On Sentence Stems

I’ve got a love-hate relationship with sentence stems in the classroom. I understand their role with cognitively complex ideas and activities like socratic seminars, meta-cognition, and reflective tasks. I also think they are used as a crutch rather thank making thinking visible. We can discus that these tasks or ideas are difficult for anyone to put into words and require deep thought. They can’t really be boiled down to a few words put at the beginning or end of each sentence you say. No discussion or conversation ever sounded natural or professional or authentic when everyone in the room was speaking using sentence stems. I’ve yet to work on a project at the college leveled or any job where sentence stems were effectively employed.

What are some other ways to guide people into deeper conversations and more metacognitive thought without using sentence stems?

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