31 SES 14 A, Expectations of Teachers Regarding Migrant Pupils and School Success: Exclusion effect of a narrow focus on the school language
For multilingual learners (MLLs) learning to read in the language of schooling, the multiple challenges of developing complex decoding and comprehension skills (Tennent, 2015) are compounded by the practical reality that those competences are being developed in a language that MLLs have yet to master (Donovan, 2017). This challenge, we argue, can be mitigated by pedagogically appropriate interventions by teachers in ways that affirm pupils’ perceptions of themselves as learners, and their experiences and knowledge of the world (Tennent, 2015). The ‘Think Aloud’ approach to supporting literacy development has been reported to be particularly effective for multilingual learners (Ness & Kenny, 2016; Wang, 2016). We observed the implementation of this strategy was in a primary classroom setting, where it was used in conjunction with other supportive pedagogies for MLLs, which included: Appropriate modeling of language by teachers throughout the activity (Casanave, 1988; McEwan & Gentilucci, 2007), and Choice of text(s) that are culturally relevant to MLLs’ prior knowledge and experiences (Ladson-Billings, 1995; Gravelle, 2010). Teachers were interviewed for information about the thinking/planning that underpinned their implementation strategies in ‘Think Aloud’, including the opportunities they created to reinforce positive expectations of MLLs in explicit and implicit ways. These insights were then triangulated against the observation data, as well as MLLs’ reading scores over three months of the intervention. Our findings suggest that the implementation of ‘Think Aloud’ in combination with other effective MLL pedagogic strategies afford significant opportunities for teachers to articulate - explicitly and implicitly – their positive expectations of pupils’ performance and engagement with the reading activities. Furthermore, this combination appeared to be sufficiently impactful to raise MLLs’ reading scores over the relatively short intervention period; which we suggest could be viewed as a powerful self-fulfilling prophesy, sparked off by positive teacher expectations of MLLs’ learning potential.
Casanave, C.P. (1988). Comprehension monitoring in ESL reading: A neglected essential. TESOL quarterly, 22, 283-302. Donovan, S. (2017) ‘Think aloud’ as an approach to support reading for EAL learners in an east London primary school. Unpublished Masters dissertation. University of East London Gravelle, M. (2010) Planning for Bilingual Learners: An Inclusive Curriculum. Staffordshire: Trentham Books Ltd. Ladson-Billings (1995). Toward a theory of culturally relevant pedagogy. McKeown, R. and Gentilucci, J. (2007). Think-aloud strategy: Metacognitive development and monitoring comprehension in the middle school second-language classroom. Journal of adolescent and adult literacy. 51 (2), 136-147. Ness, M. and Kenny, M. (2016). Improving the quality of think-alouds. The Reading Teacher. 69 (4), 453-460. Tennent, W. (2015) Understanding reading comprehension. London: SAGE. Wang, Y. (2016). Reading Strategy Use and Comprehension Performance of More Successful and Less Successful Readers: A Think-aloud Study. Education Sciences: Theory and Practice. 16 (5), 1790-1813.
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