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 Three: Classroom Applications for Conversational Discourse
Classroom Applications for Conversational Discourse
“The more genuine conversation is, the less its conduct lies within the will of either partner. . . . A conversation has a spirit of its own, and the language in which it is conducted bears its own truth within it—i.e., that it allows something to ‘emerge’ which hence forth exists.” —Hans Georg Gadamer (1976)
Our brains thrive on creating ideas with others. Likewise, our ideas thrive when they are fed and challenged by conversation. And as Gadamer’s quotation suggests, good conversations have their own spirits, cultivating ideas that go beyond the sum of what individual partners contribute. Unexpected thinking happens, new ideas emerge and, as a result, new ways of using language. Notice what emerges ...