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Ernie SpencerSALT Annual Conference Building the Curriculum November 2009 LITERACY and Language Learning.

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Presentation on theme: "Ernie SpencerSALT Annual Conference Building the Curriculum November 2009 LITERACY and Language Learning."— Presentation transcript:

1 Ernie SpencerSALT Annual Conference Building the Curriculum November 2009 LITERACY and Language Learning

2 Ernie SpencerSALT Annual Conference Building the Curriculum November 2009 QUALITY IN EDUCATION Becoming a person –Reflectiveness, self-determination, pursuit of and achievement of identity goals, the kind of person you wish to be –Teaching that offers/pushes pupils into extending experiences –Equality as persons exchanging ideas Intellectual sustenance –Significant ideas, real intellectual challenges (though “translated” when necessary), from books, media, teacher (for analysis, critique, comparison, incorporation in own set of concepts/values; no trivialities –Philosophy – ideas about existence, values, human moral and political behaviour

3 Ernie SpencerSALT Annual Conference Building the Curriculum November 2009 QUALITY IN EDUCATION Thinking –Excitement of mind, desire to get a grip, find out, solve problems, say what you think –Understanding new ideas/info in own language Talking and writing about them – or using other means of communication “Ordered statements” require hard thinking about topic AND about means of communication –Application of doubt Permanent “testability” of knowledge and value positions; questioning of assumptions, others’ and own Activities requiring decisions for which basis has to be thought out – grappling with and resolving uncertainty about a practical/social problem, a view, an interpretation of a text

4 Ernie SpencerSALT Annual Conference Building the Curriculum November 2009 LITERACY – FUNCTIONAL? “What society/employers need”? “Prerequisite for work, citizenship”? Focus on linguistic correctness Association with language exercises

5 Ernie SpencerSALT Annual Conference Building the Curriculum November 2009 EARLY LITERACY “Top-down” –past experience, expectation, language intuitions; schema theory - knowledge of the world/contexts used to interpret info –+ selected aspects of print (graphical, semantic, syntactic cues) –lead to perception of meaning, understanding (reading is a “psycho-linguistic guessing game”) –Sound/pronunciation follow –Real books/whole language approach (Goodman, Smith)

6 Ernie SpencerSALT Annual Conference Building the Curriculum November 2009 EARLY LITERACY “Bottom–up” –discrimination of each letter in print –+ matching of sounds and graphemes/identification of phonemes –+ blending –enables pronunciation –meaning is achieved as a result of letter/word recognition –importance of “phonics” analytic onset and rime (phonological awareness/analogy) synthetic (word-building, reading and writing)

7 Ernie SpencerSALT Annual Conference Building the Curriculum November 2009 EARLY LITERACY Interactive model (Adams) – complex routes/strategies of successful readers –The process of making meaning draws simultaneously on: schemata of knowledge/previous experience desire to know (what’s it about, what happens?) awareness/knowledge of context process of recognising speech sounds (phonology) Process of recognising visual symbols - letters/shape/structure of words (orthography) –Need to ensure development of all of these

8 Ernie SpencerSALT Annual Conference Building the Curriculum November 2009 EARLY LITERACY Interactive compensatory model (Stanovich) –Some make more use of one type of “processor” than another; –eg, poor word recognition leads to guessing from context/pictures; and –causes unbalanced effort – puzzling out words with great difficulty means you have no cognitive effort left to devote to comprehension –so, “automaticity” of word recognition is a crucial goal The Matthew principle

9 Ernie SpencerSALT Annual Conference Building the Curriculum November 2009 RICH LITERACY Being able to read does not mean you are literate; being empowered by being able to read does – Traves Key ideas are engagement, purposefulness, finding out, investigation, debate, critique, thinking, desire to understand Literacy is not an end in itself, but a means of inquiry: aim is to understand, not “learn reading for information strategies”

10 Ernie SpencerSALT Annual Conference Building the Curriculum November 2009 RICH LITERACY Engagement – continual pursuit of understanding in co- operation with others – is not a means to an end: it is actually the aim of education (John Guthrie) Thoughtful engagement is supported by –choice, challenge, control, collaboration, “content engagement” (desire to understand/comment), personal goals, teaching other pupils, encouragement by teacher to justify, explain, question, doubt, consequences that enhance self-confidence

11 Ernie SpencerSALT Annual Conference Building the Curriculum November 2009 RICH LITERACY Thoughtful engagement can be undermined by –“performance goals”, extrinsic rewards, social competition, negative self-perception, “curriculum- driven” teaching, didacticism/authoritarianism, decontextualised work, closed questions, much “practice” of skills without putting them to investigative/communicative use

12 Ernie SpencerSALT Annual Conference Building the Curriculum November 2009 RICH LITERACY Learning –Interaction known/to be learnt – constructivist; makes deep learning possible –Social process – collaborative; knowledge constructed in a social context and mediated by language (even when we learn “on our own”); “borrowed consciousness” (apprenticeship) and “shared consciousness” (group work); ZPD – potential with collaboration; learning happens twice – socially and independently (involving explaining to yourself, conversation with yourself)

13 Ernie SpencerSALT Annual Conference Building the Curriculum November 2009 RICH LITERACY Learning –Situated process – in context; we don’t learn skills/processes that we “generalise”: we learn them and contexts where they apply at the same time (Lave & Wenger); we learn thinking and the means of communicating it in different subjects – important implications for ensuring that key skills (eg, language awareness) are taught/reinforced in all the pupils’ learning contexts; and for CfE cross-curricular work –Metacognitive process – awareness of own thinking processes (including various aspects of language that come into play) (David Wray: Teaching Literacy: the Foundations of Good Practice: Education 3-13, Vol 27, No 1, 1998)

