Based on the Curriculum for Excellence Es and Os for talking and listening, I have devised a set of group rules for talking and listening as follows;
I then selected a novel called ‘Holes’ by Louis Sachar to design a lesson activity to meet the outcome LIT 2-07a (“I can show my understanding of what I listen to or watch by responding to literal, inferential, evaluative and other types of questions, and by asking different types of questions of my own.”)
First step was to define the terms for the different types of questions;
- Literal Questions – directly stated in the text
- Inferential Questions – Inderectly stated, induced, or require other information
- Evaluative Questions – Formulate an opinion-based response.
Bearing this in mind when reading the novel I formulated the following questions which would form the core of a lesson on Chapters 1-4, and would include group discussion and mind mapping.
Michelle’s input on language was very engaging and led to me reflecting on my own experiences of learning English. I expect most native speakers like me take this ability for granted, and because the initial processes began so early in life I can’t really remember the actual process. I was also quite literate before attending primary school so have always felt very confident in using language. This instinctive or at least early development of the understanding of how to communicate is marvellous in and of itself, but does not help me analyse the process in terms of teaching it to others. On reflection one of the key aspects is repetition, or practice, along with immersion in real world use of language and exposure to vocabulary, initially with parents/care givers and then broadening out from there.
With reference to children achieving second level outcomes, I would be hoping to observe engagement and confidence in using language, and the ability to summarise, discern between facts and opinion and to explain the purpose of an instance of communication. Bloom’s Taxonomy (represented graphically below) suggests the kind of language to use when assessing learners’ stages.
Another method might be to use ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ tasks, which give teachers an insight into learners’ stages and give their pupils an opportunity for self-assessment, reflection and benchmarking.
As literacy underpins attainment in all other aspects of the curriculum, and therefore one’s role in society, I am a keen exponent and practice what I preach. I read a great deal from a wide variety of sources, both professionally and for pleasure. This is a habit which both my own young children have adopted by osmosis and one which I hope to pass on to young learners in my charge. For if young people can express themselves, communicate and comprehend effectively, then there is no limit to their potential.