Introducing a New Strategy
One of the strategies that I used in two different ways to demonstrate the three keys of increasing interaction, thinking, and comprehension to Chinese primary school teachers of English was “talking circles”. One half of the class forms an inner circle which does not move and the other half forms an outer circle that rotates so that each person has a partner. The first time I used this strategy was after focusing on vocabulary using motions in a book read aloud. The Chinese teachers first worked in groups to write sentences with the vocabulary words. Then they shared their sentences with several partners in the talking circle before returning to their table teams to share what they had heard and add to their vocabulary sentences. The second time I used talking circles was for sharing the Two Truths and a Lie that each teacher had written about themselves. They tried to guess which of the three sentences about each partner was a lie in the talking circle. In both instances, all of the teachers were animated and engaged as each shared what they had written with partners, and there was a great deal of interaction, thinking, and comprehension observed in the talking circles. The Chinese teachers were very excited about using talking circles in their classrooms!