Analysis of Teaching Material

The interlanguage is a language in itself e.g. between a student’s mother tongue (L1) and  English as a foreign language (L2), it has its own rules which develop over time and vary from person to person depending on their different hypotheses within different areas e.g., contemporary grammatical rules. “I takt med at eleven får be- og afkræftet sine hypoteser og møder nyt sprogligt input, forandrer intersproget sig. På baggrund af de nye sproglige erfaringer og den respons, eleven får på sit sproglige udtryk, daner eleven løbende nye regler. I de fleste tilfælde kommer elevens intersprogsregler i stigende omgang til at ligne de regler, man finder beskrevet i grammatikbogen.” (Laursen & Holm, 2010, p.47).

I have been looking at the European Language Portfolios (LPs) as a tool for linguistic development in EFL education. The European LP is a language-learner’s personal document, that can be used to follow one’s own linguistic development along with cultural experiences within and outside of school (or other institution where the explicit learning takes place). The document exists in many variations, in 76 languages, but mutual for all of them are, that they are built upon the Common European Framework (CEFR; the European work to create a common framework for reference for language which builds the basis for FFM). Gabriele Wolf, a lector at VIA Teacher Education in Aarhus, argues for the usage of LP, as a method to create heteroglossic foreign language education (2014 & 2015). LP can be used to create a translingual space i.e., a transformative linguistic space, where plurilingual language users connect their personal stories, experience, surroundings, opinions and cognitive as well as physical capacities to a joint meaningful preparation and therethrough making it into the lived experience (Wei, 2011, p.1223). LPs are developed to support the individual person’s autonomous learning process, visualisation of plurilingual competence profiles, intercultural awareness, experience, and competences incl. life-long language learning (Wolf, 2015). With language portfolios, teachers can include and accommodate students’ diverse language prerequisites and repertoires in foreign language teaching. Besides the linguistic benefit, the usage of LP can be used to create a greater sense of equality between the majority- and minority students i.e., a tool to reduce prejudices and supporting the bilingual student’s self-esteem, because diversity is seen as a strength and as a positive influence between students – and can be used to create a room of possibility to build intercultural competencies, which is crucial in a globalised society, not to mention a globalised world (Buchard & Fabrin, 2012).

According to the cognitive as well as the socio-cultural view on language acquisition, the student’s joint linguistic prerequisites are used when acquiring/learning a new language (Holmen & Byram, 2015). Meaning that bi- or plurilingual students have greater potentials for being creative, gaining metalinguistic awareness and communicative sensitivity, but a cognitive advantage does not trigger automatically, it is only activated, when students learn languages in an additive learning environment, that build upon the students’ actual assumptions (Baker, 2006). Thus bilingual students ought to have better chances, that students whom only have Danish to ‘pull’ from when learning a foreign language, but statistics show, that the bi-lingual students are doing more poorly when acquiring a new language. Though a Swedish research of the 9th-grade results shows, that the minority students, who have received teaching in their mother tongue, are above average than the other students – and English is the subject in which they do best (Holmen & Byram, 2015).

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In particular, I’ve looked at the Norwegian version, which is the one typically referred to in Denmark, because they have integrated “immigrant-languages”. In the theory of using the students existing linguistic repertoires (mother tongue etc), as a resource for language acquisition, metacommunicative awareness, and interlanguage development, the LP is an ideal tool. The teacher and the learner can use it as an opportunity to explore and identify the learner’s prerequisites within the communicative competence and cultural understanding. Minimum 10% of the students in the Danish schools are bilingual and the majority of those students have either Arabic, Turkish, Kurdish or Somali as their mother tongue. But I found, that Arabic only appears on 4 out of 60+ pages in the Norwegian LP. – Turkish, Kurdish and Somali I have no knowledge of detecting. Therefore, to reach the goal for students and teachers to include more languages when possible, for the students to gain the introspective view of their own learning and language use, thereby reaching metacommunicative awareness (Færch, 1984), the LP has to be adapted to fit the language profiles of the students of the Danish classrooms. We ought to create a Danish LP where every page contains Danish, English as a foreign language AND Arabic, Turkish, Kurdish and Somali for the tool to be relevant in the Danish schools.


