- Risager, Byram and Svarstad
- Key concepts and views of culture learning
- How do these concepts and views of culture learning impact Common Objectives in Denmark?
Tosprogethed som resource
Et gennemgående tema igennem dagens tekster og undervisning har været forskellige perspektiver og debatten omkring hvordan og i hvilken grad, at vi kan se flersprogede elever, som havende ekstra resourcer til at lære et nyt sprog i skolen. Blommaert (2010:8) vil argumentere for at ens sprogrepertoirer er trunkerede i.e., fordi man ikke lærer eller har hele sprog, men derimod dele af sprog afhængigt individets omgivelser: »highly specific ’bits’ of language and literacy combined in a repertoire that reflects the fragmented and highly diverse life-trajectories and environments«. Man kan bruge sine sprogrepertoirer selvom de er trunkerede og bruges i forskellige situationer, kontekster og relationer, som en styrke (resource) når man lærer nye sprog, men man kan også inkludere en klasses samlede farverige sprogbillede, som et udgangspunkt for at lære elever om respekt, accept, anerkendelse, åbenhed, tolerance i forhold til forskelligehed og herunder især forskellige kulturer. “Derfor arbejdes der i multikulturalistisk undervisning hyppigt med fordomsbekæmpelse blandt eleverne og opdragelse til kulturelt ligeværd gennem etablering af positive kulturmøder” (Buchardt & Fabrin:16-17).
Det jeg har bidt mest mærke i i dag er hele diskussionen og definitionen af sprog og dét at være tosproget (og flersproget for den sags skyld). I vores gruppe (1) diskuterede vi tosprogethed og kom frem til, at man er tosproget når ens andetsprog er et andet end det der tales i det samfund man bor i. At det er en gave personligt og samfundsmæssigt og det kan være en udfordring pædagogisk og didaktisk (i praksis, på institutioner og socialt). Hvilket hænger sammen med hvad Cenoz (2000) siger, at tosprogede elever kan have en fordel og flere sproglige resourcer ift. sprogindlæring og herved også en større kreativ evne indenfor læring af nye sprog.
Vi har også arbejdet med vores egne sprogportrætter, der faktisk viste sig at have mange flere sprog end forventet.
Teaching sequence for a 7th grade (excerpt of 4 lessons from a 16-lesson teaching plan)
Overall Learning Objective
For the students to improve their L2 (English) linguistic competencies (speaking, listening, writing and reading) through immersion in self-chosen subjects, presented as a story through a digital media.
• AC1: Can the students use digital storytelling to convey their chosen subject in English?
• AC2: Can the student demonstrate its ability to use the gathered knowledge in their story?
• AC3: Can the student use an appropriate structure depending on their genre?
Plan and timetable for teaching sequence:
The goal for the week was to enable the students to begin their writing processes in a longer sequence concerning digital storytelling. On the Monday, the students were given scaffolding to prepare them of how to use the new digital tool StoryBird, additionally they were introduces to the core characteristics of nonfiction vs. fiction genres. Wednesday they were working with brainstorming to come up with a topic of their own interest, and when decided, they began working in StoryBird and had approximately 1,5 hour to make a 3-page story. Friday the different stories were presented, either two the whole class or individually with one of us (an intern) by their side to comment and give summative feedback on the product as well as the work process.
Didactic considerations and reflections about teaching sequence
Initially we wanted to work with differentiated content due to the fact that we knew that this particular 7th grade was part of a special education option offered by Brøndbyøster skole called Lunten. Furthermore, despite the students all being diagnosed with one or more autistic disorders, they were still required to be examined under the same FFM as students under general education.
In the same regard, based on some the ideas of associate professor at Metropol, Jesper boding about visible learning and differentiation;”Ydermere er det relevant at overveje om indholdet […] kan gøres til genstand for differentiering i undervisningen. Dels er det oplagt at overveje, om elever med forskellige interesser kan vælge forskelligt indhold.” (Boding 2014: 8) Here Boding is proposing that teachers should consider if students could work with differentiated content, while still working towards the same learning objective, and if that differentiated content could be chosen by the student itself, based on his/hers own interests.
