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5. Develop your talk for… Noticing

Developing your learning language

Here is a range of things you could say to nudge Noticing. When you use this kind of language you are talking as a learning coach; encouraging students to think for themselves. Using such statements encourages your students to:

  • imitate you
  • start to think in this way
  • become conscious of these phrases and their meaning.

Gradually you will hear some of the statements pop up in students’ self-talk….in speech or even in writing from time to time, but mostly this will go on inside their heads. As your work on noticing gathers pace see if you can detect students who talk, or think, in these ways.

Learning-talk nudges that encourage Noticing

Teacher talk – as a learning coach

Here are 10 ideas to ensure your students do the thinking for themselves

  1. What do you notice about the way… is doing that?
  2. Just watch/listen for a while. What’s happening? Wait a little longer. What’s really going on?
  3. Be patient for a bit longer. Do you notice any patterns here?
  4. Great! Your patience is rewarded. You noticed some (unusual) patterns/really useful details there.
  5. Do you notice any differences between xxx and yyy?
  6. Is there more to this than you are seeing now?
  7. Had you noticed that before?
  8. What seems to be going on here?
  9. Do you notice [something different/unusual] about this?
  10. Have you missed anything?

What do you think?

  • Which of these noticing nudges might you start using?
  • For which particular content areas would such nudging be most useful?
  • How will most of your students respond to such nudges?
  • Will this way of engaging be more popular with girls or boys?
  • What other nudging ideas might you add to the list?

Make a note of…


  • Students’ reactions to the nudges.
  • Ideas about why this might be.
  • Ways in which you could further encourage students to imitate this metacognitive self-talk.
  • Any positive or negative impact of these noticing behaviours.

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