Build a Culture of Meaningful Academic Discourse

Ryan Ingram
Jan 26, 2018 · 3 min read
Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

The effective facilitation of academic discourse is challenging because it requires educators to teach their students a skill set that is complex and varied. If students are going to be prepared for college and career, they must be able to effectively read, write, and verbally exchange subject-specific information at every grade level. That requires teachers to ask themselves complex questions as they design instruction like…

  • What opportunities for academic dialogue and writing exist within the content area that I am designing instruction for?
  • What specific academic language skills do I need to teach alongside my content objectives?
  • What supports do my students need if they are to effectively engage in the academic language goals embedded within this lesson?

Goalbook Pathways supports teachers with designing discourse rich instruction through our language standards and by explicitly embedding language skills across all content areas. This means teachers can design explicit instruction and authentic student practice that pushes students to engage in rigorous dialogue, debate, and writing in all content areas.

Just a few of the strategies, resources, and instructional scaffolds available in Pathways for teachers to build discourse rich classrooms.

Explicit Instruction

Explicit instruction is crucial to building an environment of academically rich discourse. Teachers must model the discussion habits they want to see.

The language standards within Pathways directly address the demands of creating discourse rich classroom spaces in three key areas: Grammar & Usage Conventions, Writing Conventions, and Vocabulary Acquisition & Use.They help teachers design explicit instruction that lays the foundation for rigorous writing and classroom discussion.

We also have instructional scaffolds that strategically support students with the nuts and bolts of language instruction like academic vocabulary acquisition:

Authentic Practice

In order for the explicit instruction around vocabulary and language skills to stick, students must engage with the vocabulary and skills in real contexts with their peers. Our strategies take best practices for building discourse rich classrooms and makes them understandable and actionable for teachers:

Academic Language Embedded Across All Content Areas

Every content area and every grade level in Goalbook Pathways is embedded with activities that require students to read, write, and think in ways that establish a common language and build the skills students need to effectively engage in academic discourse. The tasks that students work on are language rich and require them to engage in higher order thinking.

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Innovating Instruction

Innovating Instruction features stories of instructional practice and design from Goalbook's 500+ district and school partners across the country.

Ryan Ingram

Written by

Engagement @Goalbook making meaningful connections between quality teaching and genuine learning.

Innovating Instruction

Innovating Instruction features stories of instructional practice and design from Goalbook's 500+ district and school partners across the country.

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