This course will teach you how to recognize, facilitate, and use constructive conversations effectively in the middle school classroom.
About This Course
The College and Career Readiness Standards for English ELA and
Mathematics emphasize improving the quality of student-to-student discourse as
a major feature of instruction. The new standards specifically describe the
importance of students understanding the reasoning of others and engaging in
meaningful conversations using evidence for claims. Yet this type of
student-to-student discourse tends to be rare in classrooms. Common classroom
activities, such as whole class discussions, jigsaws, and think-pair-shares, can
have the appearance of constructive interactions, but they often do not provide
adequate opportunities for all students to engage in academically rich,
This short course looks closely at student-to-student
discourse and addresses how to facilitate student engagement in the types of
interactions required by the new standards. It organizes a massive
collaboration of educators who wish to support students, particularly English
Language Learners, to co-create and build upon each other’s ideas as they
interact with the content. Starting with the notion that in order to improve
the quality of student discourse, educators need to listen closely to existing
talk, the course asks participants to gather, analyze, and share examples of student
conversations from their classrooms. The overall goal is for participating
educators to better understand student-to-student classroom discourse and use what
they learn to facilitate higher quality interactions that build disciplinary
knowledge and skills.
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WAYS TO TAKE THIS COURSE
Simply Audit this Course
Can't commit to all of the lectures, assignments, and tests? Audit this course and have complete access to all of the course material, tests, people, portfolios, and the online discussion forum. You decide what and how much you want to do.
Try for a Certificate
Looking to test your mettle? Participate in all of the course's activities (we use the honor code around here) and if your work meets the 85% requirements, you'll receive a personalized certificate to showcase your achievement. You can also apply for course credit (if desired).
Lee L. Jacks Professor of Education, Stanford University
Kenji Hakuta is the Lee L. Jacks Professor of Education at Stanford University. He has been at Stanford since 1989, except for three years when he left to serve the new University of California at Merced as its Founding Dean of the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts. He received his Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from Harvard University, and began his career as a developmental psycholinguist at Yale University. He is the author of many research papers and books on language, bilingualism and education, including Mirror of Language: The Debate on Bilingualism. Hakuta is active in education policy. He has testified to Congress and courts on language policy, the education of language minority students, affirmative action in higher education, and improvement of quality in educational research.
Lecturer in the Stanford Graduate School of Education
Sara Rutherford-Quach is the Director of Academic Programs & Research for Understanding Language and a Lecturer in the Stanford Graduate School of Education. A former bilingual elementary teacher, Sara has more than 13 years of experience working with linguistically diverse students and their teachers and has conducted extensive research on instructional practices for English learners. Sara was previously awarded a National Academy of Education Spencer Foundation Dissertation Fellowship for her work on the role of silence and speech in an elementary classroom serving language-minority students. Her areas of interest include classroom discourse and interaction analysis; language, culture, and instruction in multilingual and multicultural educational environments; institutional, policy and curricular change; and educational equity.
Learners enrolling in this online course should currently work as classroom teachers or have access to students in order to successfully participate in coursework and complete practical application assignments.
Senior Researcher in the Stanford Graduate School of
Jeff Zwiers is a senior researcher at the Stanford Graduate
School of Education and director of professional development for the
Understanding Language Initiative, a research and professional learning project
focused on improving the education of academic English learners. He has
consulted for national and international teacher development projects and has
published articles and books on literacy, cognition, discourse, and academic
language. His current research focuses on improving professional learning models
and developing classroom instruction that fosters high-quality oral language
and constructive conversations across disciplines.