Literary texts included in textbooks of Portuguese and literacies in L1 education
João Paulo Balula
Abstract: At a time when the tendency is to embrace immediacy and the easy path, the reading of literary texts from different periods, genres and countries becomes an essential activity for gaining linguistic, cultural, historical and world knowledge. Literature, as a complex phenomenon, enables the dialogue between the contemporary reader and the generations that preceded him/her, contributing towards the discovery and interpretation of differences and continuities.
The acquisition of a particular semiotic baggage that comes from the reading of literary texts, as well as the ability to question oneself and to intervene in the real world, enhance a reader-text dialogic interaction, which is capable of generating important educational effects. Thus, its relevance to the training of autonomous, competent and critical readers stands out.
In light of the above, using as a theoretical framework the Portuguese government guidelines relating to literary education - the National Reading Panel, the Curriculum of Portuguese language for Primary and Middle School Education and the Common Core State Standards for Portuguese - we selected a total of eight textbooks of Portuguese – six for primary school education and two for the first two years of middle school –, by five different publishing houses, and we examined their literary texts, bearing in mind that the work developed in class is strongly influenced by their availability in textbooks.
In this paper, we aim to: i) present and discuss the outcomes of our study, by shedding light on the main characteristics of literary texts included in textbooks of Portuguese and their impact on literacy practices; ii) investigate the importance and diversity of the texts included in the textbooks analysed, highlighting the ways in which they might contribute towards the training of autonomous and critical readers.
The main results of our research are (1) a great difference in regards to the texts available in textbooks prior to the government guidelines outlined above, prevailing recent narrative texts by authors representing different quadrants of the Lusophone world, and (2) a lack of diversity in literary forms, cultural contexts and time frame, a diversity that we find necessary for the development of lifelong reading habits.
Keywords: Literary education; Textbooks; Primary and Middle School Education; Development of lifelong reading habits.
Adam, J.-M. (2001). Les textes: types et prototypes. Paris: Éditions Natham.
Azevedo, F., & Sardinha, M. G. (Org.) (2013). Didática e práticas: a língua e a educação literária. Guimarães: Opera Omnia.
Buescu, H., Morais, J., Rocha, M., & Magalhães, V. (2012). Metas curriculares de português. Ensino básico. 1.º, 2.º e 3.º ciclos. [Common Core State Standards for Portuguese. Primary and Middle School Education]. Lisboa: Direção-Geral da Educação.
Carr, N. (2012). Os superficiais. O que a Internet está a fazer aos nossos cérebros. [The Shallows – What the Internet is doing to our brains]. Lisboa: Gradiva.
Reis, C. (coord.), Dias, A., Cabral, A., Silva, E., Viegas, F., Bastos, G. et al. (2009). Programa de português do ensino básico. [Curriculum of Portuguese language for Primary and Middle School Education]. Lisboa: Ministério da Educação/Direção Geral de Inovação e Desenvolvimento Curricular.
Silva, V. A. (2010). As humanidades, os estudos culturais, o ensino da literatura e a política da língua portuguesa. Coimbra: Almedina.
Vieira, M. C. (2010). O Ensino do Português. Lisboa: FFMS.
Can grammar benefit reading comprehension?
