A Research-based Instructional Practice

The EdCafe model is founded in research-based practices. Below, you’ll find notes taken from various research studies, book chapters, and literature on peer discussion, collaborative learning, and intentional classroom scaffolding.

Comprehension: High-Level Talk and Writing about Texts.

Keli Garas-York, Lynne E. Shanahan, and Janice F. Almasi

  • “Discussion-based instructional activities, when coupled with high academic demands, foster higher levels of literacy performance” (p. 246).
  • Discussions help students perform at deeper understandings both for literal and inferential comprehension (p. 246)
  • Teacher-led discussions tend to “take on an evaluative tone in which there are correct answers that lead to one interpretation of the text… [and] when the focus on discussion is on such questions and answers, students focus on literal readings of texts rather than critical, higher-level, or interpretive readings” (p. 247).
  • “Social learning environments, such as peer discussions, allow learners to observe and interact with more knowledgable others as they engage in thought processes they may not be able to engage in on their own” (p.249).
  • Learning and intellectual growth occur in social situations (p. 249)
  • When teachers provide targeted short-term supports in the context of long-term scaffolding, students develop deeper comprehension as well as internalize literacy independence (p. 250-251)
  • On incorporating written notes: “Researchers have documented that if students across the grade levels engage in both types of response experiences (i.e., writing and oral discussion) with modeling, scaffolding, and purposeful selection of prompts from their teacher, students increase their comprehension, connection to text, and development of metacognitive skills” (p. 256).
  • Teachers need to develop accountability procedures in the context of their classroom – implementing others’ doesn’t work well (p. 257)
  • Questions for reflection (EdCafe planning might incorporate students in answering these metacognitive questions):  (p.271)
    • To what extent do I, or teachers I have observed, model and scaffold the social norms for face-to-face and online discussion?
    • To what extent do I, or teachers I have observed, model high-quality responses?
    • To what extent do I, or teachers I have observed, guide or scaffold students to a deeper thinking around the text?
Garas-York, K., Shanahan, L. E., Almasi, J. F. (2013). Comprehension: High-level talk and writing about texts. In B. M. Taylor & N. K. Duke (Eds.), Handbook of Effective Literacy Instruction: Research-Based Practice K-8. Guilford Press. pp. 246-278.

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