27 SES 09 B, Knowledge and Inclusion
The language of schooling has been a topic of research and dispute in the educational field for long. It became particularly controversial with the work of Basil Bernstein (1971) who distinguished empirically between an elaborated code which not every school child can master – and a restricted code associated with language use in certain social classes, especially in families with limited discourse and education practice. The following discussion centered mainly on issues of functionality: whether the disposition and use of a restricted code would allow its speakers to act as functionally adequate and successful as those commanding over a more elaborated way of language use - or whether ALL learners as future citizens would need to acquire an elaborated code of language use in order not to be excluded, to make full use of the curriculum, to express themselves differentially and participate as equals in democratic discourse and decision-making processes (functionality versus deficiency approach). The debate was never finalized.
Based on research of bilingualism in Canada, Jim Cummins came up in 1979 with a similar notions “Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency” (CALP) describing the type of language needed when the tasks in school become more complex and require more abstract ways of thinking and arguing: He identified CALP (not only for bilinguals) as the key component for the successful acquisition of new knowledge, for linking this knowledge with existing elements/insights and for applying it within a number of socially and cognitively demanding contexts. More recently, this was confirmed: the registers of language for successful subject learning have been divided into four layers: 1. Basic Interpersonal communication skills (BICS) 2. School Navigational Language (SNL) 3. Cognitive/Essential Academic Language (CALP) 4. Curriculum Content Language (CCL=subject-specific terminology).(cf. Schleppegrell 2004, Scarcella 2003, 2003).
Several attempts are under way to describe in more general terms and in detail what academic language is and how it can be taught to learners who are “vulnerable” in the sense that they do not bring this language register with them, but rather have to be taught explicitly for acquiring and using it (Thürmann, Vollmer & Pieper, 2010; Zwiers, 2104). Others focus on assessing academic language skills (e.g. Bailey & Heritage 2008, WIDA, 2014). With the increase of migration flows within the last years, especially in Europe, and the political will for inclusive education the scope of vulnerability and disadvantaged learners has expanded enormously. Accordingly, issues of academic language learning for all including children and adults with a migrant background have become most acute; they challenge the quality and equality of the educational system(s) and the cohesiveness of society.
In my paper, I will focus on four aspects of this complex educational issue: 1. How can or should academic language be defined? 2. Is academic language proficiency necessary for each and all learners and should it be taught explicitly (if need be)? 3. How exactly can these cognitive-linguistic skills and their development be supported for the different groups of learners by different subject teachers over time and even be evaluated as to progress and success? 4. What is the overall (minimal) level of academic language proficiency for active participation in democratic citizenship? All of these are questions at the center of any didactics, especially subject didactics and of interdisciplinary cooperation among different didactics. They will be dealt with on the basis of my own research, teaching experience and curriculum expertise.
Following these questions, I will first start to compare different approaches of defining and operationalizing school language in general and academic language (proficiency) in particular (Schleppegrell, 2004; Bailey & Heritage, 2008; Anstrom et al., 2010). Justifying the need of academic language ability for all (Q2) I will include socio-political insights and knowledge at the intersection with language capabilities. I will show how lack of academic proficiency will lead to a lack of school success (Council of Europe 2014; Thürmann, Vollmer & Pieper, 2010). On the other hand, I will demonstrate that all forms of verbal representation and the whole array of semiotic means for meaning-making are required in all the disciplines and school subjects. As an example, I will analyze science education and identify the items of linguistic competence for that domain (Vollmer, 2010) in order to show how much language is an integral part of it. Concerning Q3 I will make use of handbooks, materials and scaffolding techniques which exist already, suggesting ways of supporting academic language development integrated into topical learning within different subjects. I will particularly draw on products resulting from a project of the Council of Europe which has given special attention to these issues of inequality and exclusion caused by language on a Europe-wide scale, for adults (Beacco, Krumm, Little & Thalgott, 2017) and for school children alike (Beacco, Fleming, Goullier, Thürmann & Vollmer, 2016). In the US, English Language Learners (ELL) receive similar attention, also aiming at the development of academic language proficiency through subject learning and their continuous assessment (WIDA, 2014; Zwiers, 2014). In Germany, with many migrant newcomers, special didactic approaches for integrating them linguistically, strengthening their language competence across the curriculum on all stages of education, have been designed, supported by research grants and the institutionalization of efforts. I will explain why we speak of “Bildungssprache” and “Durchgängige Sprachbildung” as principled approaches supporting language development from early years on until the end of schooling (Lange & Gogolin, 2010; Vollmer & Thürmann, 2013; Becker-Mrotzek & Roth, 2017). Finally, I will introduce the term “language-sensitive teaching” as a goal of teacher awareness and all training, materialising in preparing, conducting and assessing subject lessons and students’ learning (Vollmer & Thürmann, 2016; Tajmel & Hägi-Mead, 2017). On the fourth level finally, I will illustrate curriculum approaches from Northrhine-Westphalia and Norway which attempt to define minimal standards of school language competence for all future citizens.