Abstract: Context: Reading comprehension is a complex phenomenon involving different processes, from access to the meaning of words to the construction of a text representation, through processing of sentences and their integration into meaning units, as well as the interaction with the reader’s knowledge and experience (Costa 1992). In order to achieve a good level of comprehension, a reader has to automatically process lower levels of the text, which may require, with more complex or late acquired linguistic structures, a knowledge that must be explicit. It is precisely at this point that we believe that grammar teaching may play an important role. We adopt a perspective of grammar that aims at promoting students’ linguistic growth, from implicit to explicit knowledge of their language. In this perspective, grammar should be learned and developed as an autonomous object of study and, simultaneously, as an instrument for the development of oral and written skills, such as reading (Duarte 2008). Research question: Our research, based on studies that have been establishing a relation between explicit knowledge of language – or, at least, between a certain degree of awareness about the formal properties of language, referred to as linguistic awareness – and reading, tries to investigate the benefits that an explicit teaching of structures that involve dependencies (comprehension of pronouns) may bring for an improvement of reading comprehension. Method: An experimental study, divided in three stages, was conducted in a naturalistic context (L1 classroom), involving students from grades 4, 6 and 8, who were first tested on their ability to identify antecedents of pronouns in a reading task. A group of these students received then explicit teaching on certain pronouns and were tested again in a reading task similar to the first. Results and discussion: Since the study had three different stages (diagnosis, intervention and evaluation) and tested different types of pronouns, in this paper, we will present results from the first and third stages and discuss: (i) differences in the results obtained by the three groups of students as far as the ability to comprehend certain pronouns in a reading situation is concerned; (ii) possible effects of explicit teaching in reading comprehension.
Keywords: educational linguistics; reading comprehension
Cain, K. & Oakhill, J. (2009). Reading Comprehension Development from 8 to 14 years. The contribution of component skills and processes. In R.K. Wagner, C. Schatschneider & C. Phythian-Sence (eds.). Beyond Decoding. The Behavioral and Biological Foundations of Reading Comprehension. New York: The Guildford Press.
Costa, A. (1992). Leitura: conhecimento linguístico e compreensão. In M.R. Delgado Martins et al. (orgs.) Para a Didáctica do Português. Seis Estudos de Linguística. Lisboa: Edições Colibri.
Costa, J. et al. (2011). Conhecimento Explícito da Língua. Guião de Implementação do Programa. Lisboa: DGIDC-ME.
Duarte, I. (2008). O conhecimento da língua: desenvolver a consciência linguística. Lisboa: DGIDC-ME.
Grabe, W. & F. Stoller (2002). Teaching and Researching Reading. London: Pearson Education.
Sim-Sim, I. (2007). O ensino da leitura. A compreensão de textos. Lisboa: DGIDC-ME.
Critical literacy in text and practice
Ewa Bergh Nestlog
Abstract: This paper presents a secondary analysis of a classroom study conducted in two teaching practices in years 4 to 6 of compulsory school (Bergh Nestlog, in press). The aim of the classroom study was to understand pupils’ and teachers’ meaning making in teaching practice and in pupils’ texts. The results of that study are the basis for the secondary analysis, in which the aim is to understand the opportunities for a critical perspective on literacy that the teaching practices in the classroom study give teachers and students. There is a dearth of studies of writing practices in years 4 to 6 of Swedish compulsory school, drawing on critical literacy (Lundgren 2013a & b), which warrants further research.
The material of the classroom study consists of pupils’ written texts, and data is also collected by observations and by interviews of teachers and pupils. The classroom study draws on systemic functional linguistics (Halliday 1978) and critical discourse theory (Fairclough 1992), whereas the theoretical framework here is based on the critical literacy research approach (Street 2003). This perspective sees writing as related to social practices rather than to people’s individual abilities. Thus, Hilary Janks’ (2010) analytical model is applied, with the concepts of dominance, access, diversity and design. The secondary analysis is further discussed on the basis of Roz Ivanič’s (2004) theory of writing discourses, to deepen the understanding of how beliefs about writing and learning to write can be related to text, writing practice and critical literacy perspectives.
The main findings of the secondary analysis are that the critical literacy perspectives are manifested differently in the two classrooms. In one classroom critical literacy appears in pupils’ meaning making in the texts and in the teaching practice; the pupils take control of the texts and the teacher of the teaching practice. In the other classroom critical literacy emerges in particular when the teacher stimulates students to become active and enthusiastic participants in literacy practices in and out of school.
Keywords: critical literacy, writing discourses, upper primary school
Bergh Nestlog, Ewa (in press). Kritisk litteracitet i text och praktik. Meningsskapande i de mellersta skolåren. In: Ulla Damber & Berit Lundgren (ed.). Critical literacy i svensk klassrumskontext.
Fairclough, Norman (1992). Discourse and Social Change. Cambridge & Oxford: Polity Press.
