Saturday, April 17, 2004

What Elementary Teachers Need To Know about Language.

What Elementary Teachers Need To Know about Language. Just in case you don't know all of this already. It is a good summary of the basics of oral and written communication.

From the site:

Over the past decade, education reforms have raised the educational bar that all children in the United States--including newcomers--must clear to finish school and participate in the economic and social world of the 21st century. These reforms place tremendous pressures on children and teachers: In addition to mastering the content-area curriculum, children must become skilled users of language. They must be highly competent in reading and writing to pass the various assessments that constitute gateways for completing school, getting into college, and finding jobs. Teachers need a wealth of content and pedagogical knowledge to ensure that they are providing appropriate instruction to all students. Teachers also need a thorough understanding of educational linguistics--how language figures in education. This foundation would support teachers' practice overall, and in particular, it would help them teach literacy skills (Snow, Burns, & Griffin, 1998), especially to English language learners (August & Hakuta, 1998). If approached coherently, preparation in educational linguistics would cover many items on lists of teacher competencies, such as skills in assessing children, individualizing instruction, and respecting diversity. This Digest summarizes some basic aspects of oral and written language about which elementary teachers need expertise in order to promote literacy. However, it is only one part of the formula for effective teaching. How literacy skills should be taught and how teachers can learn what they need to know about language are beyond the scope of this Digest.


Classroom teachers and other educators should be able to answer a basic set of questions regarding oral and written language. Underlying their knowledge should be an understanding that oral language proficiency developed first in the native language (and often in a second language) serves as the foundation for literacy and as the means for learning in school and out. Teachers need to know how written language contrasts with speech so they can help their students acquire literacy.


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