The inequalities mediated through the language of schooling in an almost hidden way, especially within subject teaching and learning, have not yet been fully identified nor overcome - all the opposite: The number of disadvantaged learners has not much reduced over time, the school as an institution still seems to serve mainly other groups of learners who already bring a certain “academic” language competence with them. Children from unfavorable socio-economic conditions or with a migrant background as well as many of those who need specific didactic care and attention are still largely unattended, they are underachievers, as PISA shows. Yet there are slow improvements and certainly there are many possibilities to gradually address and overcome these negative effects of schooling, as my presentation has shown. In concrete, all teachers of all subjects have to deal with the language dimensions of their subject and of schooling as such, from the first phase of teacher education onwards. In particular, they have to understand the language demands as built into the fabric of their subject-matter and into their teaching of it - and they have to open towards the insight that school is meant to serve the learners and not the other way around, that everyone has the right to school success and to a cognitive-linguistic outfit for life and for participation. The critical role of the language of schooling has been clearly identified in this context, but also various means of softening its effects and of developing academic skills on the way towards higher proficiency which serve the individual as much as the society. All of this can be summarized under the perspective of developing and practicing various forms of language-sensitive teaching within all subjects: this would be the beginning of an educational change, highly needed, yes overdue AND certainly feasible!
Anstrom, K., DiCerbo, P., Butler, F., Katz, A., Millet, J., & Rivera, C. (2010). A review of the literature on academic language: Implications for K–12 English language learners. Arlington, VA: George Washington University. Bailey, A.L. & Heritage, M. (2008). Formative Assessment for Literacy, Grades K-6: Building reading and academic language skills across the curriculum. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin. Beacco, Fleming, Goullier, Thürmann & Vollmer, (2016). A Handbook on Curriculum Development and Teacher Training: The Language Dimension in All Subjects. Strasbourg: Council of Europe (CoE). Beacco, Jean-Claude, Krumm, Hans-Jürgen, Little, David & Thalgott, Philia (eds.) (2017). The Linguistic Integration of Adult Migrants. Some lessons from research. Strasbourg/ Berlin: CoE/de Gruyter. Becker-Mrotzek, Michael & Roth, Hans-Joachim (eds.) (2017). Sprachliche Bildung – Grundlagen und Handlungsfelder. Münster: Waxmann. Bernstein, Basil (1971). Class, Codes and Control. London: Routledge. Coffin, C. (2006). Historical discourse: The language of time, cause and evaluation. London: Continuum. Council of Europe (2011). Language in Education – Language for Education. See Platform http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/linguistic/LangEduc/LE_PlatformIntro_en.asp. Hollie, Sherroky (2015). Strategies for Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Teaching and Learning. Huntingdon Beach: Shell Education. Jostes, Brigitte, Caspari, Daniela & Lütke, Beate (eds.). Sprachen – Bilden – Chancen: Sprachbildung in Didaktik und Lehrkräftebildung. Münster: Waxmann. Lange, Ingrid & Gogolin, Ingrid (2010). Durchgängige Sprachbildung. Eine Handreichung. Münster: Waxmann. Scarcella, R. (2003). Academic English: a conceptual framework. Santa Barbara, CA: University of California. Schleppegrell, Mary J. (2004). The Language of Schooling. A Functional Linguistics Perspective. Mahwah NJ: Erlbaum. Tajmel, Tanja & Hägi-Mead, Sara (2017). Sprachbewusste Unterrichtsplanung. Münster: Waxmann. Thürmann, Eike, Vollmer, Helmut & Pieper, Irene (2010). Languages of schooling: focusing on vulnerable learners. Strasbourg: CoE. Thürmann, Eike & Vollmer, Helmut (2017). Sprachliche Dimensionen fachlichen Lernens. In Becker-Mrotzek & Roth, 299-320. Vollmer, Helmut (2010). Items for a description of linguistic competence in the language of schooling necessary for learning/teaching sciences (at the end of compulsory education). An approach with reference points. Strasbourg: CoE. Vollmer, Helmut & Thürmann, Eike (2013). Sprachbildung und Bildungssprache als Aufgabe aller Fächer der Regelschule. In M. Becker-Mrotzek, K. Schramm, E. Thürmann & H. J. Vollmer (eds.), Sprache im Fach. Münster: Waxmann, 41-57. Vollmer, Helmut & Thürmann, Eike (2016). Language sensitive teaching of so-called non-language subjects: A checklist. In Beacco et al., 149-155. WIDA (2014). Can Do Descriptors. https://www.wida.us/standards/CAN_DOs/. Zwiers, J. (2014). Building academic language. Essential practices for content classrooms. 2nd edition. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
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