Pedagogy Postcard #16: Learning the language of learning

One of the key things to teach students when approaching a new subject area is meta language. Without it they find their learning more difficult to explain. This post from the wonderful Pedagogy Postcard series explains how it can look in various subject areas.


A series of short posts about specific elements of teaching practice that I think are effective and make life interesting. Some are based on my own lessons and others are borrowed from lessons I’ve observed.


This post is about the need to give students the basic  vocabulary and linguistic tools to communicate about the concepts  and skills they are dealing with in each subject.  I’ve seen excellent practice in my school where teachers take time to teach the language of learning in the subject, in parallel with teaching the subject itself.  Very often students appear to be struggling with a concept when, actually, they are just struggling to find the right language to express their understanding.  Here are a few examples.

In science, a recurring issue is with describing relationships between variables that are captured on a graph.

It 'goes up' every time - but can you describe exactly how? It ‘goes up’ every time – but can you describe exactly how?

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Author: loremipsem

I am Head of Teaching and Learning and teach English at an independent School in Melbourne. I am passionate about using technology as a learning tool and I love reading and literature and language.

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