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Teaching and learning the spoken and written word simultaneously in mixed-ability, English primary school classrooms

Teaching and learning the spoken and written word simultaneously in mixed-ability, English primary school classrooms
Teaching and learning the spoken and written word simultaneously in mixed-ability, English primary school classrooms
English education policy and curricula promote reading and writing as an integral part of second language learning; yet recent evidence notes that literacy remains undeveloped in both primary and secondary school Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) programmes (Cable et al., 2010; OFSTED, 2011). The problematic nature of literacy instruction is, to some extent, grounded in audio-lingual approaches to language learning and the complexity of providing “languages for all” in mixed-ability classrooms (Moys, 1996: 84). Bearing in mind the importance of literacy (e.g. decoding skills) in language learning motivation, finding research-based solutions to improve the “parlous state” of language learning in English schools is crucial (Macaro & Erler, 2008; Macaro & Mutton, 2009: 117).

This paper presents findings from a 10 month action research study exploring the teaching and learning of MFL literacy in two English primary schools with 45 beginner learners of French aged 9-11. Whilst existing pedagogical advice often tends to favour the acquisition of oral forms first (Jones & Coffey, 2006: 46, 50), this teaching intervention proposed that print and sound can be developed simultaneously with beginner learners and adopted an integrated, systematic approach to L2 literacy. Learner attainment was tracked through a mix of weekly classroom-based observations and formal tests. Findings support the premise that beginner-level FL literacy and oracy can and should be developed simultaneously. This recommendation is supported with evidence that, while individual differences are evident, sensitive planning and a degree of autonomy (Little, 2007) can result meaningful progress in mixed-ability classrooms.
Porter, Alison
978474c5-8b0b-4dc6-8463-3fd68162d0cd
Porter, Alison
978474c5-8b0b-4dc6-8463-3fd68162d0cd

Porter, Alison (2014) Teaching and learning the spoken and written word simultaneously in mixed-ability, English primary school classrooms. BAAL 10th Teaching and Learning SIG, Leeds, United Kingdom.

Record type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

Abstract

English education policy and curricula promote reading and writing as an integral part of second language learning; yet recent evidence notes that literacy remains undeveloped in both primary and secondary school Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) programmes (Cable et al., 2010; OFSTED, 2011). The problematic nature of literacy instruction is, to some extent, grounded in audio-lingual approaches to language learning and the complexity of providing “languages for all” in mixed-ability classrooms (Moys, 1996: 84). Bearing in mind the importance of literacy (e.g. decoding skills) in language learning motivation, finding research-based solutions to improve the “parlous state” of language learning in English schools is crucial (Macaro & Erler, 2008; Macaro & Mutton, 2009: 117).

This paper presents findings from a 10 month action research study exploring the teaching and learning of MFL literacy in two English primary schools with 45 beginner learners of French aged 9-11. Whilst existing pedagogical advice often tends to favour the acquisition of oral forms first (Jones & Coffey, 2006: 46, 50), this teaching intervention proposed that print and sound can be developed simultaneously with beginner learners and adopted an integrated, systematic approach to L2 literacy. Learner attainment was tracked through a mix of weekly classroom-based observations and formal tests. Findings support the premise that beginner-level FL literacy and oracy can and should be developed simultaneously. This recommendation is supported with evidence that, while individual differences are evident, sensitive planning and a degree of autonomy (Little, 2007) can result meaningful progress in mixed-ability classrooms.

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More information

Published date: 3 July 2014
Venue - Dates: BAAL 10th Teaching and Learning SIG, Leeds, United Kingdom, 2014-07-02
Organisations: Modern Languages

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 381623
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/381623
PURE UUID: 3e3a5c87-e400-4821-9afb-51e8fb701d0b
ORCID for Alison Porter: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-8462-1909

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 08 Oct 2015 14:41
Last modified: 18 Feb 2021 17:17

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