Recently, working with a Nursery teacher we observed that when we put the children in pairs to do a talk task most of them didn’t talk. We decided to model pair talk taking it in turns with a ‘talking toy’ - passing it backwards and forwards between each other. We then gave a ‘talking toy’ to each pair and it was like magic - suddenly they were all talking, taking it in turns!
This simple technique of passing a ‘talking toy’ can have such an impact on the quality of group or pair talk. Children love it, it reduces teacher talk, and it can make the difference between some children talking or not. Here are some teachers on one of my courses having a go.