Video Series: Engaging ELLs in Academic Conversations

Sometimes the stars align and you find yourself in the middle of a conversation that lots of people are having at once! Following our recent series on using Socratic seminars with English language learners to build oral language skills, we learned about an exciting new video series from the Teaching Channel focused on academic conversations with ELLs featuring…you guessed it!  A Socratic seminar.

In this particular video, high school ELLs share reflections on their senior project and manage the seminar themselves.

The series, created in partnership with Oakland Unified School District, highlights three classrooms where ELLs are engaged in academic conversations. The work is based on Jeff Zwiers and Marie Crawford's book Academic Conversations, and it shows how the teachers got the students to where they are – articulately, confidently, and independently engaging in discussion with their peers and teachers.

The videos are accompanied by three related blog posts that pull out specific strategies, activities, and approaches for supporting oral language skills, full of practical ideas that teachers will find useful:

Other elements included in the posts and alongside the videos are recommended resources, discussion questions, and supporting materials.

For additional information about ELLs' oral language development, take a look at our related Colorín Colorado resource section. And while we're on the subject of Socrates, you may be interested in this recent NPR feature, 50 Great Teachers: Socrates, The Ancient World's Teaching Superstar. It seems like everyone is talking about Socrates these days!

What caught your attention in the videos? Have you tried Socratic seminars with your students? We'd love to hear more!

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