Thursday, June 30, 2011

How to Start Academic Language Responses

What are your thoughts on/experiences with Academic Language? How do you plan on incorporating Academic Language in your own classroom? What types of activities/exercises can you do to build on your students’ home language and help them acquire the skills necessary to be successful in an academic setting?


  1. I think that academic language is an extremely important aspect of teaching and that all teachers should include academic language in their classroom daily. I did my classroom observation last semester in a school where 80% of the students were English Language Learners; with this experience and I learned the importance of using academic language in the classroom (especially for ELL students) in order to give them a better opportunity to understand the material that they had learned. During my classroom observation I learned many strategies to help implement better academic conversations amongst the students within the classroom.
    I plan to incorporate academic language in my own classroom by using a variety of strategies and implementing a variety of activities that help my students improve and incorporate academic language and conversation in the classroom and in their everyday lives. There are many strategies and activities that can be used to incorporate academic language of my students. Some strategies that I have learned and that I will want to use in my own classroom are think-pair-share, word walls, and using pictures/drawings to help the students remember the academic language. Also, when building academic language it is important to give the students an example of something from their everyday lives that they can connect and relate to in order to help them remember the academic language. It is also important to model for your students how to use the academic language in conservations, for them to practice academic conversations amongst each other, and that it is also useful for them to summarize and, or draw a picture about what they have learned to help them remember and get a better understanding of what they learned and help them make their own meaning of the academic language.

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  3. I found this article about academic language and conversations to be very interesting, and my attention was especially draw to the part about a typical lesson and conversation. I like that the article mentioned explicit teaching, and using cards to help teach the language. I am very familiar with explicit teaching because it has been taught and modeled to me through this credential program, and makes a big difference in student’s learning.

    I have experience with academic language through various activities such as writing lesson plans, college classroom exposure, and elementary classroom observations. I was taught academic language was very important in order to assist the students in grasping the concepts of the lesson. But in my own teaching and classroom observations that fact was proven when I witnessed students practice academic language and then have the skills and language to explain what they learned through the lesson. I also have experience with writing academic language terms in advance through my lesson plans, but when I got to the lesson, I have found that I had to do more than just define the words for the students for them to understand them, and be able to properly use the language in an academic conversation. That is where explicit teaching comes into play.

    I plan to use many different strategies to incorporate academic language in my own classroom. I will do things such as use word walls, flash cards, small and whole group discussions, partner talk, and walking around the classroom to listen to my students talk, and monitor their use of academic language.

    In order to help my students be successful in an academic setting I must give them explicit instruction, as well as many opportunities to practice the academic language. They need to be exposed to readings that contain the academic language, as well as participate in activities that allow them to do things such as draw pictures so they understand the language in their own way, and can make sense of it and explain it if asked to do so. I feel strategies such as these will help students be successful in the classroom as well as with academic language.

  4. I apologize for the late response, I should have paid closer attention to the due date.

    Academic language is vital to student development, understanding and learning in the classroom. Through student teaching as well as volunteering in local elementary schools, I have learned the value of incorporating academic language into each lesson in order for students to develop a true understanding of the content and derive meaning. Academic language is difficult for students to process (especially ELL's) without modeling, explicit instruction and practice. I've seen several ELL students struggle to understand academic vocabulary because they were not offered support to help them successfully construct meaning and familiarity with the terms, much less complete the assignment.

    I plan to incorporate academic language in my classroom following the gradual release of responsibility model, cooperative learning and scaffolded instruction. I hope to create a learning environment much like the article, where students are taught to engage in academic conversations about course content. Teaching all students to engage in classroom discussions allows the students to create meaning of the material by learning from their clasmates. Furthermore, students can learn to form connections with the material and other things they've read, seen, learned about etc. as well as connect it to their personal lives. ELL's especially need the opportunity to practice their convesational skills as they develop an understanding of academic language. I plan to differentiate my instruction based on the individual needs of my students and incorporate scaffolded instruction to help students learn academic language. Scaffolding and differentiated instruction could include word banks and graphic organizers such as KWL charts, semantic feature analysis, etc.

  5. I am glad to hear that you all seem to have a good foundation in teaching academic language. This is an extremely important skill that our students need to learn in order to be successful. In today's world, we are often perceived and judged a certain way based on how we communicate. Low income students and ELLs can especially benefit from learning to use and understand academic language. I do a lot of activities with my students where we talk about the difference between their "home language" and their "school language". It is important that we honor who they are but also explain to them the importance of being able to speak in different settings. This article offers some great strategies for teaching academic language. I love the use of the cards to help generate conversation. One thing I have learned throughout my teaching experience is how much students truly benefit from talking to each other. Think-Pair-Share and other partner strategies are a terrific way to give students a safe place to share their ideas and also develop new ones. I look forward to getting to know each of you as teachers this Fall. I hope you are enjoying your summer.

  6. Academic language is easy to teach IN THEORY. The reality is that teachers must be very consciences about how they are delivering AL. For example, to get the most "bang for your buck" infuse the AL instruction within your regular lessons, thinking about AL instruction as a separate lesson is not prudent. Linking academic terminology to terms and phrases that students can easily understand happens all the time in my class. Also, creating an environment that makes students feel safe to ask, "What does obtain mean again Mrs. B?" is important as well. A student asked this today, really.