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Engaging ELL students in Academic Conversations

posted Nov 18, 2014, 6:32 AM by sschaef@philasd.org   [ updated Nov 18, 2014, 6:33 AM ]
A video playlist from the Teaching Channel: Watch an overview video of this series.

From these videos, we learn five tips for engaging students in academic conversations:

1. Talk Moves: Middle School English Language Development (ELD) teacher Tamica Groves has her students learn and practice various “talk moves” as a way of engaging in academic conversations. In this video, we see students practicing talk moves like adding on to each others’ responses, asking questions, and agreeing with what others say.

2. Using and Adapting Socratic Seminars: High School ELA teacher Johanna Paraiso has been using the Socratic Seminar format with her students all year long. After holding numerous Socratic Seminars as a way to discuss complex texts, Johannaadapts the format to have students discuss their senior research projects. It’s inspiring to see students reflecting on their performances through discussion with each other.

3. Participation Protocol: Middle School ELA teacher Viet-ly Nguyen uses a participation protocol to structure her students’ discussions. This protocol encourages students to actively listen, add onto each others’ ideas, and cite evidence for their thinking. In this lesson, students read a chapter from the book One Crazy Summer, and then engage in an academic conversation to analyze characters’ actions. The participation protocol helps encourage active participation from every student.

4. Reflecting on Discussions: Using video and scribing helps Johanna Paraiso and her students reflect on their academic conversations. Jo takes video of her students’ discussions and then transcribes what they say. By sharing her videos and notes, students are able to think about how they participated and how they can improve their participation. Jo is also able to use these videos to reflect on her teaching and how it impacted student learning: a win-win!
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