Skip to main content
Blog > academic language

academic language

Why Teach Academic Language?

Every day in American schools, teachers welcome more students whose first language is something other than English. According to the Pew Research Center, this demographic trend will only grow exponentially in coming years. In fact, Pew estimates up to 93% of our population will come from immigrant populations and their children by the year 2050. What do these numbers mean for schools? Here's the short answer: schools will need better ways to teach language generally, and academic language in particular. Why the importance? When students don't master academic language, they're at greater risk for falling behind or even dropping out of school. The Language of Textbooks Learning to speak, read, and write in English can be challenging enough. But without knowing academic language (e.g., general-instruction words like "summarize," math words like "times" as another way to say "multiplied by," or science words like "hypothesis"), English language learners can quickly fall behind in their progress.
Read More

Share

Language Acquisition and the Mathematics Classroom

A guest post by Linda Hardman President of Linda A. Hardman Consulting, Inc., teacher, and developer of multiple award-winning K12 math products Imagine Learning now publishes monthly guest posts in order to stimulate conversations about K12 education across the country. Opinions expressed herein are those of the individual author and may not necessarily reflect the official opinion of Imagine Learning.   According to the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), the percentage of English language learners (ELL) in US public schools grew in the 2012–2013 school year by 9.2 percent (i.e., 4.4 million students) compared to the prior school year. Additionally, a new Pew Research Center study reported that a near-record 13.9 percent of the US population today is foreign born, with 45 million immigrants residing here. A diverse group of young students Because of these trends, students are significantly challenged to master academic language across the US. The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for mathematics are also placing high demands in mathematics regarding abstract and quantitative reasoning, constructing viable arguments and critiquing the reasoning of others, and looking for/expressing regularity in repeated reasoning. Students and educators are even more challenged with the acquisition of academic language as a tool for mastering conceptual and procedural understanding of mathematical standards and practices. As a result of the increasing amount of ELL students and the challenges presented by the CCSS for mathematics, it is important for students to acquire both academic language skills and mathematical fluency. Moreover, the same essential reading components and first-language supports provided in reading classes also belong in the mathematics classroom.
Read More

Share