Key Ideas from the Theories & Research Driving our Practice:

Here is the primary research we use in synthesizing our pedagogy. We have included quotes or excerpts we found most powerful from each work. In addition to reading through this compilation, we encourage you to read the full articles, follow the authors on social media or otherwise engage in some form with the scholars and teachers who are on the front lines of the innovation of instruction and education for our students.

  1. Aukerman, M. and Schuldt, L., et al. (2017) “What Meaning-Making Means Among Us: The Intercomprehending of Emergent Bilinguals in Small-Group Text Discussions”. Harvard Educational Review Vol. 87 (4) Winter, pp. 482-511.
    1. “Research indicates that many teachers, even those who believe strongly in bilingual education, also adopt such deficit views to the practical detriment of their students (Escamilla, 2001; Aukerman, 2007). At the same time, some teachers and researchers have pushed for a frame shift (e.g., García & Kleifgen, 2010; Gutierrez, Baquedano-López, Alvarez, & Chiu, 1999; Valdés, 2003)” (p 483).
    2. “Some scholars (e.g., García, Makar, Starcevi, & Terry, 2011) have identified a particularly important dimension of translanguaging: students’ ability to use peers as resources to help them communicate their ideas and “make sense of their worlds (García & Leiva, 2014, p. 200)” (p 483).
    3. “[…]textual meaning making is a complex process in which readers build on what they know and what their interests are to make sense of the words and images they encounter” (p 483).
    4. “In the individualized view of meaning making, text discussion is merely a means to an end, a way to get students to do better on individualized comprehension assessments. […] however, we propose that collaborative textual meaning making can and should also be seen as an end in itself. […W]hat if we conceptualized such discussions as groundwork for supporting readers who think and make meaning together? What if we saw reading with other readers in mind as central to the work that both child and adult readers do?” (p. 506).
  1. Aukerman, M. and Schuldt, L. (2017). “Bucking the authoritative script of a mandated curriculum”. Curriculum Inquiry, 47(4), pp.411-437.
    1. “Dialogic teaching represents an orientation toward classroom dialogue that surfaces student ideas, allows students to encounter and dialogue with each other’s ideas, and privileges divergent understandings” (abstract).
  1. Aukerman, M. (September, 2015). “How should readers develop across time? Mapping Change without a deficit perspective”. Language Arts, Volume 93, Number 1, 55-62.
    1. An alternative way of conceptualizing comprehension development is needed for those who care deeply about reading development but seek to avoid a deficit perspective. Such an alternative, I argue, must satisfy three important criteria:
      1. It must honor all student textual sensemaking as a resource (Aukerman, 2013; Lewis, 1993);
      2. It must locate consistent domains of growth in which educators can teach and observe for change across time (Miller & Goodnow, 1995); and
      3. It must replace assumptions about uniformity in reading competence with an emphasis on divergent pathways that signal growth (Dyson, 2002; Rogoff, 1990)” (p 55).
  1. Aukerman, Maren (2013). “Rereading Comprehension Pedagogies: Toward a Dialogic Teaching Ethic that Honors Student Sensemaking”. Dialogic Pedagogy: An International Online Journal.
  1. Dweck, C. (2010). “Mindsets and Equitable Education.” Principal Leadership, 10(5), 26-29.
    1. Intelligence and ability can be developed by various means and with effort (p. 26).
    2. Students with a growth mindset tend to focus on learning, believe in effort, and are resilient in the face of setbacks (26).
    3. Teaching students to have a growth mindset raises their grades and achievement test scores significantly (26).
    4. Having a growth mindset is especially important for students laboring under a negative stereotype about their abilities such as Black or Latino students or girls in math or science classes. Adopting a growth mindset helps students remain engaged and achieve well, even in the face of stereotypes (26).
    5. Teaching a growth mind-set also increased students’ investment in & enjoyment of school (27).
    6. Teacher mindsets are critical, too. When teachers had a fixed mindset, the students who entered their class as low achievers left as low achievers at the end of the year. However, when teachers had a growth mindset, many of the students who began the year as low achievers moved up and became moderate or even high achievers (28).
  1. Erneling, C. E. (1993). Understanding language acquisition: The framework of learning. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.
    1. Learning is not just the “result of interaction between the individual and its physical environment, but necessarily involves the social environment as well” (p. 29)
    2. “Learning is not individual construction, it is social construction” (p. 31).
  1. Erneling, C. E. (2010). Towards discursive education: Philosophy, technology and modern education. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    1. “It is intense social interaction which makes learning motivating, enjoyable, and successful” (p 3).
    2. “By engaging in different types of cultural discourses, the learner becomes a skilled participant” (p. 32)
    3. “Learning is always and fundamentally embedded in specific historical, political, cultural, social, and interpersonal contexts. If we see learning as a dynamic activity, which children and adults engage in together in the context of various external, but socially grounded belief systems, then the focus of education becomes fundamentally different” (p. 155).
  1. Reznitskaya, Alina. “Dialogic Teaching: Rethinking Language Use During Literature Discussions.” The Reading Teacher, vol. 65, no. 7, 2012, pp. 446–456., doi:10.1002/trtr.01066 
    1. “By making their classroom interactions more dialogic, teachers can engage students in a collaborative deliberation of complex questions and support the development of students’ thinking.”
    2. “In a recent carefully executed study of more than 200 American classrooms, the authors concluded that there was “little discussion in any classes in the sense of an open and in-depth exchange…. What most teachers in our study called ‘discussion,’ was, in the words of one teacher, ‘question-answer discussion’—that is, some version of recitation” (Nystrand et al., 2003, p. 178)” (p. 447).
    3. “To advance the group’s inquiry further, teachers in dialogic classrooms provide students with meaningful and specific feedback. They work strategically with student answers, asking for justification, challenging, or prompting for evidence. Students use teachers’ feedback to negotiate and construct new meanings” (p. 447). 
  1. Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. American Psychologist, 55, 68–78.
    1. Feelings of competence will not enhance motivation unless accompanied by a sense of autonomy, or an internal perceived locus of control” (p. 70)
    2. “Choice, acknowledgement of feelings,and opportunities for self-direction were found to enhance intrinsic motivation because they allow people a greater feeling of autonomy” (p. 70)
    3. “Intrinsic motivation is more likely to flourish in contexts characterized by a sense of security and relatedness” (belonging) (p. 71).
    4. Research shows that teachers who are autonomy supportive catalyze in their students greater intrinsic motivation, curiosity, and desire for challenge. Students taught with a more controlling approach lose initiative and learn less effectively. (p. 71)
    5. Relatedness, the need to feel belongingness and connectedness with others is centrally important to internalization (p. 73)

