Developing Regional Academic Language Cohorts


In an effort to develop student capacity to increase academic language, South Dakota Title III Director Yutzil Becker teamed up with the NCCC to train a cohort of educators preparing to deliver targeted professional development to teachers across South Dakota. This collaborative project was designed to build the cohort's understanding of instructional strategies that promote productive academic discourse so they, in turn, can support teachers across the state. During the 2015-16 school year, learning sessions focused on the stages of second-language acquisition, how to set language objectives, how to use nonlinguistic representations to increase language retention, and how to use cooperative learning structures to increase productive student interactions. The 2016-17 learning sessions focused on reciprocal teaching, structures for academic language, productive accountable talk, and academic conversations. Jane Hill, the NCCC Title III specialist and international consultant on English language learning, developed the modules and delivered the professional learning for the cohort.


The South Dakota Department of Education now has a knowledgeable and skilled cohort of educators prepared to support training around English language learning with general education teachers. Now, more than 300 curriculum administrators, staff, general education teachers, and English language teachers across the state are better prepared to help students develop the academic language needed to improve learning outcomes.


 Modules 1-5 have accompanying videos; view an example from Module 1: Stages of Second Language Acquisition. For more information, contact Jane Hill.


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