Learning non-language subjects through English: the role of language and beyond

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Learning non-language subjects through English:

the role of language and beyond

Gail Forey, Associate Professor Department of English, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University gail.forey@polyu.edu.hk

with John Polias, Adjunct Assistant Professor Department of English, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University john@lexised.com

Sharing Session on the English Enhancement Scheme and Refined English Enhancement Scheme – From Implementation to Sustainability

Kowloon Technical School, Sham Shui Po, Hong Kong

10 May 2014

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Outline  

•  Knowledge  &  language  

•  Pedagogy  

•  Maximal  resources  suppor9ng  maximal  learning  

As  illustrated  through  data  from  the  following  subjects:  

–  PE  –  language  accompanying  ac9on  

–  Science  –  ac9on  accompanying  language   –  Science  –  register  con9nuum  

•  The  role  of  the  teacher  

•  The  importance  of  language  &  pedagogy  

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Commonsense     Knowledge  

(Prototypical  Knowledge)  

home   everyday  

language  

Educa9onal    

Knowledge   school   academic  

language  

Technical  

Knowledge   workplace   specific   language  

Knowledge & Language

accu mu la te s

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Language Development

accu mu la te s

Simple   ‘ commonsense ’

 

Congruent  grammar  -­‐  simple  aMtudinal  expression   (early  childhood)  

Commonsense’  

elaborated  as  grammar  expands  -­‐  gramma9cal  metaphor  emerges   (late  childhood  to  early  adolescence)  

Knowledge  becomes  more   ‘ uncommonsense ’  

extended  as  gramma9cal  resource  are  further  amplified  -­‐

aMtudinal  expression  expands   (mid-­‐adolescence)  

Uncommonsense  knowledge  

 

expressed  as  non-­‐congruent  grammar,  expressing  abstrac9on,   generaliza9on,  value  judgment  &  opinion  

(late  adolescence  +)  

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Teaching  about  English  

Teaching  through  English   Teaching  English  

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Teaching  through  English  

Apart  from  English  teachers,  most  teachers  have  not  been  specially  trained  to  teach  in   English  and  their  performance  in  the  classroom  could  be  characterised  as  the  following:  

Less  successful  

Teachers  are  aware  of  the  students’  language  needs  in  English  but  they  

overcompensate  –  simplifying  the  content  too  much  or  not  teaching  enough  content.  

Some  imitate  the  role  of  the  English  teacher  but  some9mes  teach  English  wrongly.  

Least  successful  

Teachers  are  not  aware  of  the  students’  language  needs  and  teach  in  the  same  way  as   they  would  teach  in  Chinese,  resul9ng  in  students  not  being  able  to  learn  effec9vely.

             (Li  King  Chia-­‐Chin,  2012)  

Most  successful  

Teachers  teach  the  subject  well  because  they  have  a  good  knowledge  of  their  subject   and  an  effec9ve  pedagogy  which  allow  them  to  overcome  any  English  language  

concerns  and  so  students  are  s9ll  able  to  learn  efficiently  in  English.  

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Zone  of  Proximal  Development  

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Support   Challenge  

Demands  too  high:  

Possible  failure  

Demands  too  low:  

Boredom  /  behaviour     problems  

Extension  of  learning  

Comfortable  /  easy   li`le  learning  likely  

Mariani, L. (1997) Teacher support and teacher challenge in promoting learner autonomy.

Perspectives: A Journal of TESOL-Italy. 23(2).

Accessed 30 Aug 2013 from http://

www.learningpaths.org/papers/papersupport.htm

Challenge versus Support

Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD)

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Ongoing development

A  Teaching  and  Learning  Cycle   Typically shared teacher and student responsibility

Maximum teacher responsibility Maximum student

responsibility

Independent construction

Setting the context

Guided construction

Modelling deconstruction and Ongoing

development of the knowledge

Shifting responsibility from teacher to

students

9   From: Polias, J & Forey, G.

(forthcoming) Teaching through English: Maximal Input in Meaning Making. In Miller, D. & Bayley, P. (eds).

