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Common Core and ELLs Are Focus of New Online Course

Kenji Hakuta, a Stanford University professor and co-director of the Understanding Language initiative, will join two of his colleagues to offer a free, online course later this fall that will focus on the language demands of the Common Core State Standards.

The free series, called Constructive Classroom Conversations—a massive online open course, or MOOC—will be taught by Hakuta and two other Stanford colleagues who are language experts. The MOOC, which will run from Oct. 21 through Dec. 9, will zero in on how educators can promote and support student-to-student academic discourse, especially in classrooms where all students are not proficient in English.

ELLs are often the least likely of students to engage in academic conversations with their peers during classroom instruction, but that must shift in the transition to the new standards, experts like Hakuta say.

The MOOC consists of four sessions with two or three weeks between each. The course is meant for participants who teach or have access to classrooms in which they can gather samples of students' conversation during lessons. Prospective participants can sign up through the Stanford website.

This is the latest resource for educators from the Understanding Language initiative, which is based at Stanford. The initiative is being led by a group of ELL experts who are developing an array of open-source resources on the common core and English-learners.

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