The newly appointed Director of the Melbourne Education Research Institute at the University of Melbourne, Professor John Hattie, advises teachers to shut up and listen to their students.

His research indicates that teachers spend 80% of class time talking and this is not conducive to deep learning.

”When teachers stop talking deep learning takes place………speaking 80 per cent of the time in conversation means ‘I’m waiting for you to stop to have the chance to talk’. In counseling you have to do the opposite, you have to listen and that’s what I want teachers to do.”

CAS Coordinators and Advisers need to provide space and time, and the skills of good listener, to help their students think and reflect on their learning in CAS activities. As CAS Coordination draws on the skills of teaching and counseling, the art of a good conversation induces reflection.

Like other art forms, creating a good conversation requires careful use of ‘space’. In other words, you don’t want one person dominating a conversation by talking all the time.

Can we measure and monitor who does most of the talking in a conversation?

A new iPhone app called the Talk-o-Meter does just that, providing instant feedback on the conversation taking place.

You place your phone on the table and the app automatically recognizes the voices of the speakers, and then keeps track of how much time each person spends talking.

The Talk-o-Meter might also provide some interesting reflection for Coordinators.