How many languages do you speak? Which is your primary language? I believe that as physics teachers we need to speak and teach many different languages in our classrooms. The factor that often separates good teachers from great ones is the ability to speak fluently in as many of these languages as possible.

For students to become truly competent in physics, they must also learn to speak several languages:

The language of content vocabulary. When teaching the concepts behind physics, we also teach the jargon and vocabulary that accompany them. This language is important when reading the textbook, trying to understand a problem, or writing an explanation of a phenomenon. Often students think they can just memorize the new vocabulary words they are learning. You can teach vocabulary to students and they can get the questions correct without any true understanding of the underlying concepts. Consider the inset...

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