Halliday, Michael A.K. (1978). Language as Social Semiotics. The Social Interpretation of Language and Meaning. London: Edward Arnold.
Ivanič, Roz (2004). Discourses of Writing and Learning to Write. In: Language and Education 18(3). S. 220–246.
Janks, Hilary (2010). Literacy and Power. London: Routledge.
Lundgren, Berit (2013a). Bridging discourses in a writing classroom. In: Education Inquiry 4(2). S. 315–332.
Lundgren, Berit (2013b). Exploring critical literacy in Swedish education – Introductory notes. In: Education Inquiry 4(2). S. 215–223.
Street, Brian (2003). What’s “new” in New Literacy Studies? Critical approaches to literacy in theory and practice. In: Current Issues in Comparative Education 5 (2): 77–91.
Film language as a dominant paradigm of the old and new media and the universal tool of shaping cultural literacy
Abstract: Despite the overwhelming and spectacular transformations in technology of mass communication the language of the moving image still remains the fundamental paradigm of the audiovisual culture. We are surrounded by the immensity of moving images – now in digital shape. As the result of audiovisual invasion people read less and watch more, especially young generations. The competent and cognitive reception of images and literary texts becomes more and more difficult. How can the literary and culture education overcome this fundamental barrier?
The film-centered strategy for literary and cultural literacy may be helpful. It is based on the premise that reception of feature film is of creative nature and can be compared with reading. The strategy uses the potential of semiotics, narratology, cognitive film theory and the work of Welsh didactic and film theorist, Robert Watson. The research I did among 500 polish junior high school students indicate that “reading a film”, especially if organized for educational purposes, becomes an outstanding form of practicing reading with understanding and pleasure. Analyzing films extracts (on a suitable level) brings students closer to the idea of metaphore, filmic reading of the literary text enables learners to discover ignored aspects of narrative and poetic visions. Comparing the filmic and literary ways of storytelling shows the richness and specifity of them both and inclines to debate on the issue of genres and categorization. Arranging for this form of reading may be transformed into effective and attractive method for interpreting all texts referring to culture. Another aspect of film-centered strategy for literacy is “reading literature through a prism of filmmaking”. This method, discovered by Sergei Eisenstein, brings promising results and may be one of the usable tools recommended to teachers of L1.
Key words: literary education, reading recovery; audiovisual culture; film pedagogy; filmic reading; cultural literacy;
Bal, M. (1985). Narratology: Introduction to the Theory of Narrative, Toronto: University of Toronto Press;
Bordwell, D, Thompson K. (1993). Film Art: An Introduction, New York: Mc Graw Hill;
Carroll, N. (1996). Theorizing the Moving Image, New York: Cambridge University Press;
Currie, G. Image and mind. Film, Philosophy and Cognitive Science, New York: Cambridge University Press,
Kozloff, S. (1988). Invisible storytellers. Voice-over Narration in American Fiction Film, Berkeley/Los Angeles: University of California Press;
Manovich, L. (2002). The Language of New Media, Cambridge: MIT Press;
Metz, Ch. (1971). Langage et cinema, Paris: Larousse;
Paivio, A. (2007). Mind and its Evolution, New Jersey: Mahwah;
Sadoski, M. (2004). Conceptual Foundations of Teaching Reading, New York: The Guilford Press;
Schirato, T., Webb, J. (2005). Understanding the Visual, London: Sage Publications Ltd;
Watson, R. (1990). Film & Television in Education, London: The Falmer Press;
Woth, S. (1981). Studying Visual Communication, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
"I drew first then I wrote". Nine-year old students' ideas on their choice of sociosemiotic resources and conceptions of assessment, when creating multimodal texts.
Abstract: Research focusing multimodal aspects of children's literacy development exists, but there are few studies investigating students' own perspectives on their choice of semiotic resources and conceptions of assessment, when creating multimodal texts.
