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Teaching Academic Language in L2 Secondary Settings

  • Mary J. Schleppegrell and Catherine L. O'Hallaron
Abstract

Research on instruction in academic language in second language (L2) secondary settings is currently emerging as a focus in applied linguistics. Academic language refers to the disciplinary registers that students encounter in the secondary years, and using academic language calls for advanced proficiency in complex language across subject areas, posing challenges for teacher preparation. In this article we summarize recommendations from syntheses of research on adolescent L2 learners and then present reports of recent studies that describe instructional approaches that illuminate the recommended practices in contexts where students who speak languages other than English are learning school subjects in English. Three key instructional dimensions are highlighted: that teachers need knowledge about how language works in their subject areas, that academic language development calls for careful planning across a unit of instruction, and that students need support for engagement in classroom activities that promote the simultaneous learning of language and content. To prepare teachers for this work, secondary teacher education needs to incorporate a focus on language–content relationships in each disciplinary area. More research is needed to better understand and support academic language development, and we call for collaboration and dialogue between educational researchers and applied linguists concerned with these issues.

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Annual Review of Applied Linguistics
  • ISSN: 0267-1905
  • EISSN: 1471-6356
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