“Constructive Classroom Conversations: Mastering the Language of the Common Core State Standards” is the title of the massive online open course (MOOC) which is being produced by Stanford University’s Understanding Language initiative.
Language Magazine contributor and co-director of the initiative, Kenji Hakuta will teach the MOOC with colleagues Jeff Zwiers and Sara Rutherford-Quach who are language experts, from October 21 through December 9.
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-student classroom discourse and use what they learn to facilitate higher quality interactions that build disciplinary knowledge and skills.
The four main objectives of this course are for participants to:
1/Develop a practical understanding of academically-engaged classroom discourse, with emphasis on what this looks like in linguistically diverse classrooms that are focused on teaching Common Core State Standards;
2/Listen more carefully to student talk and use a discourse analysis tool to analyze student discourse, focusing on how interactions build disciplinary language, knowledge, and skills;
3/ Learn and practice practical teaching strategies for building students’ abilities to engage in constructive face-to-face interactions;
4/ Collaborate with other educators and build professional relationships that result in an online community focused on improving students’ abilities to engage rich academic discourse across disciplines and grade levels.