Permeable Contexts and Hybridity in Discourse. London: Continuum.

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Human  Breathing   Mechanism    

SC   IC  

SeMng  the  Context  

Modelling  &  Deconstruc9on  

MD   IC  

Joint  Construc9on   SC  

IC  

Independent  Construc9on  

Students  in  small  groups,  or   individually,  report  their   findings  from  the  ac9vity  in   Joint  Construc9on  stage  

Teacher  explains  the  aims  of   the  unit,  ‘Understanding   human  breathing  

mechanism’.  

Teacher  asks  students   ques9ons  on  air  pressure  &  

human  respiratory  system  

Teacher  introduces  sentence   pa`erns  to  express  cause  and   effect.  

Teacher  also  introduces  key   concepts  involved  in  breathing.  

MD  

Teacher  asks  students  to  try   taking  a  deep  breath  together   and  ask  students  to:  

•  describe  the  movements  of   rib  cage  and  abdomen  

•  describe  the  feeling  as  the   air  is  breathed  in  

JC  

Teacher  introduces  the   breathing  model  (bo`le  +   balloon)  

SC  

Teacher  introduces  ac9ons   involving  the  changes  of  the   bo`le  and  balloon  volume.  

   

MD  

Students,  in  pairs,  write  a   temporal  explana9on  of  the   human  breathing  

mechanism.  

Teacher  refreshes  students’  

memory  of  cause  &  effect   pa`erning;  and  introduces   text  type  “temporal  

explana9on”.  

Teacher  explains  the  structure   of  a  temporal  explana9on  and   its  lexico-­‐gramma9cal  features   (tense,  verb  types,  etc.)  

MD  

Teacher  and  students  construct   a  one  or  two  sentences  

together;  OR  

Teacher  and  students  work  out   the  process  of  breathing   mechanism  with  diagrams  with   arrows  

JC  

Teacher  asks  students  about   the  similari9es  shared  between   the  model  and  human  

breathing  mechanism.  

SC  

Students  finish  the  ac9vity,  working  out   how  to  decrease  the  balloon  size.  

Teacher  presents  the  cause  and  effect   sentence  pa`erning  and  asks  students  to   share  their  findings  using  the  pa`erns.  

   

IC  

Teacher  introduces  human   breathing  mechanism  with  the   technical  items.  

Students  use  the  terms   and  the  cause  &  effect   sentence  pa`ern  to   explain  the  analogy  of   the  breathing  model.  

JC   Teacher  guides  students   with  ques9ons  to  help   students  understand  the   change  of  the  volume  of   the  chest  (how),  the   change  in  pressure  inside   the  chest  and  the  size  of   lungs  (what).  

With  the  breathing  model,  teacher  asks   the  students  to  relate  the  changes   between  the  volumes  of  the  bo`le  and   the  balloon,  and  the  air  pressure  inside   and  outside  of  the  bo`le.  

       

Release  pressure  from  bo:le  sides  >  bo:le  size   increases  >  pressure  inside  bo:le  drops  >  Pin   higher  than  Pout  >  air  in  >  balloon  size  increases  

JC  

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teacher  maximizes   the  access  points    

mul9semio9c   resources    

systems  of  neural   networks  become  

stronger  

(Deacon  2012)  

Maximizing  learning:  Effec9ve  Learning  

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Resources  

Student  

Teacher    

Providing  Mul9semio9c  Resources  

Teacher  talk   Ac9on  

Manipula9on  of  task   Experiment  

Image  

Textbook   PowerPoint  

Ac9vi9es    

Wri`en  language  

Textbook   PowerPoint  

Body  language  &  

gesture,  etc   Student  talk  

People   Place  

Time  

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How  language  varies  along  the  register  con9nuum  

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Everyday

Commonsense

Personal

Familiar people

(action with some language) Spoken

Technical Abstract

Impersonal Unfamiliar people

(language as reflection) Written The language for expressing ideas:

what the subject matter is and how abstract or technical it is

The language for interaction: what roles, relationships, status and attitude the

people communicating have

The language for structure of the message and organisation: the mode of

communication—spoken or written What

Who

How

Education

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Shining  along  the  register  con9nuum:  

moving  from  concrete  to  abstract  

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T2: …You might want to put some arrows in to show us the direction of flow … and you might want to give us the general names as well, in brackets, so amylase is your…

SS&T: Enzyme.