Allowing the students to choose their own desired writing-topic is also based on Dorn and Soffos’ views on the cognitive sides of writing, where they describe, how the first thing a young language learner needs, when starting the writing process, is the ability to understand and pull together ideas (feelings, emotions and images) or knowledge from their own memories, which they desire to communicate; “Language becomes a tool for consolidating bigger ideas into original statements while choosing the best words and placing them in the correct order.” (2001:2), which is a complex process driven by a personal need to express a message. The more meaningful and personal the idea is for the child, the easier it will be for the child to use its transcription skill.
In order to integrate these didactic theories into our teaching sequence, we planned a course with the digital media tool, StoryBird, which is a online program that allows the student to tell a story using pictures and writing. In addition we organised the sequence in such a way that the students would work with, and improve upon, their main L2 linguistic competencies, e.g. speaking, listening, reading, and especially writing.
During the course, we quickly learned that the learner´s knowledge regarding genres was not sufficient enough, for them to work individually on their project. This forced us to spend time, that we had not previously planned in the teaching sequence, to create a mutual understanding of the genres at their disposal. The way of approach was through brainstorming, which proved to be confusing for the learners, even though their teacher assured us that they had experience with brainstorms. Furthermore the level of knowledge in the class was very divided given their disorders, age groups and their experience with general education. This proved again to be quite a challenge for us to find common ground within the classroom. Ultimately the learners did not achieve the levels of learning that we intended.
According to Harris & Graham (1996) scaffolding the child at appropriate points is a tool of mediation, that then helps the child’s ability to orchestrate the social, cognitive, and mechanicals sides of writing, thus writing is a learned skill, shaped through practice and constructive feedback, which further helps the child to become a self-regulated writer, though when helping individual students, some of them reacted positively to being instructed but found it hard to continue alone (individually or in groups), others shut down when receiving individual help, which created a lot of misunderstanding in regards to how far they actually were and whether they had understood the task at hand.
During our post reflections, it was certainly obvious that there was a need for more scaffolding, perhaps more explicit learning goals should have been given earlier on, which could potentially have resulted in more common ground within the classroom. If they had physical resources e.g., sheets of genre characteristics, it might have helped the students better, than repetitive black board teaching and individual help – as those two interactions seemed to either throw off the students or annoy them. When looking at the results of the students’ written products in StoryBird (Appendix 1), it is clear that the students are all still in the stage of the emergent writer as described by Dorn & Soffos (2001). The emergent writer’s greatest challenge occurs with transcribing the message. Here the teacher can guide the child to learn to use simple resources to assist problem-solving efforts. Risk-taking behaviours are the basis for early monitoring, searching and self-correcting actions, which are the foundation for successful writing. As the emergent writer practise reading behaviours, it allows them to make logical and realistic predictions for the upcoming words and phrases (p. 7). Yet we did not see the risk-taking behaviours in all of the students, as most of them had to be explicitly told almost what to write in order for them to write something. A’s story uses very simple sentences, but whilst M’s are more complex; there is no cohesion in the text whatsoever. T only made one page, besides the front page, but was the only one that seemed to use put his own ideas (feelings) into words.
Boding, J. (2014): Synlig Læring er Synlig Succes. Dafolo.
Dorn, L. J. & Soffos, C. (2001): Scaffolding Young Writers: A Writer’s Workshop Approach. Stenhouse Publishers
Harris, K.R. & Graham, S. (1996) Making the Writing Process Work: Strategies for Composition and Self-Regulation, Cambridge, MA, Brookline Books
Appendix 1 – Examples of student texts from StoryBird
Reflections on pp.109-124 of chapter 4 (Language for Interacting With Others) in Beverly Derewianka’s book A New Grammar Companion (2015)
This chapter covers the interpersonal function of language; “how language is used to foster social interaction, to create and maintain relationships, to develop and project a personal identity, to express opinions and engage with the views of others.” (p.109). Our roles, position and therefore language changes depending on the relationship that we pronounce ourselves in.
