The following is a guest blog from Jeff Zwiers, author of the upcoming book, Next Steps with Academic Conversations, the follow-up resource to his popular, Academic Conversations.
Academic conversations are powerful ways to develop students’ content, language, cognition, agency, and socioemotional skills. However, students’ academic conversations vary widely and wildly, as do the teacher strategies for fostering them. Conversations can be short with long turns, long with short turns, shallow, deep, focused, unfocused, etc. For these reasons I have spent the last decade working with teachers on developing a better understanding of classroom conversations and how they can be best cultivated across grade levels and disciplines. I have included a brief synopsis of some of the most salient learnings from this work. (See my Next Steps with Academic Conversations book for a more complete description of these ideas.)