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

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Code-switching: a strategy for teaching and learning or a problem?

Eureka, B. Mokibelo
Abstract: This article discusses code-switching in selected Botswana primary schools as used as a strategy for teaching and learning. Code-switching from English (official language), to Setswana (Botswana’s national language) and vice versa, was observed in both rural and urban primary school classrooms where the language of instruction is supposed to be English in standard two and subsequent primary school levels (Republic of Botswana, 1994). Teachers are the key participants observed at different times and teaching different lessons. The Constructivism Learning Theory is used in this paper as bedrock to position both the teachers and learners practices in the theory (Hein, 1991). Data were collected using open ended questionnaires, classroom observations and interviews. The findings indicate that code-switching to Setswana to English or English to Setswana in this study was used where it was not necessary with ethnic minority learners who did not speak Setswana as a first language and where most learners were proficient and competent in English. The findings are significant in that they could help the teachers to reflect on the code switching practices they do unnecessarily and see if they benefit the learners or not and probably refrain from such. The conclusion was that code-switching becomes a problem because teachers used it to their own advantage while it disadvantaged the learners.
Keywords: code-switching, languages of instruction, rural, urban.

Hein, G. (1991). Constructivism Learning Theory: The museum and the needs of people. Paper presented at the CECA conference in Jerusalem. Israel.

Republic of Botswana, (1994). The Revised National Policy on Education. Gaborone. Government Printers.

Evaluating the quality of written knowledge based on literature in collaborative, inquiry based blog-supported environment by the SOLO taxonomy

Pal Molnar
Abstract: This study investigate the quality of the knowledge created in written texts (N=81) of an undergraduate learning community in higher education context. The quality of written texts is determined by the cognitive process of written composition (Galbraith, 1999). In written compositions we can evaluate the outcome of the observed learning and the quality of the knowledge with the SOLO taxonomy (Biggs and Collis, 1982; Biggs and Tang, 2007). At schools, by using networked tools the learning communities could act as connected classes (Richardson and Mancabelli, 2011). In blog based learning environments with blogging-to-learn (Burgess, 2006) approach the learning communities could act as communities of inquiry (Garrison, Anderson, and Archer, 2000). In this context writing could be inquiry (Emig, 1977) and discovery (Galbraith, 1999;2009) process, where learners use existing resources to construct new knowledge based on the information of these resources.

The students of this study are undergraduate BA university students. Most of the time they learn in traditional lectures, where they are passive listeners, and at the end of the semester they take exams by the given literature. On the contrary, in this treatment, they worked collaboratively, in writing centered, blog based learning environment. The aim of the course is to familiarize themself with the literature of the field, by active, collaborative knowledge building approach.

The main research question is that what will be the quality of the texts the students wrote in blg based collaborative, technology intensive learning situation in formal university context?

We evaluated the quality of the knowledge represented in the written texts with levels of the SOLO taxonomy. According to the results, the students used only up to five sources max, on average two (82%). Significant number of the authors used online texts without mention the author (74%). Small amount of the students indicated literature relevant to the main topic of the course (9%). Also, in the texts appeared mixed sources (textbooks, articles and blog posts, online texts) without the mention of the authors (15%). The quality of the literature elaboration process showed significant multistructural level (62%). There was connections between the information items of the literature, but without associations. Small amount of the texts was unistructural (18%). In this level the elaboration of the literature was limited only to the reproduction of the literature. Few students have completed the relational level (11%). There was some explanations of new knowledge and appeared viewpoints without change of perspectives. The texts of extended abstract level was minimal (8%), where preconceptions are embedded in the texts. The results showed that without relevant support the students struggle compositing texts based on the literature. It seems that text composition in online learning environment is difficult for undergraduate students, but students need higher order cognitive operations to elaborate the literature.

Keywords: writing to learn, CSCL, SOLO taxonomy, blogging to learning, networked learning

Biggs, J., and Collis, K. (1982): Evaluating the quality of learning – the SOLO Taxonomy. New York. Academic Press.

