Research

My research focuses on classroom practices, opportunities, and activities that foster language, literacy, cognition, and content understandings. One of the principal models for engaging in classroom research is the use of an inquiry cycle like the one shown on the right.  In my work with a wide range of teachers and schools, several interesting findings have emerged:

  • Students have few opportunities to put their ideas into multi-sentence responses during school lessons.
  • Students often do things because they have to do them for school, not because they are engaged in building and communicating the ideas.
  • There are very few productive back and forth conversations between students; students tend to lack conversation skills to hold conversations.
  • Conversation prompts and tasks need to be overhauled.
  • Effective conversations provide students with lots of language input and output.
  • Communication-based teaching requires: engaging purposes, information gaps, building ideas through  and content to talk about.
  • There are many missed opportunities in content area lessons to develop academic language and literacy.

The ideas, resources, and tools on this site stem from my ongoing research and the findings of many other researchers on classroom language and literacy. Go to the Publications page for more information.