Academic Language – what is it, why do we use it, and how can we help HE students develop it?

It is a common misconception that “academic” must mean long, complex and obscure. This course explores how we can help our students to develop a better understanding of the real nature and value of academic language and become accomplished readers and writers of academic literature.


The course uses a list of core features of academic language to develop deeper knowledge of common barriers to understanding and using academic language. It considers how we can use this list to identify students’ individual problems with academic language and make support more targeted when developing academic reading and writing skills.

Course Description

This is a practical based workshop. The focus will be on features of language (rather than essay structure or referencing). Using examples of accessible and obscure academic writing, student case studies, and academic literature on the core features of academic language, we will explore:

  • What academic language is – what features or characteristics make it “academic” (regardless of academic discipline)
  • Why academic language is useful and what it aims to achieve
  • Ways in which academic language is sometimes misused and how we can differentiate between good and bad.
  • Which features make academic literature particularly difficult to understand, and how we can support our students to overcome those obstacles
  • How we can use students’ experience of struggling to understand academic writing, to improve their own writing.
  • Which features make it hard to produce academic writing,and how we can support our students to overcome those obstacles

The session will include a range of strategies and resources for developing a student’s academic language skills and knowledge. Delegates will have the opportunity to share ideas, practice and experience of working with students who have problems with academic language skills.

The day will cover

  • The core features of academic language (as defined in academic literature on the subject)
  • The types of barrier that each of these features can present to students
  • Practical strategies for teaching a student to recognise and overcome those barriers when reading and writing, so that they can actively take control of their academic work

Course Outcome

  • To Improve the participants’ own knowledge and understanding of the key features of academic language
  • To enable participants to apply evidence-based research to their teaching.
  • To enable participants to provide specifically targeted support when helping their students with academic reading and writing


Delegates should be educators working in Higher Education


None other than the above


This training course is delivered as a full-day session beginning with coffee, and registration from 9.00am. The presentation starts at 10.00am prompt and closes at 4:15pm. Please note that lunch is provided on all full-day training courses.

Joining Instructions

Joining instructions will be sent by email one week before the event to the email address given by the course booker. However, all the information you need for the day is within this page.

Terms & Conditions

By submitting a booking you are agreeing to pay Patoss Ltd within 30 days. You are also agreeing accept our Cancellation/Transfer Policy and Terms and Conditions which are shown at the bottom of the website page 


Sheila Rostill, Conference Administrator


T:   0330 135 7030

When & Where

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This course is worth 5 hours CPD