Building Academic Language

As students prepare to tackle more complex and complicated subject matter in middle school and high school, it's crucially important that they are able to understand and use language in an academic context. Are your students ready to face this challenge? Do you know how to identify and remediate gaps in language usage?
Teaching Strategies:
Updated on: September 14, 2018

This course from PCG Education shows teachers what they can do to help their students grasp language principles and develop the language skills they’ll need to reach their highest levels of academic achievement. With the adoption of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) by most of the United States, students need help developing their understanding and use of language within the academic context. This is crucially important throughout middle school and high school, as the subjects discussed and concepts taught require a firm grasp of language to understand the complexities of the subject matter.

  • Habits and strategies to best support language development
  • Convenient, flexible online format
  • 45 PD hours or 3 graduate credits
Skills You'll Learn

In this course, you'll learn the foundations of language use in and out of school as well as the functions and features of academic language, how small groups and pairs can be used to build oral academic language, content knowledge, and thinking skills, and how to use assessments and planning to identify thinking and language skills for students to learn before instruction.

Course Overview

Explore the complete syllabus


About the Instructor

Jeff Zwiers, Ed.D., is a senior researcher at Stanford University. He has taught elementary, middle, and high school students in Latin America, Asia, Africa, and the United States. He has taught graduate courses on language development, bilingual education, and content literacy at Stanford University and the University of San Francisco. He works with teachers and schools to promote academic language development, critical thinking, disciplinary literacy, and formative assessment practices.

PCG Education

PCG’s Education practice offers consulting services and technology solutions that help teachers, schools, school districts, and state education agencies/ministries of education to promote student success, improve programs and processes, and optimize resources. PCG offers more than 50 online professional development courses to help teachers improve their skills, grow their careers and more effectively help and support their students.


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