Theoretically, the study is based on linguistic sociocultural (Vygotskij, 1978; Säljö, 2014), sociosemiotic research (Kress 2003; Kress & Van Leeuwen, 2006; Løvland, 2006) and second language research (Axelsson, 1998; Cummins, 2001; Damber, 2010).
The aim of this interview study is to analyze what modalities the students prefer to use in their meaning making in multimodal text productions which will be evaluated by their teacher. The material discussed includes texts and interviews produced by nine-year old students attending public schools during the school year 2012/2013, while they were producing one multimodal text each about the Stone Age. Since the text productions already have been analyzed and reported (Borgfeldt and Lyngfelt 2014), this study includes interviews with the individual students (n=15) and focuses on the sociosemiotic resources that the students have used and which they prefer to use.
The research illustrates that most of the students – regardless of linguistic background – prefer to express themselves through images instead of written text in their text productions. If the students can choose, one third prefers to do the assignment using a computer, another third by playing it out as a play, and the rest like to complete the assignment either by making a movie or by drawing and writing with paper and pencil. Most of the students have difficulties in verbalizing their thoughts about how they will be evaluated. Even when the teacher has formulated what is being asked for from the assignment, the students do not understand how, or in what way, the teacher will evaluate their text productions. Thus, there is risk for discrepancy between the students' preferences and ideas of qualities in their multimodal meaning making, and the teacher's evaluation of their works. To decrease this risk, the students need more thorough instructions in order to understand better of what is being asked for and how the assignment will be assessed.
Key-words: multimodality, text productions, meaning-making, children's perspectives, multilingualism
What is necessary for diagnosing reading problems in Elementary school kids?
Abstract: The importance of reading and literacy to education is evident in the many studies that have produced a multitude of batteries of tests that aim to screen children with linguistic impairments (Watier, Dellatolas, & Chevrie-Muller, 2006). These batteries often raise the question of their tasks’ efficiency, and, in contrast, the specificity of the skill measured. In other words, certain tasks tap into varied abilities, which may make them good predictors of reading performance despite the fact that their generality prohibits the determination of which ability is most related to reading outcomes.
Our study seeks to explore this contrast and propose a solution. We examined the reading outcomes of 75 French-speaking children in a 4-year longitudinal-design study. Short-term memory (STM) and vocabulary knowledge, both attested predictors of reading performance (Freebody & Anderson, 1983; Martinez Perez, Majerus, & Poncelet, 2012), were assessed twice over a three-year period starting in Kindergarten. STM measures were collected using four repetition tasks (rare words, digits, sentences and rhythm patterns) and lexical measures by means of three different receptive or expressive tasks. The differential capacity of each test to predict subsequent reading performance was evaluated using Linear Regression Analyses. It was found that the sentence repetition task, measured at 5 years, is the best predictor of subsequent reading performance at 9 and 10 years (Catts, Fey, Zhang, & Tomblin, 2001; Willis & Gathercole, 2001). However, the generality of the task, which taps into diverse linguistic and cognitive components (syntax, phonology, semantics, memory), doesn’t allow for a clear diagnosis of the childrens’ impairments. Using Principal Component Analyses, we evaluated our tests’ relevance to two major heuristics. Given that the sentence repetition task is a good diagnostic despite its complexity, we argue that test design should include a clear explanation of the abilities involved in their success.
The observed distinction between what a diagnostic tests and what it is used to explain also implies that a variety of tests are necessary to gauge the contribution of each. Statistical analysis is also required to find transversal abilities. This conjunction of heterogeneity and analysis will help children avoid the pitfalls that could jeopardize their progress in literacy and school achievement.
The Texture of Learning to Write in the Twenty-First Century
Abstract: Keynote day 1
This presentation focuses on the escalating demands that are being put on people’s writing skills as nations compete with each other in a global knowledge economy. As writing becomes a dominant form of labour in many developed societies, it begins to change relationships between reading and writing in people’s daily lives and changes the way people think about and value literacy. How does a societal shift in time and energy toward writing affect the ways that adults and children develop their literacy and understand its worth? How does the ascendancy of a writing-based literacy create tensions in institutions (like schools) that have been organized around a reading-based literacy? What are the implications for teachers and students?
