What is a Language Arts Teacher?

Mary McMahon

A language arts teacher is a teacher who provides students with literacy skills. Literacy is deemed an important part of overall education, no matter what people plan to do later in life, and it can also be extremely useful when students enter the workforce and the world. People who teach language arts need to be certified, with the specifics of the certification varying depending on the educational level at which the language arts teacher provides instruction. Numerous colleges and universities offer coursework which helps people to prepare for a career in teaching.

Language arts teachers teach literacy skills.
Language arts teachers teach literacy skills.

The scope of language arts instruction is very broad. Literacy goes beyond basic reading and writing skills, although these are critical and are among the earliest skills developed. A language arts teacher shows students how to engage with the works they are reading, helping students analyze text, explore narrative styles, and think critically about what they read. For example, a language arts teacher might invite students to read a story and then talk about the emotions brought up by the story and the devices used by the author to evoke specific feelings.

In the realm of writing, a language arts teacher provides grounding in composition skills. This includes teaching students the basics of grammar, but it also involves teaching students about style. Students learn about different types of writing, how to select an appropriate style, and how to manipulate style to achieve desired effects. They also have an opportunity to explore various forms of composition, ranging from essays to poetry.

A language arts teacher can also provide instruction in a foreign language. The same skills are taught, and students may also be provided with cultural context so that they can understand the languages they learn more fully. For example, a language arts teacher providing instruction in French might discuss the history of French-speaking culture with the students, and talk about how French speakers around the world have many different accents and dialects.

People who offer instruction in language arts usually have a passion for and an interest in language. Someone who wants to become a language arts teacher may also opt for additional teaching certifications. For example, a certification in the social sciences can be useful for a teacher who wants more employment opportunities. Certification requirements for teachers vary around the world and people who want to pursue careers in teaching should consult government agencies which regulate the practice of teaching to find out what they need to do to become teachers.

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Discussion Comments


Talk about a thankless job these days! You have to catch kids early to get them interested in language arts and why it's important. You have to impress on them that they can't get by solely on knowing computer programming, but have to know how to express themselves in a literate way.

I'm seeing the products of too few years of language arts instruction in the young reporters at our newspaper. I have to hold their hands to get them to write a little brief properly. It's really bad. I hope principals will wake up and make sure their curriculum gives language arts teachers something to do besides hand out computer assignments.


A good language arts teacher in English will make sure his or her students thoroughly understand good grammar and usage, first and foremost. I have a friend who teaches ninth grade English, and the first thing she has to say these days to her students is something like, "Textese is not standard English. If you use it in a paper or essay, you will make an 'F'." And she's had to follow through with her threats. It's really sad that students only want to write like they text.

A good language arts teacher will also emphasize the need for good spelling skills and writing skills, as well as teach some of the basic literature a well-rounded student should study.

Being a good language arts teacher is a tough, tough job, but it's a necessary one.

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