Friday, 9 February 2018

New Beginnings

Our first Meeting 
Thursday 8th February:

“Language in Abundance”, Language Acquisition, development, Transfer and sustaining across school levels and curriculum domains, is the focus for the 2018 COL inquiries. It is a challenging focus that immediately ignites 'critical thinking. The recognition and value of oral language is vital to promote literacy skills, which in my case will focus on reading but this inevitably linked with writing for my target group of students.   

Dr Rebecca Jesson
Meta Analysis of Inquiries by Wolf Fisher.

Data and evidence gathered  from teachers' inquiries' will be used by the Wolf Fisher 
to analyse for the purpose of identifying the Learn, Create, Share practices that contribute
and promote accelerated learning for students.

We were fortunate to have Dr Jannie Van Hees, at this meeting. She reinforced the importance of having an 'Abundance' of language in situations that optimise not only language development but include cognitive opportunities.

For me, while self monitoring ‘to ensure that I am promoting opportunity for students to talk - to interact with each other, rather than respond to my questions, I recognise also that increasing the levels of student voice with support the development of ‘Language in Abundance.’.

‘ Language in abundance environments drip’ with language opportunities, combined with ‘noticing’ and the 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.

Language in abundance is not a programme - it is language (lots of it) that requires optimizing conditions that engage the brain to build and enrich language development - drippingly available language - which is more than the displays of words around the class.
? How can we do this?  Rich Learning? I need to construct understanding and view examples of this to deepen my own understanding.

Jannie's presentation flashed me back to my days as a junior teacher.  As I listened,  I began reflecting on my practices then and now at the other end of the school.  On a personal note I do believe that those years in the junior school have been a definite plus and I have always felt that I have taken that knowledge, skills and understanding to the middle school and now to the intermediate level.  

One aspect of her presentation looked at the making of a kite.. 
We were reminded that Learning conditions make a difference and that limited verses rich language situations and the evaluation of resources is essential in promoting this. 
I searched for the example that Jannie used in her presentation and there sure is an abundance of examples on how to make a kite and most definitely as an adult who has some (be it little) knowledge of making a kite, some of these examples were challenging.  

Optimising  Learning Conditions  that promotes language:

  • Students need to feel comfortable.
  • Needs to be inclusive and accepting class culture all contributions respect/ value
  • Model conversation - include opportunities for this.
  • Information received is then tried out - learners make connections with what was said and
  • what is said to link information (there should be a relationship between the first statement
  • and those that follow  and the dialogue is indicative of making meaning.
  • Students must be ready to explain what happened - to show understand of word meaning
  • using content specific language that extends vocab of learner.
Key points 
The key points were certainly indicative of a junior class. 
The key concept for me with this was NOTICING... and then what followed.
The need to revisit to adapt to build a language rich environment that provided inclusive opportunities for learning, emphasis on oral language and discussion to increase understanding not to mention hands on i.e. physical collaborative learning time and the development of  language in context. 
Talk ... Conversation

Pondering.. Has time impacted on the level of these essential aspects of a language rich environment?

Group Discussion:
  • Assessment? Possible Tools? 
  • Burt word test - old but a possibility
  • Junior school oral language assessment tools
  • Should we all be using the same tool?
  • Is the focus 'talk' or is talk part of language acquisition?
  • Ellps - ESOL assessment ?

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