Using Multicultural Literature as a Tool for Multicultural Education in Teacher Education Juli-Anna Aerila



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Using Multicultural Literature as a Tool for Multicultural Education in Teacher Education

Juli-Anna Aerila
Abstract: Multicultural education has many challenges. In Finland, one of the largest challenges is the fact that the distribution of the immigrant population is imbalanced: almost 90 percent of the immigrants live in metropolitan areas and in other areas of Finland there are little or no immigrants at all. (Aerila & Kokkola, 2013) For this reason, schools and teachers' experiences on immigrant students vary a lot and even the teacher training schools may have difficulties in generating students with experiences on immigrant students. Reading multicultural literature gives the becoming teachers a chance to understand diversity of multicultural issues beyond the monocultural or tourist perspective (Dong, 2005; Norton, 2007; Short, 2007). Fiction is being increasingly used as a component of various university courses. Reading fiction enables us to learn about different situations, circumstances, and people not otherwise familiar to us. In addition while helping students to perhaps be more empathetic, fiction can give them factual information about various things (Boyles, 2006: Lu, 2000; Seeley, 1992). However fiction is used only in a little degree to support teacher students’ professional growth. This study presents an experiment where student teachers read and discuss multicultural literature in literature circles as part of their studies on multicultural education (Daniels, 2002; Fall, Webb & Chudowsky, 2000). The data of this research consist of 51 personal reading diaries and 15 memos on the literature circles. The research represents qualitative research and the data was analyzed by content analyses (Elo & Kyngäs, 2008). In this study the data formed three categories/perspectives on multiculturalism and multicultural literature: the usefulness of multicultural books in education, the relevance of reading multicultural books for personal and professional growth and the assessment of the quality of multicultural books. The preliminary results show that students value reading multicultural literature as a useful tool for the adult readers in empathizing with multicultural themes and learning about immigration and multiculturalism. However, students are skeptical about the possibilities of using multicultural children's literature as part of multicultural education in primary schools. The present study confirms the results of previous researches which indicate that teachers are insecure in using multicultural children’s literature in their teaching (Shioshita, 1997; Lehman, 2011; Louie, 2006). They fear that multicultural children’s literature may be offensive to some of their immigrant students or establish prejudices toward immigrant students.
Keywords: Multicultural Literature, Multicultural Education, Literature Education
Aerila, J.-A. & Kokkola, L. (2013). Multicultural Literature and the Use of Literature in Multicultural Education in Finland. Bookbird Journal 51/2, 39–50.

Boyles, M. (2006). The effects of multicultural literature in the classroom. Senior honors theses. Paper 62. Retrieved 12.6.2014 from http://commons.emich.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1061&context=honors.

Daniels, H. (2002). Literature circles: Voice and choice in book clubs and reading groups. Portland, ME: Stenhouse Publishers.

Dong, Y.R. (2005). Taking a cultural-response approach to teaching multicultural literature. The English Journal, 94(3), 55–71.

Elo, S. & Kyngäs, H. (2008). The qualitative content analysis process. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 62(1), 107–115. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2648.2007.04569.x.

Fall, R., Webb, N. M., & Chudowsky, N. (2000). Group discussion and large-scale language arts assessment: Effects on students' comprehension. American Educational Research Journal, 37(4), 911–941.

Lehman, B. (2011). Reading globally: The reader’s responsibility in literary transactions. In L. M. Pavonetti (Ed.). Bridges to understanding. Envisioning the world through children’s books (pp. 9–16). Plymouth: Scarecrow Press.

Leming, J. (2000). Tell me a story. An evaluation of a literature-based character education programme. Journal of Moral Education 29(4), 413–427.

Louie, B. (2006). Guiding principles for teaching multicultural literature. The Reading Teacher 59(5), 438–454.

Lu, M. (2000). Multicultural children’s literature in the elementary classroom. Retrieved 21.4.2000 from http://www.ed.gov/databases/ERIC%5FDigests/ed423552.html

Norton, D. (2005). Multicultural children’s Literature: Through the eyes of many children. Upper saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.

Seeley, H. N. (1992). Teaching Culture. Lincolnwood, IL: National Textbook Company.

