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

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An Observational Study of the Nature and Variability of First-Grade Writing Instruction in the United States

David Coker
Abstract: Despite the importance of writing achievement in school, relatively little is known about teachers’ instructional practices and students’ writing activities in the United States. The purpose of this paper is to expand the empirical base on beginning writing instruction by presenting findings of an observational study. To that end, we investigated how writing instruction is conducted by analyzing the allocated time, writing tasks, and instructional methods in first-grade classrooms. Additionally we were interested in the amount of instructional variation present across classrooms.

Four observations across an academic year were conducted in 50 first-grade classrooms in thirteen elementary schools in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. Trained observers used an iPad-based observation system designed to capture theoretically relevant instructional dimensions. The observation system used codes from the CIERA system developed by Taylor and colleagues (Taylor & Pearson, 2000; Taylor et al., 2003) while also including codes for instructional management from Connor and colleagues (2004; 2009) and adding codes for writing activities and instruction. The iPad-based system utilizes a time-sampling coding procedure based on five-minute time blocks to produce low-inference data about the time allocated to 111 instructional activities in seven categories. Our analysis relied on descriptive statistics and on hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) to determine the proportion of variance attributable to classroom differences.

On average, about 25 minutes were devoted to writing instruction daily, which is similar to results from teacher surveys (Cutler & Graham, 2008; Graham, et. al, 2003) but more than has been observed in kindergarten (Puranik et al., 2014). Writing instruction was fairly balanced among a focus on skills, composition and process writing. Most student writing involved single words (31.1%), but students also wrote sentences (24.1%) and connected text (21.1%). Student writing was frequent, on average, but variable, with 21.4% attributed to classroom differences. Classroom variability was also found for time devoted to instruction in narrative (20.9%) and informational text (16.1%).

The results reveal that there was considerable variation in the amount, type, and organization of writing instruction as well as in students’ writing activities. These findings contribute to our understanding of first-grade writing instruction.

Keywords: writing instruction, primary grades, observational research

Designing and using lesson plans for teaching writing skills

Paul J.M. de Maat
Abstract: Background

Within the Dutch primary school language curriculum relatively little time is spent on teaching children to write. This might be due to the labour-intensive nature of writing education, especially of planning writing lessons and providing feedback to students, but also to a poor quality of existing lesson plans.

In 2011 we started designing grade 3-6 writing lesson plans. Every week a new writing lesson was designed and digitally published. In 2013 the lesson plans were incorporated into the Better Writing research project, by University of Amsterdam and CED-Groep Rotterdam. We sought teacher feedback and experiences to improve the lesson plans several times.
Teacher needs

We started in 2011 by asking 46 teachers what they wanted in a new writing curriculum. Many of them mentioned variation, meaning that students and teachers experienced writing lessons as boring: not meaningful, monotonous, with few opportunities for providing feedback. Subsequently 30 pilot teachers tried new writing lesson plans. Using their feedback, we revised these lesson plans in several respects. From January 2012 on teachers used our lesson plans and again we adapted these for the school year 2012-2013. Most adaptations occurred for reasons of practicability.

Research project Better writing

In the Better Writing project, after studying literature and consulting several writing experts on designing writing lessons, we (1) incorporated writing strategies into the process writing lessons (Harris et al., 2008), (2) structured the curriculum via five genres, and (3) incorporated a within genre sequence: experience, instruction, and practice lessons. We also got feedback through discussions in teacher training sessions and classrooms observations and analyzed logbooks from 40 teachers to see how they adopted the lessons plans in everyday teaching practice.

In this session I will:

• show the principles for a lesson plan, and a lesson plan example.

• show data from teacher meetings, classroom observations, and teacher logs.

• discuss the effects of these data on lesson designs

• show which principles changed (if any), what differences in lesson plans occurred.

• discuss the advantages of continuous design with direct users feedback.