Biggs, J., and Tang, C. (2007). Teaching for Quality Learning at University (Third Edition). Open University Press.

Burgess, J. E. (2006). Blogging to learn, learning to blog. In Bruns, A. and Jacobs, J. S. (Eds.), Uses of Blogs. New York: Peter Lang.

Emig, J. (1977). Writing as a mode of learning. College Composition and Communication, 28(2), 122–128.

Galbraith, D., and Rijlaarsdam, G. (1999). Effective strategies for the teaching and learning of writing. Learning and Instruction, 9(2), 93-108.

Gailbraith, D. (2009): Writing about what we know: Generating ideas in writing. In: Beard, R., Myhill, D., Riley, J. and Nystrand, M. (Eds.): The SAGE Handbook of writing development. London, Sage Publicatoins, London. 48–67.

Garrison, D. R., Anderson, T., and Archer, W. (2000). Critical inquiry in a text-based environment: Computer conferencing in higher education. The Internet and Higher Education, 2(2-3), 87-105.

Richardson, W., and Mancabelli, R. (2011): Personal Learning Networks: Using the Power of Connections to Transform Education. Solution Tree.

Reading multicultural fiction with upper secondary students: Shift in perspective and aestethic challenges

Tammi G. Nadel
Abstract: Literature education in Sweden today faces new challenges due to a shift in curriculum (2011) as well as the fact that the students reflect an increasingly globalized world. However, teachers in Sweden rarely, if ever, introduce literature in the classroom that moves beyond the Western canon (Statens kulturråd 2004). One of the aims of literature education is to give the students opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of themselves, as well as others, through fiction (Lgr 11, Gy 11). However, previous research show that since students tend to read and interpret fiction from their own perspective and personal experience, making connections to texts from cultures very different from their own proves to be difficult (Beach 1998, Beach, Heartling & Parks 2008, Cruz, Jordan 2010, Dong 2005, Louie 2006). This on going study aims to explore and describe what strategies and tools Swedish upper secondary students need in order to read and interpret short stories from Kenya and South Africa on different levels; as windows to the world and as fictional aesthetic texts.
The study is set up with a transformative agenda as an intervention study based on a synthesis of theory (Barab and Squire 2004). A qualitative case study design was adopted with the features of being interventionist (a design set up as part of everyday school practise with the aim of improving it), collaborative (the teachers are included in the discussion of the design) and iterative. By its design the study will hopefully contribute with some insights into the teaching of multicultural fiction and possibly on a small-scale decrease the theory-practice gap in education (Degerman 2013, Reichenberg 2012). During the first cycle (spring 2014) the group of students was homogeneous, highly motivated students with similar socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds, with a special interest in global issues, which was their school’s profile. In contrast, the students during the second cycle (autumn 2014) were from a different school, heterogeneous in all aspects and many had a documented reluctance to reading fiction.
The fiction chosen for the study originated from cultures that were unfamiliar for most of the students, as well as having a challenging literary form. Different short stories where used for cycle one (Kenya) and cycle two (South Africa) as a result of the practising teacher’s belief that the first text was too long and would discourage the students even before reading. The focus of analysis is the students written texts, but data includes field notes, recorded group conversations and a survey.
Preliminary results indicate that in order to connect to the texts, the students are helped by pre-reading information about the history and society of the texts they read. Also, reading strategies, such as asking questions to the text, particularly help students who are unfamiliar with reading complex fiction. The study also implies a need for the students to practise a shift in perspectives and be made aware that they, as individuals, as well as the fictional characters, are affected by their surrounding society and circumstances which in turn can explain norms, believes and actions in a specific context.
keywords: reading, multicultural literature, interpretation, intervention study

Barab, S., & Squire, K. (2004). Design-Based Research: Putting a Stake in the Ground. (S. Barab & K. Squire, Eds.) The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 13(1), 1-14.