Shioshita, J. (1997). Beyond Good Intentions: Selecting Multicultural Literature. Retrieved 27.7.2013 from http://www.4children.org/news/9-97mlit.html.

Short. K. (2007). Critically reading the word and the World. Building intercultural understanding through literature. Bookbird, 2, 2–10.



Vocabulary use in early school writing in Sweden

Åsa af Geijerstam
Abstract: Studies of vocabulary have shown that the size of an individual’s vocabulary is the most important factor when it comes to reading comprehension (e.g. Nation, 2001). Studies of vocabulary in written texts have further shown that aspects of vocabulary is a strong predictor of overall text quality, especially in the early school years (Olinghouse & Leaird, 2009). There are also international studies that have explored the written vocabulary of school writing in different genres, with the scope of establishing a core vocabulary of writing in different ages (Clendon & Erickson, 2008; Clendon, Sturm, & Cali, 2013; Graham, Harris, & Loynachan, 1993). These studies show that children’s productive vocabulary differs between speaking and writing, between different genres of writing, and also between different English-speaking countries. Although there are some studies of vocabulary based on Swedish student writing (Johansson Kokkinakis & Magnusson, 2011), more systematic studies of the vocabulary of early school writing in Sweden is still missing.

The aim of this study is thus to identify and describe the vocabulary used in narrative and informational texts in early school years. A corpus of texts from early school writing is built, and comparisons of vocabulary are made between different genres and grades. The study thereby contributes to the discussion of a possible core vocabulary of early writing in Swedish schools. The results from the study can also be used as a reference point for further studies.

This study is part of the project Function, content and form in interaction Students’ text-making in early school years (financed by the Swedish Research Council) where about 700 texts have been collected from two schools in Sweden during three years (grades 1-3 with students 6-10 years old). The text corpus for this study consists of narrative as well as informational texts. Word frequencies have been calculated with the corpus software “AntConc”.

Preliminary results show variation in vocabulary is greater in narrative than in informational texts, which can most likely be explained by the writing task given.


References

Clendon, S. A., & Erickson, K. A. (2008). The Vocabulary of Beginning Writers: Implications for Children with Complex Communication Needs. Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 24(4), 281–293. doi:10.1080/07434610802463999

Clendon, S. A., Sturm, J. M., & Cali, K. S. (2013). Vocabulary Use across Genres: Implications for Students with Complex Communication Needs. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 44(1), 61–72.

Graham, S., Harris, K., & Loynachan, C. (1993). The basic spelling vocabulary list. Journal of Educational research, 86.

Johansson Kokkinakis, S., & Magnusson, U. (2011). Computer based quantitative methods applied to first and second language student writing. I R. Källström & I. Lindberg (Reds), Young Urban Swedish. Variation and change in multilingual settings (ss 105–124). Göteborg: Göteborgs universitet.

Nation, I. S. P. (2001). Learning Vocabulary in Another Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Olinghouse, N. G., & Leaird, J. T. (2009). The Relationship between Measures of Vocabulary and Narrative Writing Quality in Second- and Fourth-Grade Students. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 22(5), 545–565.

Professional Learning for Israeli Literacy Teachers: A Practitioner Narrative Inquiry

Nikki Aharonian
Abstract: As governments the world over advocate the importance of teacher professional learning, researchers and practitioners continue to explore ways to enact that learning meaningfully. Although international reports on professional development (e.g. OECD, 2005) encourage collaboration and innovative practice, there is disagreement concerning which forms of professional development (PD) should be promoted (Doecke, Parr, & North, 2008). While policy makers in many western societies are mandating standardized forms of PD, other voices call for professional learning frameworks which are responsive to the needs of teachers in particular local educational contexts (e.g. Locke, 2001). There is, for example, increasing interest in PD programs offering L1 teachers an opportunity and a guided community in which to write and share their writing (e.g. Cremin & Myhill, 2012). The rationale for these programs emphasises the value of teachers experiencing and reflecting on writing in professional communities.

