Overview

Talking with others is a powerful way to learn. In Academic Conversations, students explore ideas and negotiate meanings to deepen understandings and connections. While this strategy cultivates a range of thinking and language skills, it emphasizes the development of five conversation skills across disciplines:

  • Elaborating, clarifying, and questioning
  • Supporting ideas with examples and evidence
  • Paraphrasing
  • Building on ideas
  • Synthesizing key ideas of the conversation

Developing these skills helps students to fortify their academic language, critical thinking skills, content understandings, academic writing, and oral communication skills. Moreover, Academic Conversations are also powerful windows for assessing language, learning, and thinking.

For more information, refer to the book Academic Conversations: Classroom talk that fosters critical thinking across disciplines by Zwiers, J., & Crawford, M. (2011). Stenhouse.

Five Core Academic Conversation Skills

Academic Conversations Across Disciplines

Academic Conversation Assessment


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