Linking literacies across languages: A whole-school approach to L1/L2 literacy for diverse learner contexts

Year: 2016

Author: Slaughter, Yvette, Truckenbrodt, Andrea

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Education systems in English-speaking countries are increasingly developing strategies and policies designed to facilitate language leaning in more and more diverse student populations. These procedural documents advocate for the inclusion of EAL students in second language classes in order for them to benefit from the commonalities in language learning strategies, to build on already developing skills in language acquisition, as well as having opportunities to share their own cultural and linguistic frameworks. While there is a breadth of research that supports the argument that academic, linguistic, and cognitive skills readily transfer between languages, these arguments need to be carefully examined to determine which components best apply to the language learning experiences of students in Australians schools, particularly for EAL and refugee students.This presentation explores the creation a model of whole-school literacy planning, which explicitly addresses the needs of EAL students through the study of languages other than English. The model draws on insights from the fields of linguistics and literacy pedagogy in order to develop literacy-focused curricula for language classes, addressing key components from the macro to the micro level to a school environment. We also discuss the development and implementation of literacy-based units of work in languages other than English, which have been designed to cater for speakers of other languages who are in the process of learning English and developing formal literacy skills. Each of the units is framed by a piece of quality literature in the form of a picture storybook. We demonstrate how the use of authentic texts can facilitate the development of the target language while simultaneously providing opportunities to develop, refine and consolidate general literacy knowledge, skills and understanding. The important programmatic factors are described and exemplified. The paper concludes with a discussion of the potential of such a model to facilitate curriculum integration, while addressing the language needs of all students.