This paper reports on a PhD study which reflexively explores the situated learning of cohorts of Israeli L1 literacy educators who met regularly to write and contemplate their writing pedagogy in a government endorsed PD program. In the tradition of much narrative-based practitioner inquiry in education, I was both the researcher and the leader of this program. While firmly entrenched in current Israeli PD policy, the design of this 30 hour program was dialogical and non-traditional in nature. In this narrative inquiry, I critically and reflexively explore the ways some Israeli literacy educators, who have participated in this professional conversation and reflective writing, understand professional learning and its role in their practice and emerging professional identity. Data informing the study includes: teachers’ written reflections, letters, and narratives, collected over seven years in the program, semi-structured interviews and my own research journal. I use narrative based analysis and discourse analysis methods to make sense of this data. This type of inquiry does not hold generalization as its central aim (Williams, 2004); rather it zooms in and explores the specific and the situated nature of the professional learning these teachers are experiencing.


Keywords: professional learning; teacher writing; dialogic learning, practitioner inquiry; narrative inquiry

How the sentence becomes a planning unit: a developmental study of L1 French children texts

Emilie Ailhaud
Abstract: This study aims at analysing the sentence unit in French children’s written texts, in order to highlight how this unit becomes relevant with schooling, from a product- and a process-perspective. Sentences can be easily defined with graphical criteria, using punctuation marks. However, although there are semantic and syntactic coherence relations within a sentence, no linguistic criteria can be used to delimit a sentence: thus, sentences are not always linguistic units. Therefore, we can ask whether or not sentences are cognitive units, more specifically,is discourse planned at the sentence level? If it is, we can ask if young children engage in such planning, or does it developed during schooling, where the sentence is a central teaching concept (Paolacci & Favart, 2010). French students from 5th, 7th and 9th grade (i.e aged 9–10, 12–13 and 15–16 years; 40 participants in each group) were asked to produce narrative and expository texts. The texts were collected using a digitizing tablet connected to a computer; the Eye&Pen software (Chesnet & Alamargot, 2005)was used to record and extract chronometric data. Texts were divided in three kind of units: sentences, based on graphical criteria; Terminal Units(Hunt, 1965), which are syntactic units; and clauses. Initial pauses were analysed depending on syntactic location and across grade level: the initial pause is longer before sentences than clauses only for 9th grade children. Moreover, clauses were coded depending on the clause type. The analysis of clause initial pauses has shown a developmental pattern: for instance, no differences were found for 5th grade children, suggesting that text was planned at the clause level; the initial pause of subordinated clauses such as embedded clauses was shorter than non-subordinated clauses for 7th and 9th grade children. The results showing a sentence-level planning for older children will be first discussed from a cognitive perspective, such as the automation of low-levelprocesses, such as grapho-motor execution or orthography accuracy, which permit a larger planning span(McCutchen, 1996). The impact of teaching will be also considered, because the analysis of final product reveals that the sentences of older children are more canonical, essentially because of mastery of punctuation.
Keywords: written production, pauses, planning, development, sentence
References:

Chesnet, D., & Alamargot, D. (2005). Analyse en temps réel des activités oculaires et grapho-motrices du scripteur : intérêt du dispositif « Eye and Pen ». L’année psychologique, 105(3), 477–520.

Hunt, K. W. (1965). Grammatical structures written at three grade levels. In National Council of Teachers of English, III.

McCutchen, D. (1996). A capacity theory of writing: Working memory in composition. Educational Psychology Review, 8(3), 299–325.

Paolacci, V., & Favart, M. (2010). Traitement des marques de cohésion par les jeunes scripteurs: l’utilisation de la ponctuation et des connecteurs à l'entrée en sixième. Approche linguistique, cognitive. Langages, 177(1), 113–128.

What we have to do with data from International Literacy Studies (PIRLS’2006 and PISA’2009) and from National External Assessment. Achievements of Bulgarian learners in Literacy -L1 Reading

Tatyana G. Angelova
Abstract: Background of the study

Achievements of Bulgarian students in PIRLS’2006, PISA’2009 and in National External Assessment in Bulgarian language and Literature give us important information about the quality of L1 Reading. According to PISA the results of Bulgarian students are unsatisfactory. According to PIRLS survey - they are high. Bulgaria is the only country where the results from PISA and PIRLS are so different. National External Assessment proves statistically significant difference between students with high results and students with very low achievements in L1 reading.


