Think Like a Linguist: Leveraging Multilingual Students’ Expertise about Language

Amy C. Crosson, Christine Tapu, Margaret G. McKeown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this article, we focus on a series of lessons, called Think Like a Linguist, that we designed and implemented with multilingual adolescents. These lessons were developed as an introduction to a semester-long study on academic vocabulary and word analysis using Latin roots. Our intention in Think Like a Linguist lessons was to present concepts about language patterns and relationships by leveraging students’ diverse language backgrounds. Transcripts of lessons from one middle school class and two high school classes were inductively coded and thematically analyzed. Three main findings about students’ participation and learning are presented. First, students engaged in hypothesis-checking and flexible thinking about language. Second, students collectively leveraged all the languages they knew for analysis. Third, lessons created the conditions for students to reflect on relations between language and power. In addition to these findings, we present major concepts introduced, examples of instructional tasks, and resources for instruction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)481-493
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy
Issue number6
StatePublished - May 1 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education


Dive into the research topics of 'Think Like a Linguist: Leveraging Multilingual Students’ Expertise about Language'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this