Dear all, does anyone have experience of using a Talking Stick to promote good listening skills with literacy students?
I used it today, with a biro not a fancy stick, and it helped one learner at least to see the value of taking her turn when talking in a group discussion. I would be very interested to hear of any direct experience of using this technique in adult groups.

Tags: Communication, adult, learners, listening

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This sounds very similar to a technique I have used whereby students cannot speak in a group discussion unless they are holding the tennis ball which is passed to another group member when after they have spoken. I would usually use this as a starter or ending activity as a recap or introduction to the lesson, it usually works well to ensure that all students have an equal say in the discussion, quieting the dominant members are encouraging those who are normally quiet. 


Thanks Chris. I think using it as a recap is quite powerful. You don't think some quiet people would feel under pressure?

Yes, it certainly has the potential to do this. There is a fine balance between encouraging students and embarassing them. Getting to know your students and creating a 'safe' environment for them helps. Quite often I would do this with little set agenda which reduces the pressure on these students.

HI Chris, ah yes creating a safe environment is probably key. Fyi, I have seen the ball used as a brainstorming technique where the ball is bounced on the floor or table in the middle of the group and participants have to catch it and make a contribution to the discussion. It is a good way of generating ideas but so many people struggle with the idea of keeping their critique out of the picture and keep an open mind so, this has to be emphasised before all the bouncing starts.

Reading the comments here, it sounds like something I could utilise, something I had never even thought about!!

Thank you, I shall let you know hoe I get on.

T x

Hi Tracy,

this is the web page I was looking at:

Yes, please do let me know if youhave some success with this technique.

Best wishes,


Hi Jax,
I definitely will, I think I will structure it into my next theory lesson, and maybe try a you only get one go to promote more of an inclusive lesson as everyone then gets a chance to answer a question!!
T x

I use a small (about 8" in diameter) inflatable ball that has nubs all over it. I bought it for a buck at the local Dollar Tree. If a day goes by that I don't use it, my 6th graders start begging for it. It's great during discussion time because a ball being tossed around the room requires eyes to be on the speaker, just in case it gets thrown to them next. 



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