"Instructional Conversation" is a methodology recommended for use with culturally and linguistically diverse learners (Tharp, 1997; Tharp & Gallimore; 1991). This instructional strategy is most closely associated with researchers involved with the KEEP Project in Hawaii and the Rough Rocks project in Arizona (see, for example, Au & Jordan, 1981; Jordan, 1981, 1984, 1985, 1995; McCarty, 1989; ) and two Centers at the University of California, the earlier National Center for Research on Cultural Diversity and Second Language Learning and the current Center for Research on Education, Diversity & Excellence (CREDE) (see, for example, Echevarria & McDonough. 1993, 1995; Goldenberg, 1991; Goldenberg & Patthey-Chavez, 1995; Rueda, Goldenberg, & Gallimore, 1992).
According to Cazden (1988, p. 54), instructional conversation is "talk in which ideas are explored rather than answers to teachers' test questions provided and evaluated." Goldenberg provides five critical features of this type of teacher-student interaction:
- It is interesting and engaging.
- It is about an idea or a concept that has meaning and relevance for students.
- It has a focus that, while it may shift as the discussion evolves, remains discernible throughout.
- There is a high level of participation, without undue domination by any one individual, particularly the teacher.
- Student engage in extended discussions -- conversations -- with the teacher and among themselves.
(1991, p. 3)
Au, K. H.-P., & Jordan, C. (1981). Teaching reading to Hawaiian children: Finding a culturally appropriate solution. In H. T. Trueba & G. P. Guthrie & K. H.-P. Au (Eds.), Culture and the bilingual classroom: Studies in classroom ethnography (pp. 139-152). Rowley, Mass: Newbury House.
Echevarria, J., & McDonough, R. (1993). Instructional conversations in special education settings: Issues and accommodations (Educational Practice Report 7). Santa Cruz, CA: The National Center for Research on Cultural Diversity and Second Language Learning, University of California, Santa Cruz.
Echevarria, J., & McDonough, R. (1995). An alternative reading approach: Instructional conversations in a bilingual special education setting. Learning Disabilities Research and Practice, 10(2), 108-119.
Goldenberg, C. (1991). Instructional conversations and their classroom application (Educational Practice Report 2). Santa Cruz, CA: The National Center for Research on Cultural Diversity and Second Language Learning.
Goldenberg, C., & Patthey-Chavez, G. (1995). Discourse processes in instructional conversations: Interactions between teacher and transition readers. Discourse Processes, 19, 57-73.
Jordan, C. (1981). The selection of culturally compatible teaching practices. Educational Perspectives, 20(1), 16-19.
Jordan, C. (1984). Cultural compatibility and the education of ethnic minority children. Educational Research Quarterly, 8(4), 59-71.
Jordan, C. (1985). Translating culture: From ethnographic information to educational program. Anthropology and Education Quarterly, 16, 106-123.
Jordan, C. (1995). Creating cultures of schooling: Historical and conceptual background of the KEEP/Rough Rock collaboration. The Bilingual Research Journal, 19(1), 83-100.
McCarty, T. L. (1989). School as community: The Rough Rock demonstration. Harvard Educational Review, 59(4), 484-503.
Rueda, R., Goldenberg, C., & Gallimore, R. (1992). Rating instructional conversations: A guide (Educational Practice Report 4). Santa Cruz, CA: The National Center for Research on Cultural Diversity and Second Language Learning, University of California, Santa Cruz.
Tharp, R. G. (1997). From at-risk to excellence: Research, theory, and principles for practice (Research Report 1). Santa Cruz, CA: Center for Research on Education, Diversity & Excellence.
Tharp, R., & Gallimore, R. (1991). The instructional conversation: Teaching and learning in social activity (Research Report 2). Santa Cruz, CA: The National Center for Research on Cultural Diversity and Second Language Learning, University of California, Santa Cruz.
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