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How to teach a great ‘chalk and talk’ lesson

By Mark Richards,

24 Jan 2020

There was a time, not so long ago, when the traditional ‘chalk and talk’ lesson had become very much frowned upon in schools.

For the most part over the last two decades, the focus of pedagogy has been centred on multiple intelligence learning and a recognition that pupils have different learning styles.

To a certain extent, lesson observation has been concentrated on the extent to which a teacher’s lesson caters for the specific needs and preferred learning styles of pupils. However, a purely didactic lesson and classic ‘chalk and talk’ approaches have been making something of a comeback. So, how do you teach a great ‘chalk and talk’ lesson? Why has ‘chalk and talk’ come back into favour? Few practitioners are out there advocating a complete return to ‘chalk and talk’ teaching.

Having said that, the stigma that might have surrounded it in recent years seems to have largely disappeared. This is due, in part, to the increased challenge of the reformed GCSEs.

With such a renewed focus on knowledge of content, there seems to be an acceptance that ‘chalk and talk’ is an approach that can be very effective. Also, it’s worth considering how reliant teachers have become on technology in the classroom.

Of course, this is a good thing, but what happens when there is a technology failure? How does a teacher adapt to ‘chalk and talk’ methods when they need to? Here are some great tips to make the most of ‘chalk and talk’ teaching. Have an imposing presence in the classroom It’s not that teachers hide behind technology deliberately.

But often in the modern classroom it is technology that takes centre-stage.

Without it, teachers can feel exposed and more vulnerable.

Therefore, it is important to really consider your physical presence in the classroom.

You are now the focus so ensure that you command the room and that body language is strong and positive. Quality of explanation is crucial Subject knowledge is obviously very important for any teacher.

We want our children to be taught by subject specialists.

However, expertise is all very well, the most important thing is being able to communicate this knowledge and expertise to pupils.

The quality of teacher exposition is all-important – and even more so when you are delivering a ‘chalk and talk’ lesson. Pace is vital Getting the pace of ‘chalk and talk’ lesson is very important.

Rush through content or try and fit too much into a lesson and it will be too much for students to take in.

On the other hand, if your pace and delivery is too slow, attention will wane.

Keep introducing new hooks that keep your students engaged with the content. Retain focus and have the end-goal in sight It’s important that you stay focused on what pupils need to know and need to take in.

Always have the end-goal in mind and keep it in sight throughout the lesson.


1- Should technology be used more in lessons?

2- How to make your classroom happier

3- Checklist for lesson planning

4- 7 Steps to prepare an exciting and effective lesson plan

5- How do you plan for differentiation in lessons?