By Janet Elfring
I have had the "We want to talk all the time" request from a number of people in various classes over the past two and 1/2 years and I have found that it is not always suitable for teaching and or learning. There are a fair number of fair to midling level of students who only want to come to class and gab with their friends at the level of ability they have reached. They have no desire to work and attain a higher level.
They can only all talk if I break the class up into small groups and then I am only participating with one group at a time. If I give them subjects to talk about, they may do it for awhile but they usually fall back into gossip pretty quickly. I've tried recreating the groups so they are no always with their buddies. I've had students complain to me that there is too much discussion in class and they are not progressing because they are just talking to their friends and not gaining any real instruction.
I try to get them to talk in the class as a whole, but only a certain group are really ready and willing to do that and they dominate the discussion.