In ELSF’s Guidelines for Improving English Language Arts Materials for English Learners, the very first guideline (Area of Focus 1.1) places an emphasis on providing
students with “pair or group conversation activities that help students hear and imitate more fluent others as they build their abilities to develop and challenge ideas using evidence-based reasoning.” Multilingual students at all grade levels can benefit in many ways from engaging in productive academic conversations. Particularly when conversing in pairs, students push one another to:
• listen to large amounts of language input from others,
• articulate ideas orally, producing large amounts of output that they “try out” on
• build relationships with other students
• foster their sense of agency and empowerment as they build up academic ideas.