Literature:

  • Baker, C. (2006): Foundations of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism. Multilingual Matters. 
  • Buchard & Fabrin (2012): Interkultural Didaktik — Introduktion til teorier og tilgange. Chapter 1: Multikulturalistisk Undervisning. Gyldendals Lærerbibliotek 
  • Europæisk Sprogportfolio. 2016. ECML (European Centre for Modern Languages) Kontaktpunkt Danmark.
  • Færch, C. et al. (1984): Learner Language and Language Learning. Gyldendal
  • Holmen, A. (2011): At tage udgangspunkt i det kendte – om brug af modersmålet ved tilegnelsen af et nyt sprog. Tidsskrift for sprog- og kulturpædagogik: Nr. 51. Sprogforum
  • Holmen, A. & Byram, M. et al. (2015): Sprogfag i forandring. Pædagogik og praksis.
    Samfundslitteratur
  • Laursen & Holm (2010): Dansk som Andetsprog – pædagogiske og didaktiske perspektiver. Dansklærerforeningen
    Wei, L. (2011): Moment analysis and translanguaging space: Discursive construction of identities by multilingual Chinese youth in Britain. Journal of Pragmatics, 43, pp. 1222–1235
  • Wolf, G. (2014): Åbne sider – På opadgelse i elevernes sproglige repertoirer – på vej mod en heteroglossisk fremmedssprogsundevisning? Tidsskrift for sprog- og kulturpædagogik: Nr. 59. Sprogforum
  • Wolf, G. (2015): Den Europæiske Sprogpotfolio i danske klasseværelser – Hvilke muligheder ligger der i integrationen af Den Euroæiske Sprogportfolio i fremmedsprogsundervisningen i en dansk kontekst? VIA University College
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Analysis of Gyldendal Fagportral

This reflection encompasses the analysis of a teaching material / sequence platform conducted during a lesson.

Teaching Sequence: Southern Africa (for lower secondary school)

Link to the sequence: http://engelsk.gyldendal.dk/en/Indgange/Topics/Friend_or_Foe/Southern_Africa/Goal.aspx

The views on culture presented in the analysis will be marked by colours according to this order:

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Goals
After working with this topic, you should have a knowledge of the recent history of Southern Africa, especially of the countries of South Africa and Zimbabwe, and an understanding of how the interactions between native populations and European colonizers have shaped the modern societies that have now emerged in these countries.

Assessment Criteria:

  1. You should be able to understand both the gist of and specific information in texts on the subject of Southern African history and modern society in South Africa and Zimbabwe.

  2. You should be able to express your knowledge, ideas and opinions concerning aspects of Southern Africa’s history, development and current situation, and take part in discussions on the theme.
  3. You should be able to understand and make active use of a relevant vocabulary within the theme of Southern Africa’s history and development.
  4. You should have a knowledge of the way that historical events can influence the development of a country and the relationship between its citizens. You should also be able to relate this knowledge to your own life and experiences in Denmark.

 

2) Views of culture

Video from lesson 1:

 

  • European imperialism in Africa: Has a transnational and perhaps non-essentialist narrative perspective on the story of European imperialism in Africa, even though colonial history consisted of multiple, different European countries, conquering multiple different African countries.

 

 

Comprehension questions

There’s a national view since the questions are about a specific area.

E.g.:

1. How long did the colonial period in Southern Africa last?
2. Which countries in Southern Africa were British colonies?
3. Why did the British quarrel with the Dutch colony in Southern Africa?
5. What was the result of the Boer wars?

 

3) Identity and process of othering

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From lesson 2: Apartheid in process: An example of the “othering” that took place in the European narrative of black people.

Ellen Richardson: (description with representations without intersectionality – the subtextuality seems to be that she doesn’t agree with the acts)

Under Apartheid, people in South Africa were classified as belonging to a particular racial group: White, Black, Asian (or Indian) or Coloured. According to the Group Areas Act of 1950, the various racial groups had to be physically separated from each other. This meant that the country was divided into areas that were especially reserved for particular racial groups. Identity documents for Black and Coloured (othering and large-culture essentialism) people stopped them from moving into “White” areas. Sometimes members of the same family were classified in different racial groups and were forced to live apart.

