Strategies for Building ELs’ Academic Language

Strategies for Building ELs' Academic Language

Course Description

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!

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. While our online courses are beneficial to educators in all roles, we especially encourage general educators who are not certified in ESOL to take part.

This guided online course provides:

  • Three flexible learning components that you can work on at times that are most convenient for you
  • 12 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.

Bulk Course Purchasing for Districts

Each course costs $220 per participant per district (based on our early bird rate and a 20% bulk discount) with a minimum of 30 participants per course.

Graduate credit can be obtained through Trinity Washington University in Washington, DC for an additional fee ($199 per credit) and the successful completion of each 12-hour online course. Contact us at for specific instructions to include graduate credit along with your course.