Subcomponents of writing competence: What about lexical abilities?
Abstract: The international survey DESI made evident that German 9th graders show elementary deficits in lexical knowledge and writing competence. The two abilities depend on each other, and lexical diversity functions as a link towards the writing process (Steinhoff, 2009). In secondary school, didactical concepts that pursue the idea of text-oriented lexical training are rare (Honnef-Becker, 2000). Furthermore, writing competence is mostly facilitated in a genre-specific manner. So what is the general role of lexical abilities with respect to overarching writing skills?
We analyzed a corpus of instructional, reporting and argumentative texts written by 5th and 9th graders (N=277) under controlled conditions, prompted by pictorial stimuli (see also Knopp et al., 2013; Grabowski et al., 2014).
First, we will refer to the calculation of type-token ratio (TTR), and discuss other statistical approaches to vocabulary richness. Then, we will explicate the idea of text procedures which are considered links from a cognitive schema (e.g. to guide someone to cook pasta) to the used linguistic expression (e.g. “first of all, put water in a pot”). We will show which text procedures are needed to write high-quality texts.
There are three main results: (1) In a repeated measurement analysis, TTR significantly varies across text types (argument > report > instruction), but does not depend on grade (5 vs. 9) or school type (low, medium, and high educational level). However, this result is affected by text length; longer texts reduce TTR. (2) Students showing text procedures and using high-level expressions (e.g. means of subordination for indicating sequence) obtain higher text quality scores based on global and analytical ratings. (3) It is difficult to identify text procedures independent of particular text genres.
In conclusion, it appears that the case by case TTR calculation produces statistical artifacts that obscure the individual contributions of text length and lexical diversity to text quality. Moreover, no information about the specific words used and their appropriateness is included. In didactical contexts, it appears helpful to follow the idea of text procedures and to demonstrate the students which underlying operations and possible expressions are necessary for a text to achieve high quality. At the end of the day, it remains challenging to critically discuss the pros and cons of genre-specific writing instruction when lexical abilities are being addressed.
Keywords: writing, lexical diversity, text quality, text procedures
Grabowski, J., Becker-Mrotzek, M., Knopp, M., Jost, J. & Weinzierl, C. (2014). Comparing and combining different approaches to the assessment of text quality. In D. Knorr, C. Heine & J. Engberg (Eds.), Methods in writing process research (pp. 147-165). Frankfurt/M.: Lang.
Honnef-Becker, I. (2000). Wortschatzarbeit in der Schreibwerkstatt. Plädoyer für eine textbezogene Wortschatzdidaktik. In P. Kühn (Hg.), Wortschatzarbeit in der Diskussion Studien zu Deutsch als Fremdsprache V (S. 149-177). Hildesheim u. a.: Olms.
Knopp, M., Becker-Mrotzek, M. & Grabowski, J. (2013). Diagnose und Förderung von Teilkomponenten der Schreibkompetenz. In A. Redder & S. Weinert (Hrsg.), Sprachförderung und Sprachdia-gnostik. Interdisziplinäre Perspektiven (S. 296–315). Münster: Waxmann.
Steinhoff, Torsten (2009). Wortschatz eine Schaltstelle für den schulischen Spracherwerb? In Siegener Papiere zur Aneignung sprachlicher Strukturformen (SPAsS). Heft 17.
Danish – Progressive or traditional teaching?
Abstract: Background of the study
Denmark has had a long history of progressive education (in the tradition of Dewey 1916) including both theoretical and practical developments (Illeris, 1991; Rifbjerg, 1976). In recent years these developments have been both criticized (Rasmussen, 2003) and praised (Antorini, 2012), but there seems to be consensus that teaching in Danish compulsory schools is (still) progressive. This study examines this perception in relation to the Danish subject based on quantitative data from the baseline study of three of the Danish Demonstration School Projects.
Based on observations, surveys, teaching materials and products from Danish schools, how can teaching practices in the Danish subject be characterized?
