Language clarity for all ages

A few weeks ago I was reminded of how important language clarity is in the classroom. I shared my learning on the matter from attending the Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy with you all in this post. Today, I received a similar reminder during Dr. Julie A. Washington's presentation during Teacher Week @Scholastic.

While discussing the importance and challenges of teaching oral language, the conversation became lively and focused on how to best meet students where they are in their comprehension while bringing them to the next level. A simple example was provided:

When working with young students and teaching subtraction, it is easier for them to understand the words “take away” rather than subtract or minus. Therefore, you are meeting them where they are when you say “When you take away 3 from 5, you have 2 left”. Still, as I mentioned in my other post, they need to learn the accepted language and constructs of the math by using the appropriate words. What to do? A simple tip from today is to always remember to connect the words together. To not overwhelm your student it is OK to use “take away” when introducing problems, but follow up with the words subtract and minus in the same lesson and tie it all together.  “Now we have 2 left because we subtracted 3 from 5.”

Simple tips, great learning. Thank you Dr. Washington!