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Starting a TALK Class


What is a system? A system is a set of parts that, together, perform a particular function. If one part of a system is missing, it might not work properly or it might not work at all.

A TALK class is a system of learning. The most important element that keeps it running is the teacher. He or she starts the system, maintains it, and if a problem causes the system to be unbalanced, takes the appropriate actions necessary to bring it back into a state of balance.

A TALK teacher is more or less working in the background. The actions he takes tend not to be very visible, at first glance, to a casual observer.

Instead of this, our casual observer sees that no one seems to be in charge. In his mind, the observer sees the teacher standing in front of the neatly aligned rows of students, but his eyes tell him a different story: the teacher moves around within the class, “participating”.

Our observer might jump to the conclusion that the teacher is not “teaching”. This is actually quite true: no one in particular is really running a TALK class, rather it is running itself.

A TALK class is running itself because everyone’s activities are invisibly directed by mutually agreed-upon guidelines, by an Open Performance Agreement.

The students are responsible for their own learning process while the teacher is responsible for the conditions that make this possible. The skills needed to be a successful TALK system teacher are not special, you already possess them. But you may need to learn how to apply your knowledge practically to start and run an actual TALK class. For this purpose we would like to introduce a few techniques that we consider important.

Starting a TALK Class

There are a number of ways how you or your students can start a TALK class.
One way is to start a TALK class with the help of the


Rituals, habits, and set procedures make it easy for us to do certain things without much effort; our daily life depends on them to a great extent.

Take advantage of this fact. Replace those procedures which are not helpful for learning  with habits, procedures, and rituals that are conducive to the learning process and the learning objectives. We are very much aware of the fact that this advice is easily given, but not so easily implemented. It takes a lot of thinking, time, effort, and determination.

Three ideas of how to start a TALK class on a daily basis

Students in a TALK class can start the lesson themselves, without the teacher. Of course, this does not happen overnight, but will be the result of training.

A TALK class is noisy. A few minutes of silence at the beginning of each class may be a good start.

You or a student could start class by giving a mini lecture on a certain topic, or reading a section of an on-going story for five minutes.