Academic Talk Part 1

Hello friends,

This is the first part of a 2- part series on teaching academic talk.  Hope you like it!  Let me know how you teach academic talk below in the comments!

What is Academic Talk?

Have you ever been in a situation where you wanted your students, especially your English learners, to have academic conversations, but they just weren’t doing it? I have struggled with this, and I found a few strategies that helped. Keep reading to find out what worked for me!

I’ve always been a big believer in critical thinking and content understanding in students. I want my students to be able to think for themselves and to have a deep understanding of the content I am teaching them. I wanted my students to master academic conversations and academic vocabulary.

What is academic talk?

You know, the kind of discussions that are fueled by evidence and sound reasoning? That is academic talk.

Do I need to teach it?

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When I started looking into academic talk, I quickly realized that it was way too much for my students to handle. They were still working on simply completing their assignments accurately and on time. So, instead, I started teaching them how to have a conversation.

First, we discussed topics that interested them and used examples from movies and books we were reading in class.

Slowly, but surely, they began to develop the skills they need for more substantive conversations – both in and out of the classroom. If you’re looking for ways to help your students develop better conversation skills, keep these tips in mind.

Time to Practice Academic Conversation

  • Practicing what you brainstormed
  • Recording students and having them listen and watch themselves
  • Offer short, daily structured academic conversation activities that are fun and engaging. 

Don’t forget:

Create an informal environment for students to perfect the art of classroom academic conversations. 

Want to learn more about teaching academic conversation starters?  Check-in with us next week for Part 2 of Academic Talk.

Let’s Teach!


Happy Teaching!

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