Research question

What do we have to do with data from PIRLS’2006 and PISA’2009 and from National External Assessment in order to improve the quality of literacy education in Bulgaria? The rich available database provokes creating the system development strategy which could meet the changing demands of the labor market and the changing European educational context. The thesis argues that if we could manage the process of evaluation, we will be able to manage the quality of literacy education.


Theoretical framework

The strongholds of the theoretical framework are: the market orientated philosophy of assessment, lifelong learning, national educational tradition and the European educational context. There are two possible approaches in the management of the literacy education quality. PISA study provides arguments in favor of the labor market oriented approach. The second study, PIRLS, gives us philosophy of education, which is closer to Bulgarian tradition.


Methodology

The methodology is based on concepts such as literacy, functional literacy, multifunctional literacy


Data

The data is excerpted from PISA ‘2009, PIRLS’2006 and from external assessment in Bulgarian Language Teaching.


Discussion

Creating the strategy which has to promote literacy is a possible answer of the research question. Following the methodology we could outline three possible solutions. The first one – functional literacy should be preferred as a goal of national external evaluation. Another solution – assessment has to adhere to the philosophy of PIRLS (the main purpose – reading literacy). The third solution – to seek alternating periods in education related to the achievement of: a) literacy (first key competence according to the European framework), b) reading literacy, c) functional literacy, d) multifunctional literacy.

Keywords: Literacy Studies, L1 Reading, National External Assessment
References:

Analyzing the Results from External Assessment in Bulgaria (in Bulgarian)

http://cssc-bg.com/e-library/publications/text-books-cssc/angelova-2005

PIRLS’2006 International Report

http://timss.bc.edu/PDF/p06_international_report.pdf

PISA’2009 Results: What Students Know and Can Do http://www.oecd.org/pisa/pisaproducts/48852548.pdf



Literacy Practices and Skills and Reading Achievement in EU Countries: The Progress in International Reading Literacy Study 2011 (PIRLS)

Luisa Araujo
Abstract: Shared book reading and alphabet knowledge before the start of compulsory education are strong predictors of students’ reading achievement in primary school. Evidence indicates that children reap great benefits from parental book reading for it positively impacts later reading comprehension. Similarly, research shows that children’s ability to identify alphabet letters before school starts influences later reading ability. Studies with data from the Program for International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) have found that early literacy activities and skills impact achievement at the fourth grade level. PIRLS reports also indicate a positive relationship between parents having engaged in early literacy activities with their children and achievement and that students’ reading scores vary according to different parental education levels. This study tested whether frequency of book reading and extent of alphabet knowledge is associated with different reading achievement for students whose parents are from high and from low parental education levels in EU countries. Findings suggest that when comparing students of similar parental backgrounds there is a positive relationship between performance in reading and higher book reading frequency and higher alphabet knowledge. In general, for students whose parents have low educational levels high alphabet knowledge makes more of a difference in achievement than for students with high parental educational level. For students whose parents have high educational levels book reading can make more of a difference in students’ scores when compared with those whose parents have lower educational level, but not in all countries. Implications for policy are discussed in light of current efforts to boost literacy levels in EU countries.
Keywords: The Program for International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS), Reading achievement, home book reading, alphabet knowledge and parental education
Piaste, S, B. & Wagner, K. (2010) Developing early literacy skills: A meta-analysis of alphabet learning and instruction, Reading Research Quarterly, 45 (1), pp. 8-38.

Sénéchal, M. (2012). Child language and literacy development at home. In Barbara A. Wasik (Ed,). Handbook of Family Literacy. London: Taylor and Francis.

Sénéchal, M. (2006). Testing the home literacy model: Parental involvement in kindergarten is differentially related to grade 4 reading comprehension, fluency, spelling, and reading for pleasure. Journal of the Scientific Study of Reading, 10, 59-87.

Instruction in revision process: surface revision vs. deep revision

Olga Arias-Gundín
Abstract: Textual revision is considered, from general theoretical writing models, as an important process that affects directly the quality of texts written by students. Revision is conceived as a cognitive process of self-regulation in solving textual problems. When it is necessary to solve a problem within an existing text, the writer must recognize the problem and then take appropriate steps to correct it. Such problem-solving involves comparing a representation of the actual text to a representation of the intended text. Several processes in this sequence can be problematic for novice writers.

