these aims in mind, this is how I implement Talk Time:
they arrive in the morning, the pupils decide whether they want to take part
in Talk Time. A table has been drawn up for the registration process; it
contains columns for days and one row for each child and is used for one
month. Children register by ticking the appropriate box. I never ask the
pupils to register; in fact I am not involved at all. Children who cannot
manage by themselves ask their classmates for help in registering. Or they
may ask their parents. No extra time is involved in the registration process
since it occurs while the children are settling down.
say hello to the class, then the Talk Time leader (one pupil volunteers to
act as the activity leader for the whole week) takes my place. I sit down
with the pupils. The activity leader says, "Talk Time is now
open", and, using the table, he invites each talker in turn.
all the talks have finished, he says, "Talk Time is now closed".
School activities then begin.
order that the my aims are met, some rules have been established:
each talk has finished, pupils can raise their hands, to give their reaction,
ask questions, ask for clarification… They are invited to speak by the
talker, who answers their questions if necessary. In this interaction, the
specific skills that come into play are the language skills that I want
every child to attain.
can also register for Talk Time. I do register occasionally and, by doing so,
the children realise that school is part of real life. I am the teacher, but
I am also a person with a life outside of the school. It also makes the
children realise that what they say in Talk Time is important, since I also
have interesting things that I want to talk about.
one topic is allowed for each talk. This prevents the pupils from straying
and means that Talk Time does not take longer than 15 minutes. Without such
a rule, Talk Time would last much longer.
make notes of children's specific language abilities on my oral
communication chart. I am continually monitoring each child's progress.
During Talk Time, I take advantage of my spectator role to observe the
children more closely; I can then easily observe the following abilities :
I can listen to whoever's talking.
I can talk to the class.
I can give my opinion.
I can make my disagreement known.
I can recite a poem alone. (Some children like reciting poetry during Talk
I can remember whatever I wanted to say.
I can contribute without a pencil or chewing-gum in my mouth.
I can speak without my hand in front of my mouth.
I can speak loudly enough to be heard.
I can make myself understood.
children come to realise that I do not make any judgements about what is
important and what is not important for Talk Time. As a rule, I absolutely do
not show any bias in favour of presentations/talks with a claim to cultural
merit, such as: talking about my trip to the museum or the concert, showing
photos of my last holiday in China, showing a fossil to the class…
me, Talk Time is not an exercise during which children choose a topic or an
object according to what they think the teacher expects. I want the children to
think of the whole class, and not just me, when preparing for Talk Time.
example, from the children's point of view, 'losing a tooth' may be exciting,
because they can identify with it, or because of the way the event is described,
perhaps in a funny or mysterious manner. Thus, I think that it is a valid
subject in Talk Time: it is not a waste of time.
Talk Time, the speaker asserts himself as part of the class collective, he
brings something from his life for his classmates. The children and I get to
know one another better. Finally, in the eyes of the collective, the talker is a
person who is in the same class as them, not just a pupil.