Academic Conversations: Classroom Talk That Fosters Critical Thinking and Content Understandings (英語) ペーパーバック – 2011/9/23
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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 include: elaborating and clarifying, supporting ideas with evidence, building on and/or challenging ideas, paraphrasing, and synthesizing. 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 summarizing
- 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 grade 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.
"This book will dazzle you with its passion and practicality. There are common sense and uncommonly creative ideas for any lesson you're planning for tomorrow's third grade reading group or high school history class." - Yardsticks Blog
"This resource is the single tool you need to help your students create the essential link between thinking, speaking, and writing." - Professionally Speaking
"From critical thinking and literacy skills to building a respectful professional classroom environment, this is packed with basic ideas perfect for any high school to college-level educator." - Midwest Book Review
I particularly like the way they define terms many others use in a vague and general way. They don't even let a word like "evidence," often thrown around but seldom defined, go unexplained and they define it as a "Broad term used for any information that logically supports a hypothesis or perspective." They also offer very good and, again, very specific suggestions for in class exercises, like "quotation negotiation," where the instructor posts a theme or opinion and then distributes different quotations to the class. Students then decide which ones support the stated theme or opinion and which ones don't. LOTS of great ideas here, with equally concrete examples for practice. A must have if you are interested in teaching students to read, write, think, and oh yes, converse in a way that will help them in school or, for that matter, at work. Kudos to the authors.
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