IT-supported Language Learning

Christa Doil-Hartmann
Abstract: Modern Media are playing an increasingly more important role in language teaching and learning (Doi-Hartmann&Bühs, 2007). On the one hand students are to learn how to use the Internet and other modern media with care and conscientiously as they seem to be a common and frequently used tool (Spitzer, 2012). On the other hand a lot of material is offered for teaching and autonomous language learning which teachers and learners are to learn to use efficiently and effectively.

In a project, funded by the European Communion 20 schools and teacher training institutions are developing “good practice examples” for IT-supported language learning. Main criteria and objectives of this project are to facilitate the access to technology-mediated tasks for the language classroom, to promote linguistic understanding and awareness through ICT-based TBLT; to enhance the quality of teacher education in technology-mediated TBLT, to develop the teachers’ digital competence, and to create tools which can leverage both the quality of teacher education in technology-mediated TBLT and the effectiveness of task-based language learning. (Lopes, Antoniò, 2014). All examples meet the criteria of the CEFR (2001).

All the examples will be available in 10 languages (Dutch, English, German, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Portuguese, Serbian, Spanish and Turkish)

Aim of the presentation is to introduce some of these examples and to provide key rules and principles for designing effective tasks for L1 teaching and instructions as well as for bilingually raised children (Krashen, 2003).

Keywords: linguistic and digital competence, integration of ICT in L1 teaching and learning, task-based learning, competence-oriented teaching, CEFR

1) Bland, Janice (2007 Lang). Literary Texts and Literacy skills for the Youngest Language Learners. In: Elsner et al. KFU, 31.

2) Chomsky, N. (1992) Explaining Language Use, In: Philosophical Topics 20.

3) Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching, Assessment (2001)

4) Council of Europe (2001). Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, Teaching and Assessment. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

5) Doil-Hartmann, C. and Buehs (2007 Lang). R. European Curriculum for New Technologies and Language Teaching, In: Elsner et al. KFU, 31

6) Donnerstag, J. (2007 Lang). From Print Literacy to Electracy: Incorporating the Internet in Creative Composition. In: Elsner et al. KFU, 31.

7) Krashen, S.D. (2003), Explorations in Language Acquisition and Use, Portsmouth: NH: Heinemann.

8) Lopes, Antonio (2014), Petall –Pan European Task Activities for Language Learning – An introduction, Powerpoint presentation, slides 14 ff)

9) McQuillan, J.; Krashen, S.D. (2008), "Commentary: Can free reading take you all the way? A response to Cobb (2007)", Language Learning & Technology. Vol.12, No.1, February 2008

10) Nunan, D. (1989). Designing Tasks for the Communicative Classroom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

11) Pinker, Steven (Norton 1997). How the Mind Works

12) Spitzer, M (2012). Digitale Demenz, Wie wir uns und unsere Kinder um den Verstand bringen können. Drömer Vlg.

ICT and literacy education: Past experience and designing the future (2/2)

Nikolaj F. Elf
Abstract: Invited Pre-SIG symposium on ICT and literacy education.

Nikolaj F. Elf, University of Southern Denmark,

Dimitrios Koutsigiannis, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki,
This symposium takes as a point of departure that complex developments of homogeneity and heterogeneity are taking place in L1, and that information and communication technologies (ICT) – and in particular, digital media – function as one of the main actors of this development.

