Skip to main content
Location: United States |  Change Location
Male flipping through Corwin book

Hands-on, Practical Guidance for Educators

From math, literacy, equity, multilingual learners, and SEL, to assessment, school counseling, and education leadership, our books are research-based and authored by experts on topics most relevant to what educators are facing today.


Academic Language in Diverse Classrooms: Definitions and Contexts - Book Cover Look Inside

Academic Language in Diverse Classrooms: Definitions and Contexts

By: Margo Gottlieb, Gisela Ernst-Slavit

This companion volume to Margo Gottlieb and Gisela Ernst-Slavit’s definitive six-book series on academic language provides a go-to reference of key concepts and effective practices. 

Product Details
  • Grade Level: PreK-12
  • ISBN: 9781452234786
  • Published By: Corwin
  • Year: 2014
  • Page Count: 256
  • Publication date: April 22, 2014

Price: $39.95

Price: $39.95
Volume Discounts applied in Shopping Cart

For Instructors

Request Exam Copy

By selecting the request for exam copy above, you will be redirected to our parent site, Sage Publishing, to process your inspection copy request.  Thank you.



Ensure your school speaks the language of success! 

With the rigorous content of College and Career Readiness standards, academic language use has moved to the forefront of educational priorities. School leaders and teachers must ensure that academic language becomes the focus of new curricula, instruction, and assessment, with special attention to linguistically and culturally diverse students.

The author’s six-book series on academic language is already the definitive resource on the topic. This companion volume provides a concise, thorough overview of the key research concepts and effective practices that underlie the series. Including:

  • Definitions and examples of the dimensions of academic language.
  • A step-by-step template to incorporate academic language use into plans for student learning.
  • Graphic models that illustrate the construct of academic language and its classroom application. 

Language is the most fundamental building block of education. Be sure your school is as strong as it can be with this indispensable book.

"This book brings language learning in the classroom alive!  Against a backdrop of new standards, the authors skillfully take the reader through detailed vignettes of classroom practice that support students’ development of academic language, while at the same time discussing why the practice is effective.” 
—Margaret Heritage, Assistant Director for Professional Development
National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards and Student Testing (CRESST) at UCLA

Key features

(1) Examines the evolving theory behind academic language.

(2) Includes graphic models that to explain and clarify the construct of academic language

(3) Presents definitions and examples of each of the components of academic language.

(4) Features a step-by-step template for teachers who wish to incorporate academic language into their planning for student learning.



Margo Gottlieb photo

Margo Gottlieb

Margo Gottlieb, a staunch advocate for multilingual learners and their teachers, has always envisioned multilingualism as a cornerstone of education. As co-founder and lead developer of WIDA at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Margo has been a language teacher, coordinator, bilingual facilitator, director of assessment and evaluation, and an international advisor. Having presented and keynoted across the United States and in 25 countries, she has worked with universities, organizations, governments, states, school districts, and schools in co-constructing linguistic and culturally sustainable educational policy and practice. Margo has been an invited blogger and speaker for virtual seminars, webinars, podcasts, book chats, and videos; in addition, she has enjoyed reviewing books, journal articles, policy papers, and grants.

Over the years, Margo’s scholarship has focused on co-designing language development standards frameworks- for WIDA, TESOL International Association, Guam, and American Samoa, reconceptualizing classroom assessment, and co-constructing curricular frameworks for multilingual learners. Margo has been appointed to national and state expert advisory boards and has been a Fulbright Senior Scholar in Chile, appointed to the U.S. Department of Education’s Inaugural National Technical Advisory Council, and was honored by TESOL International Association for her significant contribution to the TESOL profession.

Holding a Ph.D. in Public Policy Analysis, Evaluation Research and Program Design, Margo has published extensively, having authored, co-authored, or co-edited over 100 publications including monographs, guides, manuals, white papers, technical reports, articles, 30+ chapters, encyclopedia entries, and 20 books. She is proud to add this 3rd edition of her best-selling book to her Corwin compendium and fulfilling her long-time goal of tackling assessment through the lens of multilingual learners in Assessment in Multiple Languages: A Handbook for School and District Leaders (2022) and its companion, Classroom Assessment in Multiple Languages: A Handbook for Teachers (2021).

Gisela Ernst-Slavit photo

Gisela Ernst-Slavit

Gisela Ernst-Slavit, PhD, is a Professor in the College of Education at Washington State University Vancouver. She investigates language teacher education in culturally and linguistically diverse settings using ethnographic and sociolinguistic perspectives. In addition to other publications, she is co-author of Access to Academics: Planning Instruction for K-12 Classrooms with ELLs (Pearson, 2010), From Paper to Practice: Using the TESOL’s English Language Proficiency Standards in PreK-12 Classrooms (TESOL, 2009), and TESOL PreK-12 English Language Proficiency Standards (TESOL, 2006). Dr. Ernst-Slavit, a native from Peru, has given numerous presentations in the United States and Canada as well as in Japan, Pakistan, Peru, Spain, Thailand, and The Netherlands.
Table of Contents

Table of Contents




About the Authors

In the Beginning….