14 Ernie SpencerSALT Annual Conference Building the Curriculum November 2009 RICH LITERACY Does it happen? Example from –OECD study of AifL in Scotland (JOHS)

15 Ernie SpencerSALT Annual Conference Building the Curriculum November 2009 RICH LITERACY Some things we don’t need –Generation and use of pre-prepared worksheets –“Differentiation” that waters down the curriculum and tasks for “low achievers” so that they can “do them”, but without “content engagement” and desire to understand –Staff development of any kind that does not have a significant effect on pupils’ learning and thinking ability (Need for reflective activity over an extended period, an iterative relationship between theory and practice, involving networking and discussion)

16 Ernie SpencerSALT Annual Conference Building the Curriculum November 2009 RICH LITERACY What we do need To make young people critics – the study of language in action is the study of civilisation. Criticism means taking a personal stance in relation to a text and justifying it in the context of a relationship with the writer and with others who have read it It is a key characteristic of the thinking, educated person – a clear personal position, yet interactive, collaborative and open to reasonable challenge

17 Ernie SpencerSALT Annual Conference Building the Curriculum November 2009 RICH LITERACY Lisa Delpit “That boy will grow up to hit me on the head and take my purse or be my doctor. My job is to make him my doctor.” This child can become gullible, prejudiced, thoughtless fodder for political and media propaganda, never fulfilling her/his potential – or a critic in the best sense. My job is to make the child a critic.

18 Ernie SpencerSALT Annual Conference Building the Curriculum November 2009 MODERN LANGUAGES AND RICH LITERACY Can we do Rich Literacy in a second language? –If we want motivation and engagement with language learning, we have to –Examples of Rich Literacy from HMIE Portrait of current practice (February 2007) –And of more poverty-stricken language learning

19 Ernie SpencerSALT Annual Conference Building the Curriculum November 2009 MODERN LANGUAGES AND RICH LITERACY Other examples of purposeful language learning (from personal experience) –ESOL Summer schools –HMIs in Freiburg –The launch of LILT

20 Ernie SpencerSALT Annual Conference Building the Curriculum November 2009 MODERN LANGUAGES AND RICH LITERACY Other examples of purposeful language learning (from personal experience) –Finnish senior pupils – CVs and job interviews + high expectation of thorough vocabulary and grammar from course book (tested) –Younger Finnish pupils – stories (discussion and individual questions to answer), rhymes, songs, enjoyment, + high expectation of thorough vocabulary and grammar from course book (tested) –TV/films (subtitled)

21 Ernie SpencerSALT Annual Conference Building the Curriculum November 2009 MODERN LANGUAGES AND RICH LITERACY Potential in ML for: –Debate, real discussion, argument, critique? –Circumstances where Guthrie’s argument applies – “literacy” defined as language knowledge is not a pre-requisite: you develop it (with direct teaching as necessary) in pursuing engaging aims/purposes that you want to pursue? –Analysis of stories, literature, journalism, TV news/shows, read/heard in the foreign language and perhaps discussed in English?

22 Ernie SpencerSALT Annual Conference Building the Curriculum November 2009 MODERN LANGUAGES AND RICH LITERACY Potential in ML for: –Games, stories, poems for thinking (cf. Robert Fisher)? –Barrington Stoke novels in Spanish, French, German? –ML films/TV with subtitles? (GLOW?) All combined with high expectation of and thorough teaching of detailed language awareness

23 Ernie SpencerSALT Annual Conference Building the Curriculum November 2009 MODERN LANGUAGES AND RICH LITERACY Why? Why is grass always green? What holds up the sky? Why is hair upon my head? Why, oh why, oh why? Why does rain go down, not up? Why is salt in every sea? Why is there a sun and moon? Why is there only one me? Why do bees buzz and birds sing? Why do nails grow on my toes? How long is a piece of string? Why is it no-one knows? Why is night so full of dreams? Why do we have one nose, two eyes? Why do questions never end? Why are there so many whys? Robert Fisher Pourquoi? Pourquoi l'herbe est toujours verte? Qu'est-ce qui supporte le ciel? Pourquoi il y a des cheveux sur ma tête? Pourquoi, pourquoi, pourquoi? Pourquoi la pluie descend et ne monte pas? Pourquoi le sel est dans toutes les mers? Pourquoi il y a un sol et une lune? Pourquoi il n'y a qu'un seul moi? Pourquoi les abeilles bourdonnent, les oiseaux chantent? Pourquoi j’ai des ongles aux orteils? De quelle longueur est une corde? Pourquoi personne ne sait ? Pourquoi la nuit est si pleine de rêves? Pourquoi nous avons un nez, deux yeux? Pourquoi les questions ne finissent jamais ? Pourquoi il y a tant de pourquoi? Robert Fisher

24 Ernie SpencerSALT Annual Conference Building the Curriculum November 2009 MODERN LANGUAGES AND RICH LITERACY CfE emphasis on collaborative cross-curricular partnerships –LILT (2001) intended as a basis for this ML/English, in respect of language awarenes –LILT should be exploited much more and jointly There is some evidence from Finnish teachers of the value of reinforcing ML grammar learning with reference to Finnish (common concepts about relationships conveyed by language, even though actual grammar structures differ greatly)

25 Ernie SpencerSALT Annual Conference Building the Curriculum November 2009 MODERN LANGUAGES AND RICH LITERACY CfE emphasis on collaborative cross-curricular partnerships –Great potential also for many other kinds of collaborative developments with various departments in exploring culture, significant themes, moral issues … NOW IS THE TIME!


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