Research suggests, roughly, that media change the patterns of communication as well as notions of ‘language’ and ‘literature’ outside and within school, including but not limited to the school subject L1. However, further empirical research is needed for understanding better the complex relationship between ICTs and teaching practices driven by the two main actors of teaching, students and teachers. As suggested in the conference keynote by Daniel Cassany, one global question which has to be explored locally and in situated ways is how students use digital resources on a daily basis through informal and formal learning practices. What do they do with ICT in and out of the classroom? What are the empirical findings in local contexts, and how do they relate to findings in other national and international contexts? In and out of school, how do kids and teens construct their identities online, develop digital activities that produce digital content, and use language norms (spelling, syntax, lexicon, politeness) that align, or do not align, with norms of the L1 curriculum? Also, we need to explore what is acknowledged by teachers, functioning in local school settings, as technologically mediated subject-related meaning-making and knowledge production. How do teachers sponsor, promote or otherwise facilitate or constrain new and old technologies and literacies? On a more abstract paradigmatic level considering the discourse of L1 research, we should ask how the recontextualization of communication media in student and teacher practices impact L1 development. What are the implications for the understanding of the subject’s whats, hows, and whys - and for future notions of ‘literacy’ or ‘competence’ development within the subject? How could we imagine and design the future of L1 and literacy education, in general, considering new media? The invited symposium comprises six paper presentations which address these questions from different perspectives. These presentations are introduced below; see also abstracts.

First session:
1) Media and Technology in L1: A Review of Empirical Research Projects in Scandinavia


Nikolaj Frydensbjerg Elf*, University of Southern Denmark,

Håvard Skaar*, Oslo and Akershus University College,

Per-Olof Erixon, University of Umeå,

Thorkild Hanghøj, Aalborg University,

*Presenting authors.

Short introduction: Elf et al. present findings from a review of 56 empirical research projects in Scandinavia focusing on media and technology. The presentation suggests a theoretical framework for clarifying ‘what we talk about when we talk about media and technology’, which could be used for discussing the following presentations in the pre-SIG.

2) Punctuated equilibrium – digital technology in schools’ teaching of the mother tongue (Swedish)

Author: Per-Olof Erixon, University of Umeå,

Short introduction: Erixon deals with how teachers and pupils in primary and lower secondary education (7th to 9th grade) in Sweden look upon and relate to new digital technology in the teaching of the mother tongue (Swedish) now and in the future.
3) How a multimedia learning platform can support heterogeneous teacher trainees’ French writing proficiency and grammatical knowledge


Isabelle Gauvin, Université du Québec à Montréal,

Renée Lemay, Université du Québec à Montréal,

Short introduction: From a Canadian context, Gauvin & Lemay reflect on how a multimedia learning platform can support heterogeneous teacher trainees’ French writing proficiency and grammatical knowledge.
Second session:
4) Student work and student production in the 21st century: Quantitative and qualitative analysis


Marie Falkesgaard Slot, University College Lillebælt,

Rune Hansen, University College Syd,

Jesper Bremholm, University College Capital,

Short introduction: Based on a research and development project in Denmark, Slot, Hansen & Bremholm analyze around 950 student productions from 16 schools and present coding procedures and findings.

5) Teaching and playing Minecraft in L1 primary education: Framing students’ game literacies in relation to teachers’ curricular goals

Authors: Thorkild Hanghøj*, Aalborg University,

Heidi Hautopp, Aalborg University,


Short introduction: In a qualitative case study, Hanghøj & Hautopp explore framings and game literacies in an intervention project focusing on teaching and playing the “sandbox” computer game Minecraft as a part of L1 in Danish primary education.
6) Layered simultaneity in using ICT for Teaching Greek as L1

Author: Dimitrios Koutsogiannis, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki,

Short introduction: Koutsigiannis suggests a model for understanding L1 in an ICT perspective analyzing indicative events from teachers’ teaching practices in a Greek context in order to highlight what Blommaert has called “layered simultaneity”.
Finally, the discussant, Daniel Cassany, will offer a discussion of the symposium theme in light of presentations opening up for questions and comments from the presenters and the interlocutors.
Relation to SIG on ICT and literacy education:

This invited symposium and a number of other presentations in the program are framed within a so-called 'pre-SIG' on ICT and literacy education. The presentations comprise a diversity of research designs and a variety of methodological approaches to ICT and literacy education within a L1 context. This includes both qualitative and quantitative approaches, exploratory and intervention-oriented, and empirical and theory-developing studies on different levels of education, from primary to upper-secondary education and teacher education. Furthermore, the presentations reflect teaching and research practices embedded in different regions and national contexts. By framing the symposium and other presentations as a pre-SIG on ICT and literacy education, the organizers wish to initiate a forum for a shared research interest within IAIMTE. The goal is to establish a formalized forum for such a research interest, that is, a Special Interest Group (SIG) on ICT and literacy education (see program for business meeting with this theme).

