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Stanford University

Using Communication-Focused Activities in Designated English Language Development Lessons

Stanford University via NovoEd

This course may be unavailable.


English language development (a.k.a. English as a Second Language; English as a New Language, "Designated ELD," Focused Language Study) takes a variety of forms in present-day schools. In many schools, teachers teach ELD for a set amount of time (e.g., 30 minutes) a day. Other ELD/ESL teachers have multiple classes each day. In many cases, teachers emphasize grammar and vocabulary. However, the grammar and vocabulary route isn't the most effective for lasting and engaging language learning.. Language was created to get things done, to communicate—and this is how students best learn it. This is where this MOOC starts. It focuses on how to design and teach activities that are saturated with communication, and, where needed, strategically develop grammar and vocabulary to support communication.

Each session presents the focal area to work on for the following month (e.g., listening and watching, reading and viewing, writing/multimedia output, speaking, writing, and conversation), along with model activities and lessons that emphasize the focus, analyses of the models and non-models, lessons to be strengthened by participants, and a sample "expert" modifications of lessons. Whenever possible, we include samples of activities from two levels: beginning and intermediate.


Session 1 – Course Overview & Communication-Focused Listening & Watching (October 1 - October 21)

Session 2 – Communication-Focused Reading & Viewing (October 21 - November 11)

Session 3 – Communication-Focused Speaking (November 12 - December 9)

Session 4 – Communication-Focused Writing (December 10 - December 28)

Session 5 – Communication-Focused Conversations (December 29 - January 20)

Taught by

Elsa Billings and Jeff Zwiers


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