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Dynamic Classroom Interactions for Multilingual Learners

Designing dynamic classroom interaction allow teachers to design lessons that meet the individual instructional and proficiency levels of their multilingual learners. The role of the teacher shifts to one of creating a variety of interactions between teacher and students and students with students. Throughout a lesson, short bursts of opportunities are provided for students to frequently interact with one another through intentionally planned interactions.


Teachers create these opportunities by arranging students in small groups, pairs, or triads. Creating structured ways for the students to interact allows students to have the time necessary to learn the target language and the key vocabulary and key content concepts.  When teachers create meaningful activities in small groups, students are often more willing to participate and try using the language and content together.  Teachers develop an awareness and appreciation of the background knowledge that students bring to their classroom, create opportunities for students to engage in conversations that promote higher-level thinking and allow time for students to synthesize their new learning with their past learning.


Teachers need to be willing to experiment with activities that teach students how to work together.  One activity might be Talking Chips; with a mat and chips, students are guided by the teacher with open-ended statements or questions for students to answer and learn to take turns talking and asking questions. After students have mastery of the strategy it is time to bring in interactive activities that work with the lesson being taught.  Interactions like these can be oral, but they are able to be done with activities like dialogue journals, round robin writing, and response logs.


Teachers can assess students in a variety of settings while they check for mastery in the domains of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Rubrics may be used to access at the beginning, middle and end of a lesson for mastery of the key vocabulary and key content concepts taught. With multiple well-planned interactions students can tackle and succeed in learning the target language, while mastering content of their grade level.  Designing dynamic classroom interactions creates a win-win situation for both the teacher and students.


Register today for Maria’s free webinar, Designing Dynamic Classroom Interactions for Multilingual Learners, on May 17th at 5pm EST.


By Ruth McMullen and Maria Cieslak, Center for Applied Linguistics


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