Aims for this study are firstly, to verify the efficacy of the use of instructional programs in modifying students’ revision of their texts, and secondly, to contribute information as regards the value of focusing instruction at the various level of textual depth (surface or deep).

88 students took part in the study; all the students were studying in the 2nd grade of Spanish Secondary Obligatory Education (E.S.O.), and ranged from 13 to 15 years old.

For this investigation, an experimental design using four groups was used. Three groups received training in one modality of the elaborated instructional programs (surface revision, deep revision or mixed revision). With rewriting task, we assessed productivity, coherence and revision; all of them are text-based measures.

The program uses dynamic assessment as the principal instructional resource with four levels of help as regards the selection and execution of the revision strategies. At the first level of help (minimal level), the students directly re-write the texts with the assistance of a series of self-questions. In the second level (middle I level), the texts are re-written with help of revision guides. At the third level of help (middle II level), we show a complete list of the revision strategies to facilitate the student’s choice for the re-writing of the text. During the last level of help (maximum level), we show the student a list of all the executed strategies from which he must choose and use when re-writing. Each level of help is worked on during two sessions.

The preliminary results reveal that training is effective.


Keywords. Revision process, instructional study, dynamic assessment, deep revision, surface revision.
References.

Allal, L., Chanquoy, L., & Largy, P. (2004). Revision cognitive and instructional processes. New York: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Arias-Gundín, O., & García, J. N. (2007). La tarea de reescritura para evaluar la revisión textual [The re-writing task to assess the textual revision]. Boletín de Psicología, 90, 33-58.

Hayes, J. (2004). What triggers revision? En L. Allal, L. Chanquoy, & P. Largy, Revision: cognitive and instructional processes (pp. 9-20). New York: Kluwer Academic Publisher.

McCutchen, D. (2011). From novice to expert: implications of language skills and writing-relevant knowledge for memory during the development of writing skill. Journal of Writing Research , 3 (1), 51-68.

How do students of Primary and Secondary Education revise?

Olga Arias-Gundín
Abstract: The theoretical models of the revision process consider textual revision to be a recursive activity carried out throughout the whole writing process and that it is closely united with memory as much at the working memory level as at the long term memory level and is influenced by different cognitive aspects and individual factors. With this in mind, reflexive revision is characteristic in writers with greater skill who attend to and effect changes both at a surface level and a deep level, altering even the meaning of the text produced up to that moment. Whereas, on the contrary, less skilled writers revise their texts in a more sporadic and less exact fashion, centring on the mechanical aspects such as spelling and punctuation etc. They even develop a concept of writing in which they equate textual quality with good presentation and the lack of surface errors.

We examined the acquisition of the skills involved in the revision process of writing by means of a rewriting task. We expect that the emphasis on the surface aspects of the revision diminishes relative to the student’s age at the same time as it increases as regards the deep aspects, supposing that the first skills that are acquired are the mechanical skills as their automation is necessary for the development of accurate revision of the semantic aspects that are acquired later.

This is a descriptive cross-sectional study, in which 958 students took part from 24 schools in the province of León. They were studying in the 5th-6th grade of Spanish Primary Education and in the 1st-2nd grade of Spanish Secondary Obligatory Education, and ranged in age from 9 to 14 years old.

With rewriting task, and by means of text-based measures, we assessed productivity, coherence and revision.

The preliminary results show that for these educational levels the surface aspects are almost acquired as no statistically significant changes were observed in them. On the contrary, we can observe significant changes in two strategies related to deep revision: addition and deletion, that is, these strategies are the first that students acquire.
Keywords. Revision process, rewriting task, deep revision, surface revision.
References.

Allal, L., Chanquoy, L., & Largy, P. (2004). Revision cognitive and instructional processes. New York: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Arias-Gundín, O., & García, J. N. (2007). La tarea de reescritura para evaluar la revisión textual [The re-writing task to assess the textual revision]. Boletín de Psicología, 90, 33-58.

Hayes, J. (2004). What triggers revision? En L. Allal, L. Chanquoy, & P. Largy, Revision: cognitive and instructional processes (pp. 9-20). New York: Kluwer Academic Publisher.

McCutchen, D. (2011). From novice to expert: implications of language skills and writing-relevant knowledge for memory during the development of writing skill. Journal of Writing Research , 3 (1), 51-68.

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