Learning Academic Language: We're All Teachers, Or Should Be

JoAnn (Jodi) Crandall
University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Children come to school with rich and diverse experiences, but it is in school that they learn the academic language they will need for academic success. While there are a number of specialists who can help with children's language and literacy development, the majority of a child's time is spent in the regular classroom, and a major responsibility of all teachers is to help children navigate the world of academic texts, tasks, and tests--all of which involve academic language. This talk explores a number of instructional strategies that teachers can use to help learners acquire academic language as they work with math, science, or other content in their classrooms. It will draw upon the work of Jim Cummins, Merrill Swain, and others to provide a way of thinking about the role of academic language in conceptual learning, and will offer guidelines for making instruction accessible and engaging for all learners.

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