Keywords: literacy, ICT and media, paradigm shifts, global, local, teacher uncertainty

  • Jesper Bremholm & Marie Falkesgaard Slot & Rune Hansen

  • Within the last decade the development and accessibility of digital technologies have greatly expanded the possibilities and potential diversity of students’ productive work in school settings. Stating this fact opens for several questions that need to be examined: To what degree are these possibilities actually being realized in the ways students work productively in the school subjects? How are the balance between digital modes of production and the analog modes traditionally embedded in the school subjects? And to what degree does the productive work in the school subjects support the competences and skills the students need in their future life in the 21st century?

  • In the proposed paper we seek to address these questions. The paper will be based upon an ongoing mixed method study related to three large scale research and development projects on school-based ICT initiated and funded by the Danish Ministry of Education.

  • The paper will focus on the quantitative part of the mixed method study.

  • This part of the study consists of a systematic collection of student work (and the related task) at the 16 schools participating in the mentioned research and development projects. A total of about 950 student works are collected.

  • The student works (and the tasks) are being categorized and characterized using a coding instrument developed in the course of the project. The categories used in the coding instrument relate to a specific selection of 21st century skills (Binkley et al., 2012). The coding instrument is inspired by performance oriented assessment (Shear et al., 2011; Greenstein, 2012; Mueller, 2008) and theoretically informed by didactic theory as well as by social semiotics (Kress, 2010; Unsworth, 2008; Jewitt, 2005).

  • In the paper we will present the coding instrument and the main findings from the quantitative analysis. These findings indicate on the one hand that the Danish schools have not as yet fully entered the digital era in the sense that the traditional forms of student work still hold quite a strong position in the school subjects. On the other hand, regarding the 21st century skills the findings point to interesting connections between a functional use of ICT, multimodal meaning making, and scaffolded tasks.

  • Presenting authors:

  • Marie Falkesgaard Slot, University College Lillebælt,

  • Rune Hansen, University College Syd,

  • Jesper Bremholm, University College Capital,

  • References:

  • Binkley, M., Erstad, O., Herman, J.; Raizen, S. et al. (2012): “Defining Twenty-First Century

  • Skills” in Griffin, Patrick, McGaw, Barry and Care, Esther (ed.): Assessment and Teaching of 21st Century Skills. London: Springer.

  • Greenstein, L. (2012): Assessing 21st Century Skills: A Guide to Evaluating Mastery and Authentic Learning. Thousand Oaks: Corwin.

  • Jewitt, C. (2005). Technology, Literacy, Learning: A Multimodal Approach. London: Routledge.

  • Kress, G. (2010). Multimodality: A social semiotic approach to contemporary communication. London: Routledge.

  • Mueller, J. (2012) Assessing critical skills. London: Linworth Books.

  • Shear, Hafter, Miller, & Trinidad. (2011) ITL-Research - Phase 2, Design: Introducing

  • ITL-professional learning.

  • Unsworth, L. (2008). Multimodal semiotics: functional analysis in contexts of education. London: Continuum.

  • Heidi Hautopp & Thorkild Hanghøj

  • The aim of this paper is to explore framings and game literacies when teaching and playing the “sandbox” computer game Minecraft as a part of L1 in primary education. The empirical data for the paper is based on a series of design interventions in three different classes (two 1st grades and one 2nd grade) at three different Danish schools, which involved video observations and interviews with teachers and selected students. The project is financed by The Danish Ministry of Education (2013-2015) and is part of a larger project on “ICT in the Innovative School”, which aims to develop students’ 21st century skills.

