Academic Language and ELLs

It is no secret that academic language can be difficult for English Language Learners (ELLs) to master. Academic language is a set of words and phrases that are used in specific fields such as math, science, and the humanities. This specialized language can be hard for ELLs to learn because they are already struggling with the basics of the English language. Fortunately, there are several strategies that can be used to help ELLs become proficient in academic language.

One of the best ways to help ELLs learn an academic language is to focus on content-specific vocabulary. This means teaching vocabulary that is specific to a certain subject, such as math or science. Many ELLs will struggle with understanding the definitions of certain words, so it is important to provide multiple examples of each word in context. This will help to give the ELLs a better understanding of the meaning of the word and how it is used in academic language.

Another strategy that can be used is to provide visuals to help explain concepts. This can be done through images, videos, or diagrams. Visuals can be a great way to help ELLs understand concepts that may be difficult to explain in words. Additionally, visuals can help ELLs to make connections between academic language and the real world. This can help to make the language more tangible and easier to remember.

Finally, it is important to provide ELLs with adequate support and scaffolding. This includes modeling, providing extra time for assignments, and breaking down complex tasks into smaller chunks. It is also important to give ELLs the opportunity to practice and apply the academic language they are learning in authentic contexts. This will help to ensure that they are able to use the language in real-world situations.

With the right strategies in place, ELLs can become proficient in academic language. By focusing on content-specific vocabulary, providing visuals, and providing ample support and scaffolding, ELLs can develop the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in the classroom and beyond.

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