Language and Diversity: Challenges and possibilities Prof. Stephen May School of Critical Studies in Education (CRSTIE) Faculty of Education University of Auckland August 5, 10 1
August 5, 10 2 It has been known for some time that secondary teachers do not consider reading and learning to be issues that are of much importance to them. (Gunderson 2000: 692)
August 5, 10 3 The problem of monolingualism Particularly evident in English-dominant countries like New Zealand A result of English as the current world language Ignores the history (and politics) of English
August 5, 10 4 Key Challenges in teaching bilingual students Developing and fostering an additive rather than subtractive view of bilingualism
August 5, 10 5 Subtractive bilingualism views bilingualism as problematic judges students by native (L1) English norms Constructs bilingual students as incompetent (in English) e.g. NESB; this child has ‘no language’ Excludes the L1 in the teaching and learning process (‘time on task’ principle)
The first response Building specifically from/on the students’ language backgrounds Developing an ‘additive’ view of students’ bilingualism Drawing on all the language registers/domains of students in the teaching and learning process August 5, 10 9
Additive bilingualism Recognises bilingual students as multicompetent Accords with research on the cognitive, social and educational advantages of bilingualism Cognitive flexibility Metalinguistic awareness Communicative sensitivity Accords with the linguistic interdependence principle The more developed the L1, the easier the development of the L2; the less developed the L1, the harder the development of the L2 August 5, 10 10
August 5, 10 11 1. Implications for teaching How can we challenge/change deficit constructions of bilingual students? How can we recognise and value our students’ extensive language competencies? How can we foster use of L1 in our classes in order to enhance metalinguistic awareness and language interdependence? How can we address our own knowledge gaps (and monolingualism)?
August 5, 10 12 Key challenges in teaching bilingual students 2. Recognising that academic English is a specific language register, and that we need to teach it explicitly
August 5, 10 13 Academic English Is significantly more demanding than conversational English Cf. Conversational competence (BICS) Develops within 1-2 years Academic language proficiency (CALP) Takes 5-8 years to develop fully = 2nd language learning delay
August 5, 10 14 Academic English Is more abstract Has more passive constructions (e.g. It has been argued by May that … vs. …. Stephen says that) Is more decontextualised Has specific patterns of classroom language IRE (initiation - response - evaluation) IRF (initiation - response - feedback) Which are also culturally located (with students having varying degrees of familiarity with them) Has more difficult vocabulary
Vocabulary A-S nouns G-L nouns August 5, 10 15
August 5, 10 16 2. Implications for teaching How can we apprentice students into academic English? How can we scaffold learning more effectively? How can we avoid ‘dumbing down’ (amplifying, not simplifying) How can we vary existing classroom discourse patterns IRE (initiation; response; evaluation) IRF (initiation; response; feedback) Group work
August 5, 10 17 Group Work Learners hear more language Learners use more language (fosters exploratory talk; increased output) Learning is contextualised (language is used appropriately and meaningfully) Learning and comprehension are supported (message redundancy) In addition, group work Can include both L1 and L2 Is culturally congruent for many groups Facilitates language use in contextualised / integrated ways (linking language and content) However, still requires explicit framing/instruction
August 5, 10 18 Cognitively Undemanding A B (conversation) (email/texting) Context Embedded Context Reduced C D (group work/journaling/ role play) (classroom discourse) Cognitively Demanding
August 5, 10 19 Key References Language Enhancing the Achievement of Pasifika (LEAP). http://leap.tki.org.nz May, S., Hill, R. & Tiakiwai, S. (2004) Bilingual/Immersion Education: indicators of good practice (available at http://www.educationcounts.govt.nz/publications/schooling/5075 See also: Gibbons, P. (2002). Scaffolding Language, Scaffolding Learning: teaching second language learners in the mainstream classroom. Heinemann.