Beach, R. (1998). Constructing real and text worlds in responding to literature, Theory Into Practice, 37:3, 176-185. doi: 10.1080/00405849809543803
Beach, R., Thein, A.H. & Parks, D. (2007). High school students' competing social worlds: negotiating identities and allegiances in response to multicultural literature. New York, NY: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Cobb, P. Confrey, J, diSessa, A., Lehrer, R and Schauble, L. (2003). Design Experiments in Educational Research, Educational Researcher, (32:1),9-13.
Cruz, G., Jordan, S. (2010). Beyond the Culture Tours. Studies in Teaching and Learning with Culturally Diverse Texts. Routledge:New York.
Degerman, P. (2012). Litteraturen, det är vad man undervisar om: det svenska litteraturdidaktiska fältet i förvandling. Diss. Åbo : Åbo Akademi, 2013. Åbo.
Dong, Ren. (2005) Taking a Cultural response approach to teaching mulitcultural literature. The English Journal, (94:3) 55-60.
Lgr 11. Läroplan för grundskolan, förskoleklassen och fritidshemmet 2011. Stockholm: Skolverket.
Gy 11. Läroplan för gymnasieskolan 2011. Stockholm: Skolverket.
Louie, Belinda Y., (2006). Simply exposing children to multicultural literature may lead to indifference, lack of understanding and even resistence. The Reading Teacher, (59:5), 438–448.
Reichenberg, M. (2012). Texter, läsförståelse och läsundervisning i Norge och Sverige - en översikt. Acta Didactica Norge, 6(3), 1-24. Retrieved from
Statens Kulturråd (2004). Världslitteraturen i skolan - ett uppdrag från Statens Kulturråd till Barnängens världsbibliotek (Dnr 804/02-224).

Does pedagogy have any impact on oral and writing competencies? (1/2)

Astrid Neumann & Elina Harjunen & Irit Haskel-Shaham
Abstract: SIG Research on Writing, Reading & Oracies (ROWRO)

Organized by Astrid Neumann – Leuphana University of Lüneburg (,

Irit Haskel-Shaham – University of (,

Elina Harjunen – University of Helsinki (

This symposium focuses on written-based skills (reading and writing) and on oral-based skills (listening and speaking), and on their relationship in L1 or L2 or both. The pedagogy of oral and writing competencies in multicodal and multimodal contexts (Elbow, 2012) has a great impact on interrelationship of opportunities to learn because of support the right pedagogical codes (Bernstein, 1984). All these skills have to be acquired up to a certain ability to manage and solve real communication problems in the complex modern society in 21th century. This is shown in educational settings by the concepts of literacy, in schools by OECD definitions in worldwide PISA testing (OECD, 2001). Nevertheless, we need more research, spatially to explain how to get better results in all literate skills (Graham & Harris, 2014) and meta-analyses (Hattie, 2009) in order to bridge the gap between research and praxis.

Mother tongue and culture are acquired together through anticipating in significant activities, which are language mediated (Snow, 1984; Tomasello, 2003). Therefor the main role of school is to strengthen students' language knowledge as well as their communicational competencies, spoken and written (Blum-Kulka, 2008).

Today, teaching good writing emphasizes not only skills, but also styles and genres. Teachers and educators provide their students with tools for examining the different qualities of the language, helping them to adjust their language to a specific purpose and, most of all, to express their own voice. Language education points out the mutual relationship between speaking and writing and seeks the social-cultural source of the unique voice of each one of us.

The participants will present topics, such as cognitive abilities that improve writing competence; assessment in the service of improving literacies; pedagogical and technological activities that enhance competencies; and, the writer's voice and academic writing. We will discuss how pedagogy impacts literacy and the ways by which the findings or results of our studies may be translated to pedagogical language practis in specific mother tongues.


