The Language of Learning

(Adapted from the book by Margaret Berry Wilson)


How to Speak with Confidence
● Sit up straight
● Look at the listeners
● Speak loudly enough to be heard


How to Be a Great Listener
● Voices off
● Eyes on speaker
● Body calm, facing speaker
● Give speaker your whole attention
● Pay attention to the speaker’s words (main topic), tone (emotions being expressed), and body language (what the speaker’s body is telling you about what she/he is feeling)


How to Encourage a Speaker
● Lean forward
● Nod or smile
● Show understanding
● Laugh quietly at the funny parts


How to Take Turns With a Partner or in a Small Group
● Sit close and facing your partner.
● Be brief--share one or two ideas
● Listen to others speak
● Wait to add more until everyone has had a turn to
speak


Please use the following sentence frames while you speak to incorporate strong academic language structures into your natural vocabulary and deepen the level of intellectual discussion in an academic setting.


How to Express Your Opinion
●“I believe that… ”
●“In my opinion… ”
●“I feel that… ”
●“To me, it seems obvious that… ”


How to Agree Thoughtfully
●“I agree with __________ because...”
●“I think __________ is right because...”
●“I found what __________ said convincing because...”


Signal to Your Partner That It’s His or Her Turn

●“OK, your turn.”
●“What do you think?”
●“Would you like to go first?”
●“I want to hear your ideas.”


Finished Speaking?
●“I’m finished for now.”
●“I have more to say, but I want to hear your ideas
before we run out of time.”


Check In To Make Sure Your Partner Is Finished

●“May I take my turn now?”
●“Do you have any other ideas?”
●“Was that all you wanted to say?”


How to Clarify Another's Ideas
●“__________could you please rephrase that?”
●“I did not understand . __________, could you
repeat that, please?”
●“I did not understand..., do you mean… ?” (Here
you rephrase what you think the group member said
and wait for clarification.)
●“It’s not quite clear. Can you explain what you said
about… ?”
●“Can you say more about that?”
●“In other words, are you saying… ?”
●“I have a question about… ” (State your question.)


Changing the Subject
●“Moving on to… ”
●“Does anyone have any final comments to add
about… , or shall we move on to a new subject?”


Continuing When Interrupted
●“As I was saying…” (Continue your thought.)


Affirming an Idea and Adding to It
●“I really liked__________’s idea about… ”
●“I agree with__________. Also, … ”
●“My idea builds on__________’s idea. I… ”


Presenting a Different Angle on a Subject
●“While I can see why you believe this, I see this
differently. In my opinion… ”
●“That’s a valid point, but I feel…”
●“On the other hand, … ”
●“I do agree with the part about…,  but… ”

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