Discussion routines help
English language learners
gain speaking skills, master
academic content, and take
charge of their learning.
Rhonda Bondie, Laurie Gaughran,
and Akane Zusho
Walk with us into International Community High School in the South Bronx, New York City. Teenagers from Ban- gladesh, El Salvador, Iraq,
and many other countries fill the halls. Most of
these students have low literacy in their native
languages, but in four years, they’re expected to
learn English and 13 years’ worth of content in
subjects they may not have studied before.
Let’s join the algebra classes taught by Adjoua
Kouame and Joel Carillo, where a promising
approach is helping students reach that goal.
When the bell rings, students, without teacher
direction, form groups and engage in English
conversation around yesterday’s lesson on quadratic equations.
There’s a high level of engagement. Students
take turns talking through each problem and