It was difficult for non-White people to work in “White” areas. They had to have special permits and could not usually bring their families with them.

 

4) Representations (intersectionality/subtextuality)

 

Picture from ‘Apartheid – the background’

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This picture shows a representation of the South African people, both black and white fighting against the Apartheid.     

5) Intercultural narratives and discourses – language use in texts and media.

Heart of darkness (Book), Joseph Conrad (also identity and othering), ex. It tells a story from a time when native peoples of the African continent was considered savages.

Now when I was a little chap I had a passion for maps. I would look for hours at South America, or Africa, or Australia, and lose myself in all the glories of exploration. At that time there were many blank spaces on the earth, and when I saw one that looked particularly inviting on a map (but they all look that) I would put my finger on it and say, `When I grow up I will go there’.

Common Objectives for English after 7th grade
The teaching sequence is working towards the following Common Objectives within the “culture and society” field marked in bold:

Kultur og samfund Eleven kan indgå i enkle kulturmøder ved brug af forskellige medier Interkulturel kontakt Engelsk som adgang til verden Tekst og medier
1. Eleven kan give eksempler på forskelle og ligheder mellem kultur- og samfundsforhold i eget land og i engelsksprogede områder Eleven har viden om enkle kultur- og samfundsforhold i engelsksprogede områder Eleven kan deltage i udveksling af enkel information og produkter med elever i udlandet Eleven har viden om metoder til udveksling af information Eleven kan genkende typer af fagtekster på engelsk Eleven har viden om sproglige træk ved fagtekster
2. Eleven kan fortælle om kulturelle forskelle og ligheder i enkle kulturmøder Eleven har viden om udvalgte kultur- og samfundsgrupper Eleven kan med forberedelse og støtte bruge engelsk til internationale henvendelser Eleven har viden om engelsk som lingua franca Eleven kan sammenligne typer af fiktive tekster på engelsk Eleven har viden om enkle genretræk ved fiktionstekster
3. Eleven kan indgå i enkle forberedte kulturmøder Eleven har viden om sproglige regler, normer og værdier hos udvalgte grupper Eleven kan tage initiativ til kommunikation med personer i udlandet Eleven har viden om forskellige medier som adgang til international kontakt Eleven kan anvende varierede teksttyper i forskellige medier på engelsk Eleven har viden om sammenhæng mellem genre, indhold og formål

 

Text Analysis

Student’s text: A Resumé of How The Sun Came To Be

How The Sun Came To Be

The story is about a young woman. The woman have has been promised to be married with a man. She was gone for a long time. [Student left out important part, which could have aided with further understanding of the following sentence] When she arrived to a camp was there no food and no water. There was no place to sleep (fractioning sentences). The woman was hungry, thirsty and she was tired but the young woman has not given up because she felt that she was strong. And the woman went back to her own people. Afterwards the woman and her people walked over to a camp, where they sat down and ate food and drank some water. The young woman made a campfire (fractioning sentences). She made the campfire, and after the build she made it even bigger, so the people could be warm. So (missing: she) used the whole day building the campfire, so all the people could (missing: be) warm (repetition). After she saw that her people was happy. Her people was very grateful for the warmth, so they called her campfire the sun (missing: full stop)

Made by B.

Gibbons grid:

  • General comments
  • Text type
  • Overall organization (none)
  • Cohesion
  • Vocabulary
  • Sentence grammar
  • Spelling and punctuation
  • Presentation (none)

 

Feedback:

  • Feedback would be provided on mainly spelling and punctuation, and sentence grammar, on the basis that mistakes (wrong hypothesis) under these two categories are the most prevalent.
  • But also quick a comment on the overall meaning of the text, which fails when she leaves out an important part of the story.
  • Feedback given would include first and foremost corrections followed by examples of correct or improved sentence structure.
  • Feedback on sentence grammar could also correlate into the student improving on the cohesive mistakes she’s making in the text.

Scaffolding:

  • Pre-task activity that introduces the specific requirements of a resume (genre).