  2. Prather, Liz. Project-Based Writing: Teaching Writers to Manage Time and Clarify Purpose. Heinemann, 2017.
    1. “By adding the tenets and practices of project-based learning, I could simultaneously protect the creative processes of my students while helping them learn to manage long term writing projects, the kind of projects they would be doing in college or in a career.”
  1. Stockman, Angela. Hacking the Writing Workshop: Redesign with Making in Mind. Times 10 Publications, 2018.
    1. “If we want to create future-ready writers who sustain real influence inside a fast-paced and unpredictable world, we must learn how to treat teaching as a learning process and how to make our students our greatest mentors. Traditional writing workshops position teachers as experts who guide the study of common forms. Future-ready writers mix, remix, and create their own, and they invite their teachers and peers to learn beside them.”
  1. Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in Society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
    1. “Even the profoundest thinkers never questioned the assumption; they never entertained the notion that what children can do with the assistance of others might in some sense be more indicative of their mental development than what they can do alone” (p. 85).
  1. Walqui, Aida. (2019). Amplifying the Curriculum: Designing Quality Learning Opportunities for English Learners. Teachers College Press. 
    1. “The shift to amplification, which includes enhancement and elaboration of language and content for English Learners instead of reduction and simplification, is particularly important in light of efforts to strengthen the quality of education available for all students through the “deeper learning” and “21st-century skills” necessary for our complex times. (p. ix)”
    2. “We also argue that English Learners bring all the necessary capabilities to participate in instruction with such goals right now—if units, lessons, and instructional strategies are designed in ways that allow them to leverage their capacity. In other words, it is not the case that English Learners are not “ready” for deep learning, but rather that learning environments as often conceived currently are not ready to maximize English Learners’ potential” (p. x)

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