Kirsten Franklin on the role of teachers and academic discourse – POP13

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Brandon Krueger
Brandon Krueger
Kevin Mulryne
Kevin Mulryne

In our second kernel of wisdom from Kirsten Franklin, she manages to cover a wide range of issues in a short time! First of all, Brandon asks her about the role of the teacher.

How would you say the role of teachers is changing as you support them with the NGSS guidelines?

Kirsten Franklin
Kirsten Franklin

Kirsten thinks that, in common with the Common Core approaches, teachers are moving more towards becoming facilitators rather than deliverers of information and facts. For example in science, teachers can start off a lesson with some kind of phenomena. This can be an object, a provocative question or a video – something which the children have to talk about, wrestle with and come up with an explanation of what it is
or how it works. Inquiry is a large part of the process.

Kirsten has experience of this when she brought Ghost Shrimp into First Grade.

What does Kirsten recommend to teachers with regard to
student learning behaviours? How do you create a safe and positive
classroom culture?

Academic Discourse is one area Kirsten has really focused on. This can be a foundation for a lot of other things which happen in science – and across the curriculum. We want children to be talking and behaving like scientists do and academic discourse is what scientists use.

However, meaningful and deep discourse is easier said than done
– it takes some explicit instruction.

The teacher needs to create a classroom climate which supports the exchange of ideas in a safe and positive environment. Kids need to be respectful, attentive and reflective. Kirsten recommends taking the first few weeks with a class to establish the culture. This can be done via class meetings – prompts, sentence starters etc.

Academic Discourse resources: