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Resource: Teaching 'Academic Language'


Over at my other blog, Curriculum Matters, I've written about Word Generation: Middle School Literacy Development Using Academic English, a new Web tool with resources for teaching "academic language." That is the words, abstract phrases, and grammatical structures students need to know to understand school subjects. Before I browsed the resources in this tool, frankly, I didn't really realize that it's so important to explicitly teach academic English to all students, not just ELLs.

Word Generation seems to have some rich resources that can help educators to crack the mystery of how they can support students to learn the language of school effectively. The sample videos from actual classrooms are particularly captivating.


Teaching about something such as content is far more important than teaching grammar, vocabulary or another "little point" of the language. Language is for communication and understanding. One has to build concepts and ideas, not deconstruct language and expect that to work. Grammar teaching just like phonics is helpful in small amounts but isn't teaching language. Still, I would check out Stephen Krashen's opinions on teaching Academic Language. He believes that it can't be taught but developed with time and in context. I know even my native speaker homeroom kids often say that they feel their English classes are about "nothing". It seems to be more of a deconstructivist model rather than appreciation for its uses.

what is also important for sutdents, (not only @ the edge of secondary education) is a modern foreing language apart form the academic language which is going to enable to learn the others.

I think that the main question is to arraise an interest in students. In this case they will be succesful in learning.

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