Constructive Classroom Conversations: Improving Student-to-Student Interactions

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Constructive Classroom Conversations: Improving Student-to-Student Interactions

Course Details

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FREE

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Course Provider

Stanford Online online courses
Stanford Lagunita offers a variety of professional education opportunities in conjunction with many of the University’s schools and departments. We also offer an array of free online courses taught by Stanford faculty to lifelong learners worldwide. We foster collaboration with other education organizations by sharing course material, data-driven research, and source code for enhancements to our open-source platform Stanford Lagunita. We continually experiment to improve what we do throu...
Stanford Lagunita offers a variety of professional education opportunities in conjunction with many of the University’s schools and departments. We also offer an array of free online courses taught by Stanford faculty to lifelong learners worldwide. We foster collaboration with other education organizations by sharing course material, data-driven research, and source code for enhancements to our open-source platform Stanford Lagunita. We continually experiment to improve what we do through creative use of technology, and we share what we learn with the rest of the world.

Provider Subject Specialization
Sciences & Technology
393 reviews

Course Description

New College- and Career-Ready standards emphasize the importance of speaking, listening, and conversing not only as a means for learning, but also as a valuable goal of learning. Starting October 3, Professor Kenji Hakuta and Drs. Sara Rutherford-Quach and Jeff Zwiers at Stanford Graduate School of Education once again will offer an online professional development course that focuses on student conversations, Constructive Classroom Conversations: Improving Student-to-Student Interactions. The overall purpose of this course is help teachers prepare students, and particularly language learners, to have in-depth conversations about content area concepts and topics.

This course consists of six online sessions, with two or three weeks devoted to each session. Each session includes expert video screencasts, classroom video clips, readings and resources, and assignments that will prompt participants to strengthen the curricular foundations...

New College- and Career-Ready standards emphasize the importance of speaking, listening, and conversing not only as a means for learning, but also as a valuable goal of learning. Starting October 3, Professor Kenji Hakuta and Drs. Sara Rutherford-Quach and Jeff Zwiers at Stanford Graduate School of Education once again will offer an online professional development course that focuses on student conversations, Constructive Classroom Conversations: Improving Student-to-Student Interactions. The overall purpose of this course is help teachers prepare students, and particularly language learners, to have in-depth conversations about content area concepts and topics.

This course consists of six online sessions, with two or three weeks devoted to each session. Each session includes expert video screencasts, classroom video clips, readings and resources, and assignments that will prompt participants to strengthen the curricular foundations of communication. Participants are free to complete the session tasks at their own pace as long as they finish them within the allotted time. Participants will learn to:

  • listen purposefully in order to assess student-to-student conversations
  • craft effective prompts and create conversational opportunities within a lesson
  • model and build activities for cultivating constructive classroom conversations
  • provide productive feedback to students and make instructional changes to strength conversations

The teaching team has been designing and offering online professional development courses for four years. All three instructors work in Stanford University’s Understanding Language Initiative, which focuses on language, learning, and equity issues across a range of educational settings. Thousands of educators have participated in these professional development courses. Comments such as this are common:

I have already been using the constructive conversation model in my lessons and have plans for many more.  My students […] actually ask when they will get to have a conversation again. They know the difference between just partner share, which is boring to them, and having a conversation. During one conversation, a student actually stated that he felt like an adult the way he was talking about books.  That's when I knew this was really a great tool to improve student speaking, and most of all their thinking. It also allows me access to student thought processes and thus to their knowledge and understanding of what I am teaching.  I made many incorrect assumptions in the past about what students knew; now I can structure a conversation to find out what they really know.

Our experience shows that the most successful MOOC completion rates are achieved when participants collaborate in face-to-face settings between the online sessions, such as in organized professional learning communities or during after-school meetings led by district coaches.

Classroom teachers and instructional coaches from grades K to 12 and in all subject areas are welcome and encouraged to take this course together with their colleagues. We look forward to working with you this fall!

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