The language for interacting with others is dependent on the pattern of interaction. The pattern is affected about the roles we have with whom we’re talking with. The speech functions in verbal language are divided into four: questions, statements, commands and offers. When asking questions, we are asking for information , enquiring about something or probing something. A question that asks for a yes or no answer, will naturally limit the interaction and is also called a closed-question, to avoid this, it is better to asked wh- questions (Who?, When?, Where? or Why?), as they require or provoke more lengthy answers. Statements are used to provide information and make remarks (p.112). Commands are used to get things done; either requesting information or asking for goods or services, they vary from instructions, to invitations, suggestions and advice. Finally offers are given when interacting to provide the service or good asked for. “Offers can take a number of different grammatical forms – or they might jus take the form of a physical response, such as passing someone a toll that has been requested. E.g. Here you are. or Do you want some cake?” (p.113). Thus, besides the offers, the key elements in the structure of speech functions are the subject of the verb and the auxiliary part of the verb group (p.114). Derewianka gives examples of the structures of the different speech functions:
The structure of statements
The structure of questions
The structure of commands
Our speech roles are also very affected by our usages of pronouns, and the terms of address we use as a resource to establish and maintain the relations in terms of power, status and so forth (p. 118). Whether you address someone as Mr./Mrs. or a nickname changes the power dynamic and interpersonal relationship within the language.
Another way to stimulate interaction is to talk about feelings and app onions to express attitudes, if nothing else, this will usually get the reader or listener to wake up and feel the need to interact or respond. Derewianka divides the different kinds of emotions into 3 categories:
- Matters of the heart
- Pursuing goals
- Social wellbeing
We can use both nouns, adjectives, verbs and adverbs to describe our emotions.
Emotions are also used to express opinions about something and the quality thereof. This can be regarding their composition e.g., elegant, complex, or not well developed, their social value e.g., significant or valid, and the reaction they provoke in us e.g., terrifying or fascinating! (Using exclamation marks is also a function to express in which way we want something to be received as they signify certainty, excitement or seriousness). Expressions of attitudes can, of course, be both explicit or implicit, depending on our language use and purpose of the message or emotions involved.
Derewianka, B. (2015): A New Grammar Companion – For Teachers. Reprint. PETAA
Reflections on excerpts (genres; 1-5 & ads; 22-28) of Susanne Christensens books City of Dreams (2010) and Ads (2011) from the Close-Up series
This reflection will differ from the previous ones, it is not a cheat sheet nor a resumé of the texts, but rather a review combined with discussion of Christensen’s texts. This is not just a pun since the texts are about writing genres, but a sincere interest in the topic of genres and teacher resources. During my internship I experienced, English teachers (including myself) often take for granted, that the students have been taught how to write certain genres in their Danish (or other L1) classes – as I met students in the 7th grade, that had no idea what the difference was between fiction and nonfiction, or how to write a short story or a review.
The excerpt of Christensen’s books covers essays, diary entries, formal & informal letters, film reviews, news articles and work-sheets for writing your own advertisement, how to write a letter, how to write an essay, how to write a diary entry, how to write a short story, how to write a news article, and how to write a poem.
I am initially fond of things that seem concrete and to-the-point, thus I’m happy to see that each section only takes up one page each, creating a sort of encyclopaedia feel from the get-go – leaving me with no fear of getting lost in the text. Each section has its own title, a brief definition, followed by a guidelines and then a written example or photo – very pleasing to the eye and the mind – though making me wonder why this is written for teachers and not directly to students, as it is very direct and easy to understand. I did stumble over the fact (and the page), that there was guidelines of how to write a diary entry, thinking that a diary is the last place you need to regulate to someone else’s expectations or limitations for that matter. But I found it, in that specific section, that Christisen merely states “what people often do” and uses phrases like “you can do (…) but it is not compulsory”. A less but exciting fear about seeing the guidelines of how to write a poem, was immediately put to sleep, as the first sentence states “It is very hard to define what a poem is. Poems can have countless forms. They can be short or as long as a book. They can rhyme but dont’t have to.” Besides from those two no-longer-existing scares, I cannot stress enough how annoyed I get when adults don’t know how to write a formal letter (read: email), a job application or especially – in group work – AN ACADEMIC REPORT! There is obviously a need for both young and old learners to become more exposed to our structural and linguistic rules of certain genres. The human brain is wired for patterns, rules, and logic – and as it so happens to be with most of the things we learn, as soon as we get it, we start understanding why and how it’s useful. Information and knowledge makes previously unknown topics interesting to us.
A pleasant “read” and a useful tool.
Christensen, S. (2010): City of Dreams – Teacher Resources. Gyldendal
Christensen, S. (2011): Ads – Teacher Resources. Gyldendal