Thursday 8 February 2018

Language Acquisition & Development as the Inquiry Lens into your subject/level - Dr Jannie van Hees

The overall focus for Manaikalani schools this year is oral language. Many have noticed (and some have already started researching...) that our 5 year olds turn up to school with the oral literacy of a 3 year old. Hence, they are behind from the beginning. This also contributes to issues later in their schooling lives, as they do not have the vocabulary and/or confidence to express their feelings, thoughts and thought processes and reasoning behind their actions. So, Manaiakalani has this cluster wide focus on oral literacy in hopes of changes those things.

“Language in Abundance”, Language Acquisition, development, Transfer and sustaining
across school levels and curriculum domains.

Language in abundance environments ‘drip’ with language availability
and attention, where noticing and relevant use of words allow for
deeper, wider, more specific and precise, context appropriate
language expression…leading to knowing at deeper and broader
levels. Dr. Jannie Van Hees

Words are the key to accessing everything - spoken, read or heard. Words matter.

Imagine.. what do you know, what don't you know and what could you learn.

For example...
Learning condition 1 - DEMO ONLY

I wouldn't know.. how to describe what I saw, name the items I needed, describing the actions the person did (i.e. fold in half, pressed the tape down, bent the wire).
I would maybe be able to... think about what I could see in my own language in my head.

I wouldn't know.. how to keep up with her speed,
I would maybe know.. how to read the instructions instead of listening to them, be able to slow it down or replay it so I could read the words properly,

The point is ...

  • with language can we pick out, go further, clarify, define etc etc. Without words, you can't do any of that.
  • A mixture of spoken, heard and read gives you more access to the words, or potentially more to connect/discuss between these mediums.
  • We should focus on the actual words as well as the meaning those words carry. They should be involved in the words.
  • 'we are in the dialogue of meaning making' - Jannie
For this to happen...
  • Students must feel safe to say whatever they think (no such things as dumb/stupid/wrong) and that everything everybody says is of value (not one students ideas more valued than others)
  • Talking aloud allowed
  • Students must both receive and give
  • Make it normal for children to explain - how I'm feeling, what I'm thinking, why I did that, what I want, explaining the meaning of things/words/ideas/processes
  • Make deliberate acts for the language to be there - don't just hope they stumble across the word
  • Not just surround children with language, involve them with language

"Unless you have definitive proof that they can't, assume that they can" - Donna Ryan

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