Here’s an example:

Accountable Talk: Talking for Learning and Higher Order Thinking

Check out one or all of these sources on “Accountable Talk,” a term coined by Lauren Resnick and Colleagues in the 1990’s

One: Accountable Talk Sourcebook: Classroom Conversations That Work

Version 3.1, 65 pages

An excerpt from page 4:

“Accountable Talk practices are not something that spring spontaneously from students’ mouths. It takes time and effort to create an A. T. classroom environment in which this kind of talk is a valued norm….by modeling appropriate forms of discussion and by questioning, probing, and leading conversations. For example, teachers may press for clarification and explanation, require justification of proposals and challenges, recognize and challenge misconceptions, demanding evidence for claims and arguments, or interpret and “revoice” students’ statements.”


Two: Excerpts about the work of Lauren Resnick and Accountable Talk by


“Children develop cognitive strategies and effort-based beliefs about intelligence-the habits of mind associated with higher-order learning-when they are continuously pressed to raise questions and accept challenges, to find solutions that are not immediately apparent, to explain concepts, justify their reasoning, and seek information. When we do not hold children accountable for this kind of intelligent behavior, they take it as a signal that we do not think they are smart, and they often come to accept this judgment. The paradox is that children become smart by being treated as if they already were intelligent. This is a hallmark of knowledge-based constructivist pedagogy.”…..

Changes in understanding the nature of learning have pointed Resnick toward a form of instruction that she calls the “Thinking Curriculum”. This requires “instruction that is high in cognitive demand (conceptual learning, reasoning, explaining, and problem solving are engaged daily) and that is embedded in specific, challenging subject matter. Evidence has accumulated that teaching cognitive skills in the absence of specific content rarely works. It appears that thinking abilities have to develop in the course of reasoning about specific information and knowledge. At the same time, there is plenty of evidence that drilling on the facts without demands for explanation and reasoning produces fragile knowledge, which is likely to disappear once the test is over and is unlikely to transfer. A form of the Thinking Curriculum that uses guided classroom discussion of core disciplinary ideas (we call this accountable talk) apparently yields both long-term retention and transfer to other disciplines.”

Three: Accountable Talk and Content Conversations

“Lauren Resnick (1995) introduced the concept of accountable talk as a means of raising the level of academic discourse among students. Accountable talk governs the norms of academic discourse and requires that students ask for and furnish evidence to support their statements (Michaels, O’Conner, Hall, & Resnick, 2002). This ensures rigor and moves the conversation from task-oriented to concept-oriented learning…..”   Excerpt from:

Content-Area Conversations by Douglas Fisher, Nancy Frey and Carol Rothenberg

Chapter 5. Procedures for Classroom Talk

Four: and from my Pinterest site….scroll down and see “related pins”….on accountable talk

Many of these are by Michelle Steger. Here’s her board

Others are by Angie Thunker. Here’s her board