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Academic Language

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Effective Practices

Academic Language

PL-3, I-4, I-6



There are many words to choose from for each subject area. Choose the essential vocabulary that students will see often and the words that are crucial for successful interaction with the content.  

Quick Tips

Teachers can use a story, examples, or pictures to explain the term and assist in activating background knowledge. Mix it up by using videos or current events to connect students with the meaning of each term.

It would be beneficial for students to keep an academic vocabulary notebook to keep track of new words to record and refine their meanings.  Using technology as support is also very valuable and can add fun and creativity to learning vocabulary. 


8 Strategies for Teaching Academic Language

Marzano’s 6 Step Process for teaching Vocabulary

Visual Thesaurus

Think Like a Disciplinarian


Other Strategies

Think Like a Disciplinarian

In this variation, students approach the content or task through the perspective of a disciplinarian. The teacher defines and teaches the specialized language, tools, and methods of the specific discipline. The students take on the role of the disciplinarian and apply these to the content they are studying by relating and sharing information as the disciplinarian with others.  Students can role-play using interviews, public service announcements or short talk show skits.