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Engaging in Conversations: The Key to Fostering Effective Learning in the Classroom

It opens up new perspectives. What's even better is every participant feels valued as they are listened to by the facilitator who also ensures that everyone else does too. That's just the tip of the iceberg. There is much much more that your child can benefit from a classroom environment in which conversations are the norm for learning.



Conversation about a book that we are reading together


We had an interesting situation in one of the batches at the Young Readers' Club. We had finished reading 80% of a book together. One section of the group (Group A), asked to speed through the book to find out how it ends. The other (Group B) insisted on reading everything and gradually moving to the end.


Arguments presented by Group A

  • The plot seems to only grow- more and more problems are getting added with no resolution in sight. Considering that we are almost towards the end of the book, shouldn't there be some indication of resolution or things coming together in some way.

  • There is no suspense. It's just more and more problems getting added.

  • It has become a little boring. I can't help wonder why the protagonist cannot seek help or stand up for himself and we are nearing the end!

  • The end of the book has a note- "To be continued.." This book doesn't have an ending!

Arguments presented by Group B

  • How can we skip pages? We would miss out on details that may be important for the story.

  • This book is meant to be funny and hence could we be analyzing the plot a little too much?

  • So what if it says "To be continued?" We just go to the sequel...Isn't that good? We don't need to think of what to read next.

Coming to a decision- To do nor to do!

In the process of talking this out, both groups expressed their carefully thought out arguments. They listened to one another so that they could think of appropriate counter arguments that would tilt the final decision in their favor. They also raised questions based on certain established norms in their mind. For instance a reader who had grown up being told to finish reading a book cover to cover no matter what so as to not miss any detail, was aghast by the suggestion that we could simple skim through some pages and pausing only when we saw something potentially important to the story.

Aren't we all guilty of doing this with some books? Sometimes the book is gripping but either because of our mood, we tend to skim through stories to get to the exciting bit. Is that wrong? Well, the author would be happy ofcourse if the reader reads cover to cover. But every reader has a unique reading style. Some read fast, some slow, some like to delve into the smallest details while others don't enjoy too much detail.


Respecting the other person for their unique reading preferences

The classroom conversation led to a realization among the readers that different people read and enjoy different kinds of books. There is perhaps no book that is universally liked by every single person and that that is is ok. That's what makes conversations based on books interesting. We discover new ways of looking at the same book. We learn to respect one another, more importantly recognize and accept differences.

There is perhaps no book that is universally liked by every single person and that that is is ok. That's what makes conversations based on books interesting. We discover new ways of looking at the same book. We learn to respect one another, more importantly recognize and accept differences.

The decision

The group came to the conclusion that both groups had one common goal which was to find out how the story ends. There must be something that happens in the end that leads to the sequel. We must know that so that we could decide if the sequel would answer our questions. And that's how we came to the decision that we will skim through some parts to attain the common goal!


 

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Both weekday and weekend batches are available at the Young Readers' Club for the 8-12 age group.

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The Young Writers' Club program for the 13-15 age group offers a weekly platform to read and discuss curated articles from the news, observe writing approaches and practise one's writing skills.

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