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Quality Student Interactions: Why Are They Crucial to Language Learning and How Can We Support Them?

By Elsa Billings, Peggy Mueller


Embedded within today’s college- and career-readiness standards are increased demands that students gain deeper understandings of content, engage in analytic and complex thinking about that content, and engage in dialogue that is appropriate to the discipline.

These three arenas of development — conceptual, analytical, and linguistic — grow simultaneously through participation in social interaction. Thus, it is essential that all students, especially English language learners (ELLs) and multilingual learners (MLLs), are provided instructional activities that engage them in quality interactions that support their conceptual, analytic, and linguistic development, and promote their ability to apply these skills and practices on their own.

Written by Elsa Billings of WestEd’s Quality Teaching for English Learners, this brief answers the following questions:

  • Why is social interaction essential in learning language and the disciplines?
  • What constitutes “quality student interaction” and how do we make that happen?
  • How do educators go beyond the expert-novice student interaction?
  • How can educators create spaces for quality student interactions in the classroom?

Download other briefs in this series published by the New York State Education Department:

Resource Details

Product Information

Copyright: 2017
Format: PDF
Pages: 6
Publisher: New York State Education Department