The magic of 30-30-30-10

Normally I shy away from posts like this. Ever since creating TeachFX, teachers have continually asked me what their student talk and teacher talk percentages “should” be. My response is usually something like: “It depends on what your goals are for the class” or “What do *you* think they should be?”

But today I want to go out on a limb and make a suggestion — highly effective classes often have a talk ratio something like this:


Let’s break it down:

  • 15 minutes of Group Talk – Putting students in groups is a powerful way to give *all* your students an opportunity to talk and explore their ideas aloud. Most classes should include a meaningful group activity, even if that activity is something as simple as posing an open-ended question and having groups discuss their responses.
  • 15 minutes of Student Talk – Students need a chance to debrief from their group conversations so they can practice synthesizing and presenting their ideas, and so you and your students have a chance to provide feedback on those ideas. Full class discussions allow students to leverage learning across multiple perspectives. Make time for them in your lesson plans!
  • 15 minutes of Teacher Talk – Anything you’re doing with your full class should be at most 50% you and at least 50% them. Your role in facilitating discussions and guiding students through new concepts is critical. That’s what these 15 minutes, scattered throughout the period, are for.
  • 5 minutes of Silence – Using wait time gets more students involved in the discussion, and it elevates the level of discourse. It even helps students respond to each other’s ideas (Rowe, 1986). So, a good class will have plenty of Wait Time 1 and Wait Time 2.

Teachers of high-achieving students spend about 12.5 fewer minutes talking each class than teachers of low-achieving students (Fisher, 2008). Remarkably, this is also something we observed in our TeachFX pilots; teachers who used the TeachFX tool improved their talk ratio by about the same amount — 12.6 minutes per class (TeachFX, 2017).

This is the magic of the 30-30-30-10 class. It may not be the right goal for everyone in every class, but, in general, it’s a good target to shoot for, and maybe it’s the right goal for you. 🙂

8 reasons why *you* control your TeachFX data

TeachFX is first, last, and always a tool intended to help teachers. To fulfill that mission teachers need to trust that they have 100% control over what happens with their TeachFX class reports. This is why we are fanatical about protecting teacher’s data — because we want to put you in charge of your own professional growth. Here are eight reasons why:

1. Our goal is helping you engage in reflective practice

We believe teachers should be able to use TeachFX to improve their craft without fear of being judged or evaluated. That’s why your TeachFX data is completely private to you. Only you can listen back to your class and see your metrics. No spying, no “gotchas.” Just self reflection and growth.


2. We believe in formative assessment

Educators know how important formative assessments are for kids. But how often are teachers offered formative assessments in their professional learning? It’s pretty darn rare! If we really believe in the power of formative assessment, we should give teachers the opportunity to learn that way as well.

3. Recording a class takes courage

Do I really want to know that my students only talked for 2 minutes of class? Or that I talked 90% of the time? It takes some guts to “look in the mirror,” even when you know that only you can see the results. We want to make that courageous step feel as safe as possible.

4. It’s your data

You create a TeachFX class report through voluntary classroom recording, so it belongs to you. You own that data. Learn more about your rights in our FAQ.

5. You can celebrate your successes

Your classes are a portfolio of your professional work; you should be the one to create that portfolio, to savor those amazing moments of deeper learning, and to build off them as you think about future classes.

6. You can stop playing defense

When I use TeachFX to record my lessons, I know I personally am waaaaay less defensive about the results. If someone starts telling me all the things I did “wrong” in my lesson, I’m going to start defending myself, justifying why I did what I did and explaining why certain things may not have gone as planned. When I look at my TeachFX class reports, however, I don’t need to explain anything to anyone. And that frees me up to really think about things I could’ve done differently, or ideas I have to make my next next lesson even better.

7. Sharing is awesome…when you’re ready

We believe there is great value in sharing class reports with a coach or your teacher team. But only if and when you’re ready for it. And you should be the one deciding which classes you want peer feedback on.

8. It’s high time for a teacher-centered professional learning tool!

Teachers have had enough initiatives imposed upon them. TeachFX is all about putting teachers in the driver’s seat: you lead your own learning and development as a professional.

60% of the time, it works every time


Imagine you’re talking to your friend, who’s on a diet, and he says this:

I’m counting calories, but only on days I eat healthy.

Or maybe your friend who is a softball player tells you:

I only care about my batting average against right-handed pitchers. (I *stink* against lefties!)

Or how about your teacher friend who says this:

I only turn on TeachFX when I have lots of class discussion planned. Why turn it on when I’m doing a lecture, or when the kids are working on a writing exercise?

We hear this a lot from teachers, and I totally get it: every class is unique, and it’s always fun to see your metrics when you have an awesome lesson planned.

But! We really encourage teachers to get in the habit of recording class 3x/week no matter what you have planned — because that’s the best way to get a true sense of what your classroom feels like throughout the year from your *students’* perspective. (Plus, it’s just easier to record on a regular schedule than worrying about when to record and not record.) So, go for it! Set your schedule in the app and make TeachFXing your newest habit. 🙂

Introducing highlights!

If you haven’t noticed it already, TeachFX has a cool new feature: HIGHLIGHTS.


Highlights are portions of your class that had a lot of student talk. More highlights means more moments where students were engaged. You can listen back to your highlights to hear what worked and to build off your successes.


You can also listen back to ensure you got the type of student talk you were hoping for… Are the students on task? Are they using academic language?

Shout out to Annie Oppenheim, a middle school teacher in Richmond, CA and avid TeachFX user, for the awesome idea of adding highlights to class reports! We love the positive vibes that come from celebrating accomplishments, no matter how small. 🙂