By now it’s a given: if we’re to help our ELLs and SELs access the rigorous demands of today’s content standards, we must cultivate the “code” that drives school success: academic language. Look no further for assistance than this much-anticipated series from Ivannia Soto, in which she invites field authorities Jeff Zwiers, David and Yvonne Freeman, Margarita Calderon, and Noma LeMoine to share every teacher’s need-to-know strategies on the four essential components of academic language. The subject of this volume is conversational discourse. Here, Jeff Zwiers reveals the power of academic conversation in helping students develop language, clarify concepts, comprehend complex texts, and fortify thinking and relational skills. With this book as your roadmap, you’ll learn how to: • Foster the skills and language students must develop for productive interactions • Implement strategies for scaffolding paired conversations • Assess student’s oral language development as you go It’s imperative that our ELLs and SELs practice academic language in rich conversations with others in school, especially when our classrooms may be their only opportunities to receive modeling, scaffolding, and feedback focused on effective discourse. This book, in concert with the other three volumes in the series, can provide both a foundation and a framework for accelerating the learning of diverse students across grade levels and disciplines.
Chapter Two: What Research Says About Conversational Discourse
What Research Says About Conversational Discourse
“It is easy to imagine talk in which ideas are explored rather than answers to teachers’ test questions provided and evaluated; in which teachers talk less than the usual two-thirds of the time and students talk correspondingly more; in which students themselves decide when to speak rather than waiting to be called on by the teacher; and in which students address each other directly. Easy to imagine, but not easy to do.” —Courtney Cazden (2001)
Academic language is a lot like an ocean. We have a much better idea of its surface features and the things that swim around near the top, but go a little deeper and things get murky. You can’t clearly ...