Mediating between predetermined order and chaos: the role of the teacher in task-based language education
Tasks are not blueprints for action. A number of empirical studies carried out in authentic classrooms have shown that teachers and students reinterpret the tasks they are offered by syllabus developers in ways that suit their own purposes, learning needs, and interaction styles. This observation has raised fundamental questions about the degree to which teachers who are working with tasks can make any prediction concerning the learning that will come of out of task-based interactional work. In addition, if learners’ reactions to tasks are fairly unpredictable, teachers may be inclined to associate task-based work with organisational chaos and with the seemingly unattainable challenge of having to cater to every individual learner’s personal whims. Drawing on classroom-based research carried out in Flanders, and describing two task-based lessons that were observed in authentic Dutch as a second language (DSL) classrooms, this paper shows that between the extremes of deterministic predictability on the one hand and complete chaos on the other lies a rich pedagogical space that teachers and learners who work with tasks can exploit to construct shared projects with clearly determined goals.
Taaltaken zijn geen blauwdruk voor activiteit in de klas. Uit heel wat onderzoek naar klasinteractie blijkt dat leerkrachten en leerlingen de taken die ze krijgen voorgeschoteld, herinterpreteren, zodat ze beter aansluiten bij hun leerstijlen, interesses en interactiestijl. Dit roept de vraag op of leerkrachten die met taken werken nog wel enige voorspelling kunnen doen over wat hun leerlingen uit de taakuitvoering zullen leren. Bovendien dreigen heel wat leerkrachten taakgericht onderwijs te associëren met chaos in de klas, en met de schier onhaalbare uitdaging om op alle behoeften en reacties van alle individuele leerlingen te moeten inspelen. Op basis van onderzoek in Vlaamse klassen, en voortbouwend op 2 taakgerichte lessen die werden geobserveerd in Vlaamse NT2-klassen, illustreert dit artikel dat er tussen chaos en complete voorspelbaarheid een rijke pedagogische ruimte ligt. Binnen die pedagogische ruimte gaan leerkrachten en leerlingen samen aan de slag rond een gezamenlijk taakgericht project met duidelijke doeleinden.
Applications of Responsiveness to Intervention and the Speech-Language Pathologist in Elementary School Settings
This article addresses ways in which speech-language pathologists can play a proactive and substantive part in school-wide language and reading disability prevention and intervention efforts within the responsiveness to intervention framework. Within a collaborative working paradigm, specific student-focused instructional targets are presented in the areas of oral language, metacognition, and reading comprehension. A discussion of professional development focuses on enhancing teacher-student communication interaction, a critical yet often undervalued component of teacher training.
BACKGROUND: several authors have pointed to the urgent need of researches and actions involving teachers, in the school environment, that have a preventive and vocal health promotion character with the purpose of improving work conditions.
AIM: to analyze the vocal complaints, laryngeal symptoms, vocal habits and vocal profile of teachers of a public school before and after their participation in voice workshops.
METHOD: the study was divided in different steps: 1st step – closed interview, larynx and perceptive-auditory assessment in which 42 teachers were evaluated; 2nd step – voice workshops; 3rd step – perceptive-auditory reassessment in which 13 teachers were evaluated.
RESULTS: 73% of the subjects presented vocal complaints; 57.14% presented mild to moderate hoarseness, 78.57% presented breathiness and 52.38% vocal tension. Evaluation of the larynx indicated that 75.86% of the subjects presented glottal gaps and 34.48% mucous thickening. After the voice workshops a significant difference was observed in the level of vocal tension, both in the analysis of the /e/ vowel and in the analysis of Spontaneous Speech (p = 0.0277 for p > 0.05 for both). Improvement was observed in vocal care and in the understanding of intervening and determinant factors for vocal alterations, which are present in the teaching environment.
CONCLUSION: health actions, such as voice workshops, are important to trigger changes in the work environment as well as in the health of teachers.
Teacher identification of speech and language impairment in kindergarten students using the Kindergarten Development Check
The purpose of this paper was to profile the extent and accuracy of teacher identification of speech and language impairment within a kindergarten student population in Tasmania, Australia, using the Kindergarten Development Check (KDC). A total of 286 kindergarten students (aged 4-5 years and in their first year of formal schooling) were screened by teachers with the KDC on two separate occasions over their kindergarten year. In the following academic year, each of the same 286 students were assessed by a speech-language pathologist, and diagnosed with either typically developing or impaired speech and/or language skills. Review of KDC data determined the number of students identified by teachers with speech and language impairment at each occasion during their kindergarten year. Comparison of data from the later KDC administration and speech-language pathology assessment then determined the correspondence between identification of speech and language impairment by teachers and speech-language pathologists. Upon initial administration of the KDC, 51 (17.8%) students were identified by teachers with language impairment and 47 (16.4%) students with speech impairment. Following the second administration of the KDC 3 months later, 20 (7.0%) students continued to be identified with language impairment, and 39 (13.6%) with speech impairment. Comparison of speech-language pathology testing results and KDC data from the second administration found the overall validity of teacher identification was 86.4% and 71% for speech and language impairment respectively. Specificity rates were high, with 93% and 97% of students with typically developing speech and language skills respectively, correctly classified on the KDC. However, the sensitivity was only 50% for speech impairment and 15% for language impairment, indicating that 50% of students presenting with speech impairment and 85% of students with language impairment in their subsequent academic year were not recorded by teachers as having such a difficulty on the later KDC administration during their kindergarten year. The KDC appears to be ineffective in supporting kindergarten teachers to identify students with ongoing speech and to a greater extent, language impairment. Measures to improve the sensitivity of the KDC in particular need to be considered by speech-language pathologists and educational professionals in Tasmania.