January 7, 2015
In his popular book ” Situated Language and Learning: A Critique of Traditional Schooling” James Gee argues that the academic language (or variety to use his own terminology) that students are introduced to early on in schools accounts for much of the literacy problems facing them. According to Gee, the fourth grade slump is a direct result of the transition from learning to read (phonetic and phonemic awareness) to reading to learn. The reading development of some kids , especially those coming from a lower socioeconomic environment, is slow due mainly to the problem of language. Even adults in higher education have problems with academic language, or to be more specific with the writing of academic language.
One way to help students overcome this linguistic problem is by getting them to extensively practice academic language both in written and oral form. Identifying complex and commonly used academic words and phrases and explicitly explaining them to students is also helpful in this direction. In an earlier post I shared here, I featured a list of some useful academic phrases endemic to research papers and scholarly publications that student researchers can use in their writings. Today, I am sharing with you another equally important list of academic vocabulary compiled by Jim Burke. This list is available in both students version ( can be used as poster in class) and teachers version. You can access and download the list from this link.