The data used for characterizing the Danish subject stems from the baseline study of three of the five Demonstration School Projects. Students and teachers from 15 schools participated. The schools have applied for participating in the project, and we will argue that they represent a somewhat skewed sample of the population in the direction of more progressive teaching practices.
The empirical data is four-fold. We build primarily on observations of around 150 Danish lessons, and secondarily on a survey of around 200 Danish teachers, on a collection of student work from about 300 students from a little less than a 100 classes, and on analysis of digital learning material that Danish teachers have reported they use in their teaching.
We build on theories of instructional methods (Reigeluth & Carr-Chellman, 2009), including Deweys (1916) division between progressive and traditional education, of innovative teaching (OECD, 2013; Shear, Gallagher, & Patel, 2011), theories of processes in teaching and learning (Bundsgaard & Hansen, 2010), theories of student work (Mueller, 2008), and theories of learning materials (Hansen & Bundsgaard, 2013).
The qualitative observations, student products, and teaching material are scored into quantitative categories, making it possible to analyze the data statistically.
We discuss the foundations for including the different data sources in the study, how they complement and supplement each others, and shortcomings of the data.
We will show that teaching practices to a large extend is not overly progressive, but rather traditional. We will compare this data to reports on teacher survey data from the recent ICILS 2013 study (Bundsgaard, Pettersson, & Puck, 2014).
Keywords: Progressive teaching, processes of teaching, digital learning material, Danish subject.
Antorini, C. (2012). Velkommen til Ny Nordisk Skole - Ny Nordisk Skole. Retrieved December 15, 2014, from http://nynordiskskole.dk/Om-Ny-Nordisk-Skole/Velkommen-til-Ny-Nordisk-Skole
Bundsgaard, J., & Hansen, T. I. (2010). Processer i undervisningen. Læremiddeldidaktik, (4), 18–27.
Bundsgaard, J., Pettersson, M., & Puck, M. R. (2014). Digitale kompetencer. It i danske skoler i et internationalt perspektiv. Aarhus: Aarhus Universitetsforlag.
Dewey, J. (1916/2011). Democracy and education. S.l.: Simon & Brown.
Hansen, T. I., & Bundsgaard, J. (2013). Kvaliteter ved digitale læremidler og ved pædagogiske praksisser med digitale læremidler : forskningsbaseret bidrag til anbefalinger, pejlermærker og kriterier i forbindelse med udmøntning af midler til indkøb af digitale læremidler . (p. 37). København: Ministeriet for Børn og Undervisning.
Illeris, K. (1991). Pædagogikkens betydning : folkeskolens langtidsvirkninger for eleverne : afsluttende rapport fra en interviewundersøgelse med 141 tidligere elever fra forsøgsskoler og 103 tidligere elever fra almindelige sammenligningsskoler om deres erfaringer i den danske folkeskole og deres senere livsforløb. Copenhagen: Unge Pædagoger.
Mueller, J. (2008). Assessing Critical Skills (1st ed.). Linworth Publishing.
OECD. (2013). Innovative Learning Environments. OECD Publishing. Retrieved from http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/education/innovative-learning-environments_9789264203488-en
Rasmussen, A. F. (2003). Statsministeriet - Statsminister Anders Fogh Rasmussens tale ved Folketingets åbning tirsdag den 7. oktober 2003. Retrieved December 15, 2014, from http://www.stm.dk/_p_7446.html
Reigeluth, C. M., & Carr-Chellman, A. A. (2009). Instructional-Design Theories and Models, Volume III: Building a Common Knowledge Base. New York: Routledge.
Rifbjerg, S. (1976). Træk af den moderne opdragelses historie (2. udg.. 4. opl.). Copenhagen: Gyldendal.
Shear, L., Gallagher, L., & Patel, D. (2011). Innovative Teaching and Learning 2011 Findings and Implications. Menlo Park, CA: SRI International. Retrieved from http://itlresearch.com/images/stories/reports/ITL%20Research%202011%20Findings%20and%20Implications%20-%20Final.pdf