Accountable Talk ®

Discussion is fundamental to learning, but teachers know that not every type of talk sustains learning. Productive classroom talk promotes learning by keeping learners accountable to the learning community, to accurate and appropriate knowledge, and to rigorous thinking. Inviting students to engage in robust talk leads to growth in learning and achievement.

Accountable Talk practices seriously respond to and further develop what others in the group have said. It puts forth and demands knowledge that is accurate and relevant to the issue under discussion. Accountable Talk practices use evidence appropriate to the discipline and follow established norms of good reasoning.

In today’s learning environment, it’s more critical than ever to use productive talk moves to invite students to share their experiences, their knowledge, and to support their thinking.

But how do talk moves work in asynchronous online learning? Accountable Talk moves can serve as the foundation for good, open-ended feedback from teachers to students or from student to student. Using the moves as feedback prompts students to think critically about their own writing. Engaging in Accountable Talk practices allow students to express their ideas, build on the ideas of their classmates, and make critical personal and cultural connections to content & ideas. The practices provide students with the opportunity to grapple with complex and engaging ideas, to take ownership of their learning, and to see their peers as knowledgeable members of the learning community.

“Over the last 40 years or so, research has established the importance of talk–students’ talk–to learning.  But it’s not just any talk; it’s talk that is on the topic being considered and talk that is thoughtful and respectful to others. This kind of productive talk doesn’t just happen; it has to be developed, and it requires teachers to understand and practice the processes that develop classrooms where talk supports learning. The IFL’s informative Accountable Talk Practices Guide offers teachers a variety of support toward becoming skillful at developing the kind of classroom talk that is so important to learning.”

Isabel L. Beck

PhD / Professor Emerita, School of Education, University of Pittsburgh

Accountable Talk ® Media



#1. Why the Institute for Learning focuses on Accountable Talk® practices
#3. Getting started with Accountable Talk®
#6. Accountable Talk® and the Principles of Learning / Part 1
#7. Accountable Talk® and the Principles of Learning / Part 2
#8. Accountable Talk® and the Principles of Learning / Part 3
#11. Discussions About Mathematical Reasoning: Accountable Talk® by Students of All Ages
#12. The Use of Precise Language in Math: A Means of Apprenticing Students in the Discipline
#14. Revoicing: A Means of Advancing a Mathematical Discussion
#15. The Task that One Uses Really Matters in a Discussion
#16. Representations Can Influence Classroom Talk and Mathematical Connections
#18. Marking Student Ideas is a Means of Instantiating Important Mathematical Ideas