Academic Dialogue: Taking it to the next level

“The world increasingly relies on people to work together to collaboratively solve problems.” - Dan St. Louis, Principal of University Park Campus School.

Dan St. Louis’s statement imparts yet another nuanced case for ensuring structured and scaffolded student-to-student academic dialogue.  Lucky for us, University Park Campus School is spotlighted in today’s video!

Last week, we examined directly teaching “talk moves” in order to provide students with an academic discussion framework.   Today’s installment, “Teaching Group Work:  Building Student Collaboration and Agency,” provides a more complex method for not only stimulating academic dialogue, but also for creating truly interdependent, problem-solving group work.

This Edutopia video includes a detailed explanation of the school’s seven-step process for “building student collaboration and agency.”

The seven-steps employed by the school are:  

Help Students Experience Group Work Through Warm-up Activities

Share How People Learn in Different Ways

Build Comfort Around Speaking in a Group

Give Students Roles

Create a Strong Group-Work ProgramGroup Students by Their Complementary Strengths

Assess Group Work

As you view the video, you might think about:

Why are Steps 1-3 important to laying the foundation for successful collaborative learning?

How can teachers use Steps 4-7 to strategically meet individual learners’ needs? (Hint: Take a close look at Step 6).

Bonus alert:  Hyperlinks to nifty resources appear throughout and at the end of article.   You definitely won’t want to skip either the video or the article!