1. What is Academic Language?

     The Role of Language in Schooling and Beyond

     Different Registers

     The Nature of Academic Language

     Evolving Perspectives of Academic Language

     Academic Language Versus Social Language Perspectives

     Systemic Functional Linguistic Perspectives

     Language Skills Perspectives

     Sociocultural Perspectives

     Language as Action Perspectives

     Academic Language Learning as a Developmental Process

     Considerations for Students with Disabilities

     Oral and Written Languages

     Oral Language as a Vehicle for Promoting Academic Language Development

     Oral Language as a Bridge to Literacy

     Multiliteracies and Multimodalities as Sources of Academic Language

     Raising Awareness of Academic Language

     Academic Language and Social Justice

     For Further Thinking

2. What Are the Dimensions of Academic Language?

     Identifying Academic Language Within and Across Content Areas

     Analyzing Academic Language Within Discourse

     Balance Between Informational and Literary Texts

     Differences Between Nonfiction and Informational Texts

     Examining Sentence-Level Structures

     Language Functions as Expressions of Sentence-Level Meaning

     Identifying Vocabulary--Words, Phrases, and Expressions

     Development of Academic Vocabulary

     Teaching Academic Vocabulary in Authentic Contexts Through Meaningful Interactions

     Vocabulary Instruction for English Language Learners

     For Further Thinking

3. How Do Standards Define and Shape Academic Language Use?

     The Impact of the New Standards on Shaping Academic Language

     Bringing Standards Together: Content Learning Through Language and Language Learning Through Content

     Content and Language Learning for English Language Learners

     The Impact of Standards in Shaping Grade-Level Language for Academic Purposes

     Academic Language Within Content Standards

     Resources for ELLs for the New Content Standards

     Examples of Academic Language in Content Standards

     Academic Language in English Language Development/Proficiency Standards

     Academic Language Use in Language Standards

     The Impact of Home Language on Academic Language Development

     Suggestions for Redefining Teaching and Learning Around Academic Language Use

     For Further Thinking

4. How is Academic Language Used in Content Areas Schoolwide?

     Seeing Academic Language Throughout the School Day

     Listening in the Music Classroom

     Moving From a Physical Education Class to the Arts

     Looking Into Mathematics Classrooms

     Entering an English Language Arts Class

     Visiting a Science Class

     The Language of Science Textbooks

     Exploring Academic Language in a Social Studies Class

     The Specialized Language of Social Studies Texts

     Effective Instruction in Content Classrooms Around a Unit of Learning

     For Further Thinking

5. How Can Academic Language Be Integrated Into Instruction and Assessment?

     Maintaining a Focus on Academic Language: A Historical Perspective

     Planning a Unit of Learning Around Academic Language Use

     Capitalizing on Linguistic and Cultural Resources

     Deciding on a Theme for a Unit of Learning

     Matching the Theme to Standards

     Academic Language Use in Learning Targets and Differentiated Objectives

     Infusing Academic Language Into Unit Targets and Differentiated Lesson Objectives

     Instructional Activities and Tasks

     The Relationship Between Assessment and Instruction

     Placement of Assessment Within a Curricular Framework

     Assessment Across Lessons of a Unit: Measuring Standards and Learning Targets

     Assessment Within Lessons: Measuring Differentiated Objectives

     Crafting Instructional Activities and Tasks

     Reflecting on Teaching and Learning

     Teacher Reflection

     Student Reflection

     For Further Thinking

6. How is Academic Language Situated in Curricular Design and Infused Into Professional Learning?

     A Theoretical Basis for Curricular Frameworks

     Early Thinking on Curriculum

     Recent Thinking on Curriculum

     Conceptual Frameworks That Integrate Language and Content

     The Value of an Integrated Curricular Framework for Diverse Schools and Districts

     A Curricular Framework That Features Academic Language Use

     The Role of Professional Learning in Understanding and Promoting Academic Language Use

     Implementing Professional Learning: From Two Participants to District Level Participation

     Making School a Meaningful Experience for 21st Century Students

     Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Teaching and Learning

     Transformation of Schools

     Promoting Academic Language for All Students and Teachers

     Seeking Advocacy Within the Educational Community

     For Further Thinking

At the End….


A. CCSS for Mathematics and Related Academic Language

B. Examples from the CCSS for English Language Arts of Related Academic Language

C. A Curricular Framework Highlighting Academic Language