I was recently listening to a presentation about multilingual or ELL learners. The speaker talked about the progression of language development and the importance of vocabulary and student performance. Then they said something so simple yet profound. They said, "we are all language learners."
Sometimes, I need to remember that language is a progression, and we all have to learn new jargon and terminology anytime we learn something new. For instance, a high school biology student and a business education student must learn new vocabulary and jargon to progress through each course. The new teacher must learn the terminology and acronyms within the building.
All learning begins with vocabulary, but how often do I emphasize vocabulary during instruction? When I try to universally design my classroom, I need to proactively look at learning barriers and honor the variability in my classroom. For instance, why do my students get confused and bored when I teach vocabulary? One reason is that I may not be honoring their background experiences or providing them with tools for making connections.