of both instructional activities and classroom practices illustrate the ways that discussion prepares students for subsequent learning, specifically in connection to writing and to the reading and interpretation of literature.

The authors also explore how discussion can

• connect many phases and components of the curriculum;
• promote and support inquiry and critical thinking;
• incorporate current, popular technologies, such as blogs and discussion boards;
• and connect students to issues that are important to them and to the broader world of thinkers.

230 pp. 2006. Grades 9–12.  ISBN 10: 0-8141-5001-2; ISBN 13: 978-0-8141-5001-6.

“The authors have brought their combined seventy-plus years of classroom experience to bear on making this book an important and delightful read. . . . [I]f you are concerned with good discussion in your classes, you will want to try some of the many fascinating, surefire materials and activities included. The book is a must-read for every teacher, neophyte or pro, concerned with discussion, whatever the subject matter.”
—George Hillocks, Jr., Professor Emeritus, University of Chicago

Click here to visit the authors' website, where you'll find materials they shared in their session at the 2006 NCTE Annual Convention.