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Jeff Zwiers is a senior researcher at the Stanford Graduate School of Education and the Director of Professional Development for Understanding Language, a research and professional learning project focused on improving instruction and assessment of all students, with an extra emphasis on serving the needs of linguistically and culturally diverse learners.

Zwiers is a consultant for national and international teacher development projects that promote language, literacy, lesson design and formative assessment practices. His current research focuses on developing classroom instruction that fosters rich communication and productive academic conversations across disciplines and grade levels. He continues his work with schools, districts, counties and states on his focused areas of research.

Valentina Gonzalez is an educational consultant and a content creator for Seidlitz Education. She is also a longtime educator serving emergent bilingual students and their families from around the globe. Her personal experience as an immigrant from Yugoslavia and language learner fuel her desire to advocate for multilingual children and support teachers with the best research-based teaching methods.  

Valentina leads engaging professional learning opportunities and coaches teachers on effective sheltered instruction strategies. She also creates highly sought after infographics and resources to support educators of multilingual students. Her work’s primary focuses have been on literacy, culture and language. 

Jeff Zwiers Session Descriptions

From Pseudo-Communication to Authentic Communication in Every Lesson  
Discover the need and power of fostering authentic communication in every activity in every lesson. By creating purposeful (full of purpose) learning experiences that motivate students to clarify and support their ideas, they tend to learn language, content and skills much more effectively.

Breakout Session:
Preparing Students for Academic Conversations with Structured Interactions
Explore several oral communication activities that participants can use the next day in their lessons. Activities include classroom video analysis along with experiencing and reflecting on instructional routines. Learn how these can be used to provide students with the content and skills they need for extended back-and-forth conversations with others.

Breakout Session:
Scaffolding Academic Conversations
Discover different strategies for improving the quantity and quality of student conversations in the classroom (and beyond). Engage in conversation activities and analyze video clips and conversations in order to identify students’ success points and areas of improvement to get the most out of talking with others in pairs, small group, and whole class discussions.

Valentina Gonzalez Session Descriptions

Designing Equitable Literacy Landscapes for MLs
Teaching is extremely rewarding while at the same time challenging. Teaching multilingual learners may be one of the most rewarding careers in education. We have an important role as advocates and as leaders. The recent state of the world and unprecedented global pandemic have brought to the surface many inequities that affect multilingual learners and their families. Discover ideas for centering multilingual learners to embrace diversity and ensure equity in educational practices.

Breakout Session:
Assets Based Lesson Planning with MLs at the Heart and Mind
Explore practical techniques teachers of MLs can use to embrace and honor cultures and languages even when we don’t speak the languages our students do. Examine powerful instructional practices that maximize the linguistic and cultural strengths of our multilingual learners possess.