Book Review

Educator Review: I’ve Got Something To Say!

I’ve Got Something to Say!
Written by David Booth, Professor Emeritus at OISE
Published by Pembroke Publishers
Category: Professional Development Resource

Reviewed by Sandra McLeod-Barbeau,
English teacher, ESC Cité des Jeunes, CSCD Grandes Rivières

 

The subtitle, “How Student Voices Inform Our Teaching,” is also the premise: “student voices are central to effective classroom learning.” Transcripts of teachers’ and students’ interactions make up the bulk of this practical book which advocates for the teaching of “oracy.” The book also includes an extensive bibliography of recent references and a user-friendly index. Chapter titles, section headings and side-bars facilitate reading and allow the teacher to pick and choose which strategies to use to improve classroom practice.

Although the majority of examples are drawn from elementary classrooms, Booth recognizes that secondary school students also need to be heard for “talk is a bridge that helps students explore relationships that arise between what they know and what they are coming to know” (p.16). Booth points out the connection between student voice and increased engagement as well as willingness to participate in classroom activities.

Each chapter concludes with a Reflection, a series of questions to apply the chapter’s content in the reader’s classroom. The early chapters build the argument for why classroom talk matters while subsequent chapters show how to build a community of voices using story-telling, role-playing, response journals, oral reading, and various forms of writing, just to identify a few of the strategies presented. An entire chapter is devoted to communicating through technology, and the final chapter presents assessment ideas. The book includes examples drawn from ESL, ESD, and ELL classrooms, as well as from students with learning difficulties.

I’ve Got Something to Say! should be read by every teacher and administrator who is passionate about inclusive classrooms where students’ voices are valued. Beginning teachers and experienced teachers alike can refine their current practice by implementing even one of the many excellent practical suggestions. Be prepared to spend some time reading this book as you will frequently stop to revise tomorrow’s lesson plan, incorporating an idea you just discovered.

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