Hawker Brownlow Education

Academic Conversations: Classroom Talk that Fosters Critical Thinking and Content Understanding (eBook)

Author: Jeff Zwiers, Marie Crawford

Availability: In Stock

Code: ESHP6760

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Where would we be without conversation? Throughout history,
conversations have allowed us to see different perspectives build ideas and
solve problems. Conversations, particularly those referred to in this book as
academic conversations, push students to think and learn in lasting ways.
Academic conversations are back-and-forth dialogues in which students focus on
a topic and explore it by building, challenging and negotiating relevant ideas.

Unfortunately, academic conversations are rare in many classrooms.
Talk is often dominated by the teacher and a few students, or it does not
advance beyond short responses to the teacher’s questions. Even certain
teaching approaches and curriculum programs neglect to train students how to
maintain a focused, respectful and thoughtful conversation.

To address these challenges, authors Jeff Zwiers and Marie Crawford
have identified five core communication skills to help students hold productive
academic conversations across content areas. These skills are: elaborating and
clarifying, supporting ideas with evidence, building on and/or challenging
ideas, paraphrasing and synthesising. This book shows teachers how to weave the
cultivation of academic conversation skills and conversations into current
teaching approaches.

More specifically, it describes how to use conversations to build the following: 

  • Academic vocabulary and grammar 

  • Critical thinking skills such as persuasion, interpretation, consideration of multiple perspectives, evaluation and application 

  • Literacy skills such as questioning, predicting, connecting to prior knowledge and summarising 

  • Complex and abstract essential understandings in content areas such as adaptation, human nature, bias, conservation of mass, energy, gravity, irony, democracy, greed and more 

  • An academic classroom environment brimming with respect for others' ideas, equity of voice, engagement and mutual support 

  The ideas in this book stem from many hours of classroom practice,
research and video analysis across year levels and content areas. Readers will
find numerous practical activities for working on each conversation skill,
crafting conversation-worthy tasks, and using conversations to teach and
assess. Academic conversations offers an in-depth approach to helping students
develop into the future parents, teachers and leaders who will collaborate to
build a better world.