Teaching English Learners with Academic Conversations (EL-105)

Using academic conversations to motivate students and foster engagement

✔ ESL, all content areas, instructional coaches
✔ Elementary & middle school
✔ 15 PDPs in English Learner Education


Academic conversations motivate students and foster engagement. In this course, teachers in diverse settings will build on students' strengths through paired academic conversations. English language learners especially benefit from this approach because they learn to use language as a tool to share ideas, defend opinions, and make connections with others. Participants will investigate five core communication skills: paraphrase, elaborate, support ideas with examples, build on and/or challenge ideas, and synthesize conversation points. This course will provide practical activities for working on each conversation skill and ideas for using conversations to teach and assess content. 

Required texts: The K-3 Guide to Academic Conversations: Practices, Scaffolds, and Activities (Zwiers & Hamerla) OR Academic Conversations: Classroom Talk that Fosters Critical Thinking and Content Understanding (Zwiers & Crawford)


Any ESL and/or elementary and middle school educators or coaches and their supervisors

Course Schedule & Registration

View Schedule and Register Online


Online Format

2 synchronous online sessions plus 3 asynchronous independent work modules (15 hours)

A hybrid format with in-person sessions is available for in-district courses only.


15 PDPs - Fulfills Requirement for 15 PDPs in English learner education for recertification.


Payment & Refund Policies

See MATSOL Course Registration & Payment Policies. Cancellations must be received in writing 10 business days before the first class meeting.