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ERIC Number: EJ1193793
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018
Pages: 17
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1536-3031
The Complexity of Language and Learning: Deconstructing Teachers' Conceptions of Academic Language
Heineke, Amy; Neugebauer, Sabina Rak
Issues in Teacher Education, v27 n3 p73-89 Fall 2018
"Academic language" is a term that is thrown around frequently in educational circles, particularly in recent years. As a part of a larger study investigating trends in practitioners' efficacy in teaching, using, and supporting academic language in classrooms, the authors honed in on teachers' definitions and corresponding understandings of the term academic language. The authors surveyed 332 teachers spanning 26 schools in the same geographic region of one large, urban public school district. Though the larger study collected both quantitative and qualitative data, this paper focuses on teachers' survey responses to a question asking them to define academic language in their own words. Overall, 84% of coded responses reflected misunderstandings of academic language. Eight categories of conceptions emerged from the data, including academic language as: (1) the language of schools; (2) vocabulary; (3) the opposite of social language; (4) the language of textbooks; (5) prerequisite to learning; (6) the language of teachers; (7) needed primarily for ELs; and (8) only occurring in English. The purpose of this article is to deconstruct these emergent conceptions of academic language. The authors' goal is to encourage teachers, leaders, teacher educators, and other readers to probe their own understandings of academic language. The article is organized by the eight assertions that respond to the emergent conceptions of academic language, presented in order based on the percentage of teachers who responded and reflected that misunderstanding. For each assertion, the authors share study findings and deconstruct the related conception, using examples from social studies education to demonstrate the complexity of academic language in discipline-specific settings.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A