T2: OK, fantastic.

SS: Thanks, Miss.

S3: So, that’s starch. Is that a …? Sub…substrate…

S1: Wait, isn’t…

S3: Yes, substrate…that is starch.

S1: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.

S2: Do the arrows go in towards the enzyme?

S3: Is that how you spell it?

S1: Yeah. … So then that and the arrows go … S2: … Wait, do we go like that or…?

S3: Yeah, you go [points with her hand]

S1: (sarcastic) No, you go like up and down and….

S3 …and just go around like that [points again].

S2: (not discernible)

S3: Done!

S1: Oh, you just put in like brackets…

Cons: Can you show me?... That’s really good.

Classroom language

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T: So, can you identify the enzyme?

Which one’s the enzyme?

S3: Lipase.

T: Lipase. Right. Which one is it in the diagram?

S1: Is it the dark one?

T: Yep, that’s correct. OK, and your substrate?

S1: Lipid.

T: Lipid. Where’s the lipid there?

S1: This one. No, this one.

S3: We don’t have any.

T: Yes you have. There’s your lipid.

What have you actually formed there?

S1: It’s the lock and key so they fit.

T: Yeah.

S2: (not discernible)

T: What do you call that specifically? … S3: …We call that…

T: …where they’ve locked in together, what do you call that?

S3: …the lipase-lipid complex.

T: Well done. And what’s a general term we use for that?

S3: Substrate complex.

T: No. Enzyme…

S3: Enzyme substrate complex.

T: Excellent. And what have you formed there?

S3: Lipase and fatty acid (complex?) and glycerol.

T: Well done. Has the actual enzyme changed?

S1&3: No.

T: No. That’s a really important thing about

enzymes, isn’t it? All right, so glue it down and label it.

S2: So that’s right?

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S1: This chemical reaction is a catabolic reaction as it broke down um the substrate. And um It’s a biochemical reaction, too.

S2: Our enzyme is cellulase.

S3: Our substrate is cellulose.

S1: So, in the reaction, the cellulase and the cellulose become the cellulase–cellulose complex, which was the enzyme substrate complex.

S4: And the product of our reaction was glucose and the enzyme remained unchanged.

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S1: Our … was a catabolic reaction. Our substrate was lactose and our enzyme was lactase.

S2: As you can see, the enzyme substrate complex, which is a lactase-lactose complex, is shown as a binding and

provides the active site and it produces the products. Oh, it breaks down the products of the disaccharide lactose into the lactose and glucose.

T1: Well done, girls.

T2: So what was your enzyme again?

SS-T2: Lactase!

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S1: Ours was also a catabolic reaction and biochemical. And our enzyme was maltase and our substrate was maltose.

S2: And the enzyme substrate complex was maltose…maltase-maltose complex.

S3: And the product was glucose and the enzyme remained unchanged.

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S1: Oh, I forgot what to say.

T1: That’s all right, … we’ll guide you.

S1: The lipid was the substrate and the lipase was the enzyme.

S2: This was the lipase-lipid complex.

S3: And the products were the lipase fatty acid…no, no, fatty acid and glycerol and the enzyme remained unchanged.

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S1: Our enzyme was amylase and our substrate was starch.

S2: Then we got amylase-starch complex.

S3: Then the products, once the enzyme worked, the product was glucose.

S1: And it’s a biochemical reaction.

