Increasing Language Production in the Classroom

Take a moment to think about your own classroom. How often are your students using high academic language in their reading, writing and speaking? Research shows that the first step to reading and writing academic language is producing it orally.

It is important to build a classroom culture where students feel comfortable practicing the language. But how can we get them to do this when they feel anxious about learning a new language or practicing academic vocabulary?

 Creating a classroom culture where students will take a risk to practice the language is key. It is typically the teacher who reads, writes, and produces the language most frequently in the classroom. This strategy will help shift that paradigm. One way to encourage participation while reducing anxiety is by having the teacher model the academic language and setting the expectation for student participation by using the phrase, ‘say it with me’.

"Say it with me!"

“Say it with me!” is effective strategy we use to promote language development throughout our instructional day. We have the students all say it together as a group, and make it a part of our classroom culture to consistently practice the academic vocabulary.

This builds a low affective filter. Affective filter, or anxiety has to do with how stressed someone is feeling. The higher the affective filter, the more difficult it is to learn and retain information. There are chemicals that get released in the brain when you feel anxious or stressed, preventing learning from happening.

By having all the students in the classroom practice the language together, nobody knows who is saying the word correctly or incorrectly, we are simply providing an opportunity for students to just practice the language.

Teacher Tips

Here are a couple of teacher tips to get your students comfortable producing oral language:

1) Building Expectations is key

When you use “say it with me”, keep repeating until you have 100% participation – this will build in the expectation and norms in your classroom.

2) Focus on Academic Language/Vocabulary

Look at the highest or most challenging vocabulary words you have during your direct instruction for the day. Make sure when you teach those words that you add in “say it with me”. This will not only help with comprehension later on, but also immediately build engagement into any instruction. Try it out!

Watch & Learn!

In the video below, you can see classroom demonstration footage of the "Say it with me" strategy. You can also watch the video here .



Site Achievement Director

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