Join Us to Establish a Culture of Constructive Conversations in the Classroom!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

New College-and-Career-Readiness 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 August 2, Professor Kenji Hakuta and Drs. Jeff Zwiers and Sara Rutherford-Quach at Stanford Graduate School of Education will offer a short online professional development course, Effective Conversation in the Classroom: Preparing for Rich Talk in Every Lesson, to help teachers prepare for teaching students to have in-depth conversations about content area concepts and topics.

The first month of school is a vital time for establishing norms, building participation structures, preparing lessons, and fostering a culture of productive and respectful communication. This course will provide you with clear explanations, examples, and rationales for establishing constructive classroom conversations from the get go, when it counts the most.

This course consists of three online sessions, three weeks in a row. 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 the first month of school. You will learn to:

  • model and build activities for cultivating constructive classroom conversations;
  • create conversational opportunities within a lesson and craft effective;
  • and set up an assessment plan and reflect on it to improve learning and teaching.

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/SCALE project, which focuses on language, assessment, and equity issues across a range of educational settings. Thousands of educators, many of whom are repeat offenders (in the positive sense of the term), have participated in these professional development courses. Comments such as these ones are common:

I find that I am listening to students' conversations more closely and am also thinking more carefully about prompts I use for student conversations. I see the value of paired conversations and now know ways to analyze them and to then scaffold for the skills I want students to learn and master.

I already think longer and harder about how my question to the students will be constructed and the pre-teaching that will be required in order for the students to be prepared and able to have a constructive conversation.
Overall, I thought the experience was one of the most enriching I've had.  It was well organized, and the assignments really pushed me to put what I was learning into practice.  I'm looking forward to taking what I've learned and practiced school-wide next year. This is a boxed text block. You can use it to draw attention to important content.

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. The course runs from August 2 to August 22. Registration is currently open. We look forward to working with you this summer!