Stanford offering online courses on student discourse

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Stanford University is offering two online courses that emphasize improving the high quality of student-to-student discourse as a major feature of instruction, specifically the importance of students understanding the reasoning of others and engaging in meaningful conversations using evidence for claims.

The short course looks closely at student-to-student conversations and addresses ways to improve students’ abilities to engage in the types of interactions.

These courses consist of four sessions with three weeks between each session in order to provide extra time for application and reflection. The learning relies heavily on participant contributions and comments. The sessions and assignments are designed for participants who teach or have access to classrooms in which they can gather samples of students’ conversation during lessons. Resources and tasks for instructional coaches and others who support teachers and build schoolwide capacity also are included.

Though these courses may not specifically address the arts, teachers may adapt the methods to their specific needs. Several characteristics of the Arts and Humanities and Writing program reviews may be addressed by the courses.

Teachers may take these courses as individuals or as a group. These courses will start on March 6. Please follow the links for more information and to register:

Constructive Classroom Conversations: Mastering Language for the Common Core State Standards (elementary)

Constructive Classroom Conversations: Mastering Language for the Common Core State Standards (secondary)

Other courses focus on English language learner and mathematics skills. Additional courses are being planned for spring 2014 that focus on formative assessment practices using language in the content areas.

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