The symposium includes two sessions of ninety minutes each: "language skills in praxises" and "effectiveness in language learning". Each of the four presenters will talk fifteen minutes, followed by a general discussion. Maybe, at the end we shall participate in "hands-on" workshop.


Introduction by organizers: presentation of themes and work forms

Presentations by:

• Baez

• Chimirala & Sarigala,

• Haskel-Shaham

• Yagelski & Wilder
Session 2:

Presentations by:

• Grabowski, Becker-Mrotzek, Brinkhaus & Knopp

• Phillip

• Peled-Elhanan

• Kouki & Alisaari

• Discussion of central theses of both sessions.

Keywords: To be added.


Bernstein, B. & Diaz, M. (1984). Towards a theory of predagogic discource. University of London: Isnstitute of Education.

Blum-Kulka, S. (2008). Developing Curriculum in L1 and L2. In: N. Nevo, & E. Olshtain, (Eds.) Hebrew in the globalization era. Jerusalem: Magnes

Elbow, P. (2012). Vernacular eloquence. What Speech Can Bring to Writing. Oxford: University Press.

Graham, S. & Harris, K. (2014). Conducting high quality writing intervention reseach: Twelve recommendations. Journal of Writing Research, 6(2), 89-123.

Hattie, J. (2009). Visible learning. A Sythesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement. London/New York: Rotledge.

OECD (2001). Knowledge and skills for life. Paris: OECD.

Snow, C. E. (1984). Parent-child interaction and the development of communicative ability. In: R. Schiefelbush, & J. Pickar (Eds.), Communicative competence: Acquisition and intervention (pp. 69-107). Baltimore: University Park Press.

Tomasello, M. (2003). Constructing a language. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

  • Uma Maheshwari Chimirala

  • Brief Abstract:

  • Can engaging in anticipatory listening initiate noticing and learning of task-specific features? Can noticing task-specific aspects enable developmental changes in oral task performance? This research paper will discuss the findings of a study that aimed at investigating the two questions and then shares strategies to build conscious listening abilities in ESL contexts.

  • Detailed abstract:

  • Research into listening skills posits that listening as a source of input, input processing and output enabling skill requires the learners to psycho-linguistically navigate unidirectional, bidirectional and autodirectional modes of listening in order to engage in reflective thinking and problem-solving activities. Such studies also implicate the dire need to create instructional programmes that would enable learners develop listening as a skill to notice linguistic aspects and engage in concept learning. Consequently, researching the relationship between conscious language learning processes and the dynamic listening skills (and productive skills) has been an intriguing yet challenging. The need to explore and exploit this relationship appears pertinent in an academic context, since learners would have to engage in listening to concept-based talks in technical subjects and subsequently apply the concepts in pedagogically simulated problem-solving contexts. Subsequently, this paper explores whether learner engagement in ‘anticipatory listening’ can impact concept-learning and task specific language learning.

  • Seventy-eight technical students participated in the study which required them to present three topic-based oral presentations. In each presentation they had to engage in pre-peer presentation anticipatory listening activity and then provide feedback and suggestions to peers in the post-peer presentation stage. After the three presentation sessions, all the participants participated in an open-ended survey and in focus group discussions. Based on the data collected through the responses on the anticipatory listening activity, the survey, the discussions and the ppts presented, the study claims that engaging in anticipatory listening can induce a relative degree of reflection and evaluation of the task expectations and task response i.e. oral presentations.

  • Key words: Noticing, anticipatory listening, concept-learning, task-specific features

  • References:

  • Wolvin, A., and C. G. Coakely (1996). Listening (5th ed.). Dubuque IA: Brown and Benchmark Publishers.

  • Mendelsohn, David (1995). Applying learning strategies in the second/ foreign language listening comprehension. In David Mendelsohn and Joan Rubin (eds.), A Guide for the Teaching of Second Language Listening. San Diego, CA: Dominie Press, pp. 132–150.

