Traditional Classroom Discourse: The Recitation Script
Teachers stand in front of the room and talk. They disseminate informa-tion, give directions, and ask questions, eliciting orderly responses from students who raise their hands for permission to deliver correct answers. (Or, in the case of my (Amy’s) classroom, for permission to use the lavatory, consult with a guidance counselor, receive ministrations from the nurse, pick up the lunch that has been dropped off by Mom or Dad in the main offi ce, request that the temperature in the room be adjusted, or ask me if tomorrow is going to be a snow day.) Since the days when Socrates wandered in the groves of academe trailed by his entourage of eager students, those who were not texting or Googling were participating in classroom discourse. In Soc’s outdoor classroom, the discourse reputedly consisted of questions having open-ended answers that resulted in more questions. Language-classroom discourse-is the primary medium for teaching and learning.