Strategies for Building ELs' Academic Language

Understanding and using academic language is at the heart of ELs’ language development and mastery of grade-level content. But when tackling a new text or grade-level content topic with your students, it can be challenging to figure out what vocabulary to focus on and how to help ELs make meaning of complex sentences and distinct discourse structures. This course, designed for both ESOL and content teachers, will help!

We’ll explore research-based practices for supporting ELs as they acquire both language and content knowledge. This course is based on Diane Staehr Fenner and Sydney Snyder’s best selling book Unlocking English Learners’ Potential: Strategies for Making Content Accessible. Course facilitators from the SupportEd team will collaborate with you in an online, interactive self-paced course on building ELs’ academic language at the word, sentence, and discourse level.

Over the three course components, you will have an opportunity to learn about and apply proven strategies to:

  • Select and teach academic vocabulary to ELs in varied ways
  • Support ELs in developing academic language at the sentence level
  • Foster ELs’ ability to comprehend academic text, understand distinct text structures, and produce academic language at the discourse level  

As in our other online courses, the heart of this course is a facilitated Professional Learning Community (PLC)-based discussion. You will be able to share your expertise with colleagues as well as learn what strategies others are using to build ELs’ academic language in their schools and districts. 

The seven-week guided online course offers you:

  • Three flexible learning components that you can work on at times that are most convenient for you
  • 10 hour professional development certificate for you upon satisfactory completion of the course*
  • Interactive, facilitated PLC discussions that provide opportunities for you to apply strategies, share recommendations, and develop new ideas
  • Authentic video clips of EL strategies in action in the classroom
  • Practical application activities for you to apply course strategies and tools to your own contexts
  • Resources and tool sharing to foster your implementation of strategies in your classroom
  • Guiding and reflective questions in a note-taking guide to provide you support throughout the course

*You will need to confirm the PD hours with your school or district.


January 21st - March 6th, 2020
Cost: $275.00

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Interested in earning graduate credit for this course? One graduate credit can be obtained through Trinity Washington University, DC for an additional fee of $199 per credit and the successful completion of the course.

Register for graduate credit