In R.E.A.L. Time:
A Discussion about Discussion

In R.E.A.L.® Time is a place for conversation about the art, science, and impact of student-led discussion. If that mission feels meta, it’s also born of what we see as a concrete need: an exchange focused explicitly on discussion and stocked with a blend of expertise, research, human interest stories, interdisciplinary connections, and fun!

Edited by Katherine Burd

Protagonists
IRT Team

Protagonists: Teddy Romeyn

“For me, especially as a young teacher who’s still trying to figure it out, I’ll have students who will try to take the conversation in a completely different direction than what I had planned. Then I start to get worried, and I feel I have to reel the entire class back in. My mentor, though, challenged me to let it happen and then take advantage of the tangent. I’m trying to learn to do that, instead of letting it bother me.”

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Protagonists
IRT Team

Protagonists: Joanna Balla-Elliott

“I’m working with a professor from grad school to bring authentic texts into vocabulary instruction that amplify diverse voices and expose students to issues of justice and equity. I’m interested in how we can promote a love of words as we teach students to think about their world.”

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Protagonists
IRT Team

Protagonists: Jenny Blue

“I love the silence when we’re all together in a moment when someone’s said something that really lands. It’s an ineffable presence, not even contained in a voice. We’re all considering or holding something together — it’s that intimate kind of silence where you don’t need to speak. I teach for those kinds of moments.”

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Protagonists
IRT Team

Protagonists: Abby Reed

“One thing I love is when a student has that a-ha moment where they connect the concept we’re discussing with some kind of real world knowledge where the text matters. I also love when a student really listens to learn and then states that he/she has changed his or her mind.”

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Protagonists
IRT Team

Protagonists: Anna Gonzales

“…when a kid references something that another kid said in a previous class — that just shows, to me, that a kid deeply respects the humanity and intellect of their classmates and the work that we do together. They’re showing that they value discussion and showing the value of it at the same time.”

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Protagonists
IRT Team

Protagonists: Ghassan Gammoh

“All the magic is in the classroom.” I really agree — it’s the best place to be in a school. I was always thinking that I wanted to be a school leader, and I think that when my department head told me to live in the moment and do my best — that what was meant to be for me would be — as a young teacher, I need that perspective.

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Protagonists
IRT Team

Protagonists: Kendall O’Connor-Tappan

“The teacher who stands out in my mind is Ms. Hall, my Art and Art History teacher for all four years of high school. I don’t think I recognized it at the time, but I think she really showed me what it means to be in a flow state. And also the importance of a great playlist in the background of a classroom. She so delicately balanced giving her students personal space and structure.”

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Protagonists
IRT Team

Protagonists: Meg Goldner Rabinowitz

“…when I think of my noble intention in life — justice and compassion. My wish for this world is that the concepts of justice and compassion would become that concepts that are most highly valued, and that any decision that we make would be rooted in them.”

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Protagonists
IRT Team

Protagonists: Reanna Ursin

“I hope we see schools embracing more opportunities for students to learn with the things that are around them, with the things that interest them. We’re going to see things become flexible and leave room for student creativity. It’s going to push us to reconsider the models we’ve been working with.”

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