Teachers and students are often involved in an intellectual game in which both parties are the players taking part in different roles. Each party in the teaching-learning process is expected to play their roles in an effort to accomplish the anticipated learning outcomes. For instance, in languages classroom, a success in the teacher-learning process is fundamentally interactive; however, the interaction varies in nature and quality depending on the ways in which it is interpreted, constructed and understood.
One of the observation I made from the two videos; High School Literature Analysis' and 'An A Level English Literature Lesson', is that teachers use content language as the starting point for learning. This is seen for instance in the video; High school literature Analysis, the teacher begins her class by explaining the student' performance in the previous tests. She explains their performances and how that can help them improve (MassachusettsESE). For an effective interpretation of the content language to the students, it is not simply a product of how much the teacher talks but on the quality of the talk. She goes on to explain to the students what they are going to study in that class and their roles as students for an effective learning outcome. In the second video, An A Level English Literature Lesson, the teacher applies the same technique by asking for any volunteer who has read anything (wonderfrancis). This gives the students a chance to reflect on their reading and at the same time acts as a starting point for learning. These talks need to be about something important and relevant to the class and the talk itself needs to have a value in its own right.
The second observation is that teachers approach the content language as a classroom interactional language between the teacher and the students and also among the students themselves. This kind of approach has a direct contribution to the nature and the quality of learning taking place in the classroom. By speaking, reading and listening, teachers can create an environment where students can work together to analyze, interpret and understand the subject of discussion (Achugar et al. 8-24). In the video High School Literature Analysis, the teacher engages students through constructive discussions on tone and word choice for five Malcom X articles. The response from the students shows a positive classroom interaction that can have a direct effect on the nature and quality of the teaching-learning process. At the beginning of the second video, the use of content language as an interactional language seems minimum as some students indicate a lack of knowledge on the subject matter (wonderfrancis). The teacher, however, has a positive response towards the students' struggle on the subject and promises not to get upset.
The two videos show the approach to content language as an explanatory language. In a classroom setting, content language is often viewed as an element of teacher talk where the teacher can introduce concepts or information for students to interpret on their own. In this case, students are considered to be passive receivers of the concept being address, however, seeking clarification is still highly encouraged. In the video 'High School Literature Analysis', the teacher reads different passages in Malcom X's articles and tries to explain to her students what they might have misinterpreted. For example, after reading the phrase, ".. his life oozing out through a half dozen or more gunshot wounds in his chest." (MassachusettsESE), she stops to interpret the attitude of the author to the student. As part of the instructional approach, in the video 'An A-level English Literature Lesson', the teacher gives several explanations on Frankenstein and engages the students to ensure they understand the aspect of explanation.
The fourth observation from the two videos is the use of questioning as an approach to content language use. Questioning acts as a significant part of developing teaching-learning interactive language in a classroom (Achugar et al. 8-24). It is often required to be distributive across all the class participants where students can ask as many questions as their teacher to allow for a collaborative exploration of the subject matter. High School Literature Analysis video, for example, both the students and their teacher use this approach as they discuss the events that led to the death of Malcom X. Despite students not getting involved in terms of questioning in 'An A Level English Literature Lesson' video, their teacher is active in both display and referential questions to elicit a collective participation from her students.
From the videos, there are several strategies that can be used to improve content literacy through language awareness. For instance, the use of vocabulary and language development can be applied while enhancing content literacy whereby, the teacher introduces new information and discussing vocabulary words key to the new concept (Achugar et al. 8-24). The teachers can also apply the explicit instruction approach where the students are given a direct teaching on academic language, concept and subject information, and a comprehensive reading on their classroom assignments.
Achugar, Mariana, Mary Schleppegrell, and Teresa Oteiza. "Engaging teachers in language analysis: A functional linguistics approach to reflective literacy." English teaching: Practice and Critique 6.2 (2007): 8-24.
MassachusettsESE. "High School Literature Analysis." YouTube, YouTube, 27 Oct. 2015, www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qE1KlWN06o.
wonderfrancis. "An A Level English Literature Lesson." YouTube, YouTube, 23 Sept. 2012, www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBuu7RnDn9c
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