Developing Academic Language Skills to Support Reading and Writing. Kenna Rodgers February, 2015 IVC Series

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1 Developing Academic Language Skills to Support Reading and Writing Kenna Rodgers February, 2015 IVC Series

2 Academic Language: What is it? the language of school. -Jim Cummins the hidden curriculum of school. -Francis Christie, University of Synedy The language of texts. The language that supports complex though, argumentation, literacy, and successful learning. Lilly Wong-Filmore UC Berkeley the set of words, grammar, and organizational strategies used to describe complex ideas, higher-order thinking, and abstract concepts. Jeff Zwiers, Stanford the language of power. -Robin Scarcella, UC Irvine

3 Why is Academic Language Important? No one is a native Academic English speaker -Leslie Maxwell, Education Week. Oct, 2013

4 Language for School Learning: Academic Language Control over the language of school is a requirement for success in challenging literacy tasks, such as reading textbooks or writing schoolvalued genres across content areas Snow & Uccelli, 2009 Students need to understand how language works in school, yet the linguistic expectations of school based tasks are rarely made explicit Schleppegrell, 2001, 2004

5 Who Are Academic English Learners? Academic language acquisition has previously been considered an issue for instruction of EL students Although learning the language forms valued in school is a challenge for all students, it is especially challenging for those with minimal exposure to and use of such language outside of school Halliday, 2004 Recent studies have shown that academic language and reading comprehension are predictive of each other regardless of ELP. Uccelli, 2013

6 AL in the Core Standards: Language for Achievement The demands of the CCSS have surfaced the reality that many students struggle with the academic language of complex text and argumentative discourse. The Core Standards outline receptive and expressive language demands of each content area. These are the most frequent language functions reflected in the CCSS: Sato et al., 2011 Interpretation, analysis, evaluation, explanation, description, organization, generalization, comparison/contrast, summarization, argumentation, synthesizing, and inferring. Other receptive AE functions highlighted in the vocabulary, language features/grammar, and text structure/ organization. The authors Sato et al., 2011

7 What are these Academic Language skills?

8 Cognitive Skills of AL Functions Sato et al developed a Language Demands Taxonomy to identify the cognitive demands of Academic Language functions

9 Sato, Lagunoff, & Worth 2008

10 Component Parts of AL: A Simplified Version Vocabulary Syntax/Grammar Organization/Discourse

11 Component Parts of AL: A Specific Version Uccelli et al. developed a more specific framework to better implement AL instruction in the classroom This framework includes 6 domains of AL that specify the conditions of vocabulary, syntax, organization, and discourse styles that move toward greater academic language and away from more colloquial language. Because, as Snow and Uccelli (2009) acknowledge, language can be more or less academic that is furnished with fewer or more of the traits that are typical of academic language; we have no basis for postulating a separate category of language that has passed some threshold qualifying it as academic

12

13

14 Everyday vs. Academic Language

15 Word Generation: Example What s the purpose of school you tell me! Well first of all, school is to get your education. [S]o we can learn what the teachers learn[,] so we can be ready for the 8th Read grade. the Because example if we of don t student get [an] education[,] you can t be what you want to be when writing [you] grow and up. identify Secondly non-examples to get us ready so we can make it to the 8th grade ready and prepared[.] of academic [T]hey don t language. want to send Refer [us] to the 8th grade because they like us or the[y] Just feel sorry back for us. to No! Uccelli s [T]hat s not 6 the Domains reason[.] [T]hey of want to prepare AL [us,] if that make is sure helpful we understand the work. When we grow up we also want to get a good job because we are the future leaders of the world. That s [why] we need to work with the function of the school[,] so you [can] show us [how] the world should be.

16 Word Generation: Example 1. Involved style 2. colloquialisms What s the purpose of school you tell me! Well first of all, school is to get your education. [S]o we can learn what the teachers learn[,] so we can be ready for the 8th grade. Because if we don t get [an] education[,] you can t be what you want to be when [you] grow up. 3. redundancy 5. Inconsistent perspecitve taking (you/we/ 4. Simple connectives us) Secondly to get us ready so we can make it to the 8th grade ready and prepared[.] [T]hey don t want to send [us] to the 8th grade because they like us or the[y] Just feel sorry for us. No! [T]hat s not the reason[.] [T]hey want to prepare [us,] make sure we understand the work. When we grow up we also want to get a good job because we are the future leaders of the world. That s [why] we need to work with the function of the school[,] so you [can] show us [how] the world should be.

17 AL Loaded Example Why do we go to school? One prime goal of education Read is to transmit this writing knowledge. sample Another is to enhance students capacities to earn a good living. Some would argue on that the schools same should topic orient that students is towards a set of shared values, in order to facilitate the maintenance loaded of a democratic with state. academic Others contend that schools should help students develop an understanding of the perspectives language. of others, Again, to promote refer social to harmony. Still others think schools should teach students to challenge Uccelli s authority, reject 6 domains received opinion, of AL and think for themselves. Of course, if we accept this last version of what schools to should identify do, then specific we will have to expect that the curriculum will be massively adjusted and classroom activities examples radically altered. of AL. Whereas thinking for themselves is something educators value, students don t always have the license to do so in the classroom.

18 LEXICAL PRECISION lots of abstract/low frequency vocabulary AL Loaded Example Why do we go to school? One prime goal of lexical diversity education is to transmit knowledge. Another is to enhance students capacities to earn DENSE a good INFORMATION living. PA Some CKING would argue that schools should orient elaborate students noun phrases towards a set of shared values, in order to facilitate the modal verbs EXPLICIT TEXT CONNECTIVITY maintenance of a democratic state. Others contend that wide variety of connectives schools pronoun/antecedent should help reference students develop an understanding of the markers perspectives of course of rationale of others, to promote social harmony. Still others think schools should teach STANCE/VIEWPOINT students to detached stance challenge authority, reject received opinion, and think authoritative stance for themselves. Of course, if we accept this last version of what DISCOURSE schools should STRUCTURE do, then we will have to expect that the stepwise curriculum logical argumentation will be massively adjusted and classroom Abstract activities entity as radically agent altered. Whereas thinking (school) for themselves is something educators value, students don t always have the license to do so in the classroom.

19 Support Academic Language Development On the 6 domains graphic organizer, list some strategies and tasks you might use for instruction of each domain. Next examine the Gettysburg Address for academic language. As an exemplar of AL usage, what would you point out to students?

20 Support Academic Language Development Some final thoughts: Consider how to weave discussion, analysis, and use of AL into every class period. Pose AL as a different, but valuable, register for students, but also acknowledge that students less formal language is also valuable. Model the use of AL in your classes, both in speaking and writing. Give students the opportunity to practice frequently!

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