Where Literacy Meets Geography: Using Talk Moves to Engage Students in Geographical Data , pp. 7 of 8


Developing students’ geographical literacy means teaching them skills to process and analyse geographical data and explain the phenomena presented by the data. To help them obtain these skills, we need to engage students with the data through a more dialogic teaching approach. The Talk Moves approach was designed to encourage teachers to be more purposeful in using talk, especially questioning, to create a dialogic learning experience for the students. It can be used to elicit more students’ responses regarding their observations and understanding of the data for a meaningful discussion and provide opportunities for them to practice disciplinary language.

This study examined the impact of integrating Talk Moves to promote dialogic teaching in Singapore’s secondary geography classroom. Of specific interest was whether the integration enhanced students’ geography literacy skills including analytical skills for geographical data, articulating their answers in a geographical manner, writing a geographical account based on the data, and their participation in class. Statistical evidence suggest that Talk Moves helped students improve their analytical skills for geographical data and their ability to articulate answers in a geographical manner. Though there is insufficient inferential statistics to further illustrate the findings due to the constraints in data collection, this study has demonstrated the overall positive perception of students regarding the use of Talk Moves and outlined areas related to dialogic teaching that are worth studying in depth in the future.

I also call for more pedagogical support for teachers to enhance students’ classroom participation in building a safe classroom for students to be more critical towards each other’s answers and to be active learners. More focus can be given to the relationship between students’ talk and writing based on geographical data.

An Inspiring Quote

"[Open-mindedness] includes an active desire to listen to more sides than one; to give heed to facts from whatever source they come; to give full attention to alternative possibilities; to recognize the possibility of error even in the beliefs that are dearest to us."

~ John Dewey, How We Think

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