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Scaffolding:  Register  

Everyday, commonsense, personal, familiar, action, language accompanying meaning

Technical, abstract, impersonal, unfamiliar, language constituting meaning Register continuum

Sequence Abstraction

Context 3: student groups presenting to class Context 2: teacher

guiding students Context 1: students work

in small groups

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Medium  of  Instruc9on  decision-­‐making  

Which  teacher?  

Which  subject  to  move  to  EMI?  

Which  class?  

What  professional  development  (PD)  is  needed?  

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We  suggest…  

  Teaching  THROUGH  English:  Language  construing  knowledge  

  Maximize  teaching  &  learning:  mul9-­‐semio9c  resources    

Recycling:  strengthens  the  brain  –  ac9vi9es  that  are  pa`erned,   repeated  and  carried  out  with  moderate  challenge    

Language  =  knowledge  /  knowledge  =  language  

  Pedagogy  –  extremely  important  considera9on    

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The  limits  of  my  language       means  the  limits  of  my  world.  

Ludwig  Wi`genstein    

Die  Grenzen  Meine  Sprache  Sind  Die  Grenzen  Meiner  Welt”,  Tractatus  Logico-­‐Philosophicus  (1922)  

     

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Language  Across  the  Curriculum  Professional  Development  

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h`p://www.lacpd.net/  

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References  

•  Cope,  B  &  Kalan9zis,  M.  (Eds)  2000.  Mul@literacies:  Literacy  learning  and  the  design  of  social   futures.  London:  Routledge.  

•  Hammond  J  (2001).  Scaffolding.  Newtown,  Australia:  PETA    

•  Halliday  M.A.K.    1985  Language,  context  and  text.  

•  Mariani,  L.  (1997)  Teacher  support  and  teacher  challenge  in  promo9ng  learner  autonomy.  

Perspec@ves:  A  Journal  of  TESOL-­‐Italy.  23(2).  Accessed  30  Aug  2013  from  h`p://

www.learningpaths.org/papers/papersupport.htm  

•  Mar9n,  J.R.  2011.  Con@nuum  Companion  to  Discourse  Analysis.  London:  Con9nuum.    

•  Mar9n.  J.R.  &  Rose,  D.  2008.  Genre  Rela@ons.  London:  Equinox.  

•  Mar9n.  J.R.  &  Rose,  D.  2012.  Learning  to  Write,  Reading  to  Learn:  Genre,  Knowledge  and   Pedagogy  in  the  Sydney  School.    

•  Painter,  C.  Unsworth,  L.  &  Mar9n,  J.R.  2013.  Reading  Visual  Narra@ves.  London:  Equinox.  

•  Polias  J  (forthcoming)  Appren@cing  Students  into  Science:  Doing,  Talking,  Wri@ng  and   Drawing  Scien@fically.  Stockholm:  Hallgren  &  Fallgren  

•  Polias,  J.  &  Forey,  G.    (forthcoming)  Teaching  through  English:  Maximal  Input  in  Meaning   Making.  In  Miller,  D.  (Ed).  Permeable  Contexts  &  Hybridity  in  Discourse.  London:  Con9nuum.  

•  Polias,  J.  h`p://www.lexised.com  

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Other  references…  

•  Special  edi9on  of  Language  Educa9on  –  Legi9ma9on  Code  Theory  

•  Special  edi9on  of  Second  Language  Wri9ng  –  Genre  based  pedagogy  

•  Special  edi9on  of  JEAP  –  SFL  in  ter9ary  educa9on  

•  Special  Edi9on  of  JALPP  –  SFL  applied    

Web  resources  

•  Aiton,  J.  (2011)  Genres  and  stages  h`p://aitonenglish.com/?p=1034  retrieved  15  Jan  2014  

•  Dury,  H.  (1997)  h`p://www.ascilite.org.au/conferences/perth97/papers/Drury/Drury.html  

•  Polias,  J.  (2003)  ESL  Scopes  and  Scales  h`p://www.lexised.com/wri9ng/  

•  Rose,  D.  h`p://www.readingtolearn.com.au  

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