  • In the paper, we describe how the teachers’ interpretations of curricular goals relate to the students’ continual framing and re-framing (Goffman, 1974; Hanghøj et al., 2013) of Minecraft through specific game literacies (Apperley & Beavis, 2011). This is done by introducing an analytical model, which can be used to describe the educational use of games within L1 as a relationship, on the one hand, between games as texts and games and action, and, on the other hand, as a relationship between curricular goals and game goals. The preliminary findings suggest that teachers need to be able to communicate clear goals for playing Minecraft in order to avoid frame clashes between the students’ game literacies and the curricular goals. At the same time, the findings also indicate how both teachers and students are able to shift freely between different narrative frames, both within and around the digital game scenario, and how students may benefit from exploring, understanding, negotiating and creating new narratives in relation to the contingent and sometimes chaotic game dynamics of Minecraft. In order to manage the complexity between structured game play and open-ended exploration, teachers and students may particularly benefit from the support and guidance of highly game literate students. The paper concludes by discussing different aspects of what it takes to be a game literate teacher within L1.

  • Key words: game literacies; curricular goals; game literate L1 teacher

  • Presenting authors:

  • Thorkild Hanghøj, Aalborg University,

  • Heidi Hautopp, Aalborg University,

  • References:

  • Apperley, T. & Beavis, C. (2011). Literacy into Action: Digital Games as Action and Text in the English and Literacy Classroom. Pedagogies, Vol 6, No. 1, pp 130-143.

  • Goffman, E. (1974). Frame analysis: An essay on the organization of experience. London: Harper and Row.

  • Hanghøj, T., Hautopp, H., Jessen, C. & Denning, R. C. (2014). Redesigning and Reframing Educational Scenarios with Minecraft within Mother Tongue Education. Proceedings for the 8th European Conference on Games Based Learning, Berlin. Reading: Academic Publishing Limited.

  • Dimitrios Koutsogiannis

  • There is a rich scientific tradition concerning the use of ICT in L1 education. Ι have attempted to capture this international tradition, using the metaphor of three concentric and interconnected circles (Koutsogiannis, 2011). In the first (innermost) circle lies the tradition that regards ICT as a means of significant pedagogical potential. In the middle circle lies the tradition that approaches digital media as literacy practice environments, paying attention to digital or new literacies. Finally, in the third, outermost circle, lie scientific explorations that approach digital media and digital communication as organic elements of a complex economic, social, and cultural reality. I have called this circle “missing”, because it has attracted limited research interest.

  • This presentation is based on experience from an online community of eighteen secondary school teachers attempting to contribute towards filling, at least partly, this gap.* The aim of this community (2011-2014) has been to collaborate so as to compose innovative lesson plans using ICT, to use them in respective classes and to upload such materials onto a data base environment as recourses available for other teachers . A lot of data are available, concerning both the online and off-line (eg. recorded lessons and ethnographic field notes of teaching practices, interviews and so on) life of this community.

  • In this presentation, I am analyzing indicative events from teachers’ teaching practices, in order to highlight what Blommaert has called “layered simultaneity” (Blommaert, 2005:130-131). If the term is viewed in the light of Greek reality, it means that every teaching event encapsulates multiple levels related to local teaching traditions, local mental models associated with the use of computers in education, the agency and teachers’ strategies and, naturally, to global voices concerning the use of ICT when teaching L1. The analysis reflects a reality far more complex than the dominant argument on the pedagogical potential of new technologies.

  • Keywords: ICT and teaching L1, discourse analysis, global, local

  • References:

  • Blommaert, J. (2005). Discourse. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

  • Koutsogiannis, D. (2011). ICTs and language teaching: the missing third circle. In Gerhard, S. & Váradi, T. (eds.). Language, Languages and New Technologies (p. 43-59). Frankfurt: Peter Lang Verlag.

*Note: The present study was conducted in the context of the Operational Program “Education and Lifelong Learning” and has been co-funded by the EU (European Social Fund) and by national resources.
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