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TXTS 4 Teachers

Academic Dialogue: Talk Moves in Academic Discussions

Marlys WeaverStoesz

It’s October, and the first quarter is about to wrap-up.  You have worked hard to establish collaborative learning structures.  Students are well-versed in procedures such as, “Talk to your shoulder partner.  Jelly goes first.” They are champs in signaling completion of their discussion.  Yet, you feel their conversations are simply repeating what you have already told them.  You are wondering how to move beyond surface-level discussions.

Today’s video is “Talk Moves in Academic Discussions,” which features scaffolds in the form of sentence frames that directly teach students how to engage in an academic conversation.

The video showcases English Language Development students applying the talk moves to their discussion.  Without a doubt, these scaffolds are critical for ELD students in their English language acquisition.  However, providing a framework for discussion benefits all students in developing their expressive language proficiency.

Of course, in the beginning these talk moves may be a bit stilted, but as they are afforded myriad opportunities to apply them, students develop into champion academic conversationalists!