Learning to Talk about Goals and Strategies

Delivery Method: 

Your first impression in watching this video clip of water play might be that the teacher asks the children many questions. But we must be careful to analyze the form of a conversation before discussing it. How often does the teacher ask the children to provide a strategy to solve a problem? Does the teacher accept a child’s strategy or suggest a counter-strategy? Does the teacher give an explicit reason for what she is doing, sort of “thinking out loud?” We have written a full transcript of this video. The full transcript also presents an example of one way to discover the general form of a conversation – coding each sentence according to categories such as goals, strategies, problem, purpose, and so on.

Through your careful reading of the transcript, you might deem this conversation “science talk” in that questions are asked about goals, strategies are offered and revised, and new goals emerge from older ones. Below is an excerpt from the video clip.

T: You want to put the tube….Where do you want to put it?

C1: Into the water, so I can do that.

T: In there; how are we going to do that?

C1: You have to lift me up.

T: I have to lift you up, all right.

C: It’s … Why is it stuck?

T: I don’t know. Should we look inside?

C1: Yeah.

Watch the entire clip. Do you think this episode models a form of discourse that the children might use later on their own? Do you think that goals always need to come from the child(ren)? Does this video offer a good example of co-construction of knowledge? If not, how would you change the dialogue? If you purchase this product you will receive in the downloaded folder the transcript of the dialogue with each sentence coded. You can use this transcript for group discussions. We encourage you to disagree with our analysis. Such is the power of digital video.