  • Goh, C., and T. Yusnita (2006). Metacognitive instruction in listening for young learners. ELT Journal 60(3):222–232.

  • Irit Haskel-Shaham

  • Mastering mother tongue is essential for any learning in all subject matters. Mastering mother tongue means being capable of using all skills (listening, speaking, reading and writing) in an appropriate way in all circumstances. In Israel (and in the world, see PISA & PIRLS) the focus is on reading comprehension and writing is a usualy neglected.

  • Writing is a process of problem solving, and as such, it requires high order thinking competence (Elbow, 1973, 2000; Emig, 1971). In my college, students who soon will be teachers should enhance their own writing skill while preparing themselves to teach it to young children. In order to "seduce" them to confront their hesitation to write and to bring them to incorporate with the obstacles of doing it and teaching it, I developed an online course in class based on PBL (problem based learning).

  • The changing demands of the modern world demands skills such as abstraction competence, holistic thinking, technological attitude and ability to find information, classify it, retrieve it when needed and use it. These competences cannot be taught by the traditional teaching. An active teaching-learning attitude is required, one that enable experiencing functioning in different situations. PBL teaching enables students to use knowledge in relevant and complicated situations that echo the world outside school. It brings up the importance of learning in many ways and with variance tools, like internet, interviews etc.

  • In this course they pretend to be decision makers in a school that emphasize writing. Through the process of founding the school, interviewing children and writing a curriculum they experience the writing process, and meet different genres in their assignments as well as experiencing peer assessment and expert assessment. At the end of the course, most students' stance towards writing is changed, and their self-confidence is strengthened.

  • In my lecture, I will present the course sight, the activities and will explain its variance advantages.

  • Elbow, P. (1973). Writing without teachers. London: Oxford U. Press.

  • Elbow, P. (2000) Everyone Can Write. New York: Oxford U.

  • Emig, J. (1971). The Composition Process of Twelfth Graders. IL: Urbana, NCTE

  • Laura Wilder & Robert P Yagelski

  • Required first-year writing courses in U.S. universities are intended to prepare students to write effectively across the curriculum and in other settings. These programs are sometimes also used to enhance student retention rates (White, 2001). However, whether such writing programs achieve these goals is contested (Russell, 1995; Smit, 2004). As a result, many programs collect and analyze various kinds of data to determine the impact of the instruction students receive. But few programs integrate research and professional development focused on pedagogical practices into their assessment efforts as a way to improve learning outcomes. In this session we will describe one such effort at a large public university.

  • In a new required first-year writing program at the State University of New York at Albany, we set out to assess the students’ writing and also to study the analytical thinking evident in the students’ texts. A random stratified sample of 10% of the 880 final papers written for the course during the 2013-2014 academic year was analyzed for the use of six cross-disciplinary analytical strategies adapted from Wolfe, Olson, and Wilder (forthcoming), such as using a theoretical framework. Results suggest that some of these strategies, which represent significant challenges for first-year students, seem to be developmental. These findings have implications for understanding the extent to which analytic skills taught in first-year courses transfer to other contexts. In this presentation, we will discuss how the results of this research informed the ongoing effort to assess student learning and improve instruction, and we will examine how the study informed instructors’ pedagogical practices.

  • References

  • Russell, D. R. (1995). Activity theory and its implications for writing instruction. In. J. Petraglia (Ed.), Reconceiving writing, rethinking writing instruction (pp. 51-77). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

  • Smit, D. W. (2004). The end of composition studies. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press.

  • White, E. M. (2001). Revisiting the importance of placement and basic studies. In G. McNenny and S. A. Fitzgerald (Eds.), Mainstreaming basic writers: Politics and pedagogies of assessment (pp. 19-29). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Wolfe, J., Olson, B., and Wilder, L. (forthcoming). Knowing what we know about writing in the disciplines: A new approach to teaching for transfer in FYC. The WAC Journal.
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