Skip to content Skip to navigation

Constructive Classroom Conversations: Mastering Language for College and Career Readiness (Secondary)

Wednesday, October 1, 2014 to Tuesday, January 6, 2015
Go to Course
Course topic: 

The Course

The Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards emphasize improving the quality of student-to-student discourse as a major feature of instruction. The new standards specifically describe the importance of students understanding the reasoning of others and engaging in meaningful conversations using evidence for claims. Yet this type of student-to-student interaction tends to be rare in classrooms. Common classroom teaching activities such as whole class discussions, jigsaws, and think-pair-shares can have the appearance of constructive interactions, but they often do not provide adequate opportunities for all students to engage in back-and-forth dialog. This short course looks closely at student-to-student conversations and addresses ways to improve students' abilities to engage in the types of interactions described in the new standards.

This course consists of four sessions with three weeks between each session in order to provide extra time for application and reflection. The learning in this course relies heavily on participant contributions and comments, especially in the team collaboration setting. The sessions and assignments are designed for participants who teach or have access to classrooms in which they can gather samples of students’ conversation during lessons. Finally, we include resources and tasks for instructional coaches and others who support teachers and build school-wide capacity.
Please note that this is a slightly modified version of a previous course offered in Spring, 2014. This course is targeted towards secondary school teachers.

We hope you will join us on this exciting journey.


In order to participate in the course, you will need to have access to a classroom in which you or the teacher you are observing are able to collect short samples of paired student talk two different times.


1. Will I get a Statement of Accomplishment?

Participants who complete the course requirements will receive a FREE Statement of Accomplishment issued through NovoEd. Please check with your employer as to whether this statement of accomplishment may be used for professional development credit.

Although there is no fee for this course and to receive a statement of accomplishment, if you would like to receive a Record of Completion from Stanford University Graduate School of Education with the approximate number of professional development hours to which the course is equivalent, you may pay a modest fee as well as complete the course requirements. Participants who choose this option with also receive narrative evaluation from instructors on their course performance.

2. How much of the time commitment will this course be?

The course has 4 sessions, each of which is three weeks apart. Studying course materials (lecture videos and readings) takes about 1.5 hours per session; while assignments will take around 6-8 hours per session.

3. Any additional textbooks or software required?


Kenji Hakuta
Jeff Zwiers
Sara Rutherford-Quach

View All Courses

Access learning material from upcoming, self-study, and completed courses...