In alignment with its commitment to social justice and diversity, Niagara University hosted “Talk Is Priceless: Improving and Using Academic Interactions to Amplify Learning for ELLS” on Saturday, Oct. 26, in the Russell J. Salvatore Dining Commons. Approximately 75 educators of English Language Learners heard from Jeff Zwiers, Ed.D., a senior researcher at the Stanford Graduate School of Education, who has taught in diverse schools and worked as an instructional coach in urban school settings. His current research and professional development work consists of collaborating with teachers to learn what works best in real classrooms to help students learn through rich interactions and conversations.
The workshop included discussion of three key features of authentic communication for learning (building ideas, clarifying and supporting, filling information gaps) and activities to foster conversation skills that develop academic language, literacy, and content understandings across disciplines. Attendees also received a copy of Zwiers' latest book, "Next Steps with Academic Conversations: New Ideas for Improving Learning Through Classroom Talk," and the opportunity to participate in after-school extended learning throughout the year.