Coﬃn, Caroline (2010). Language support in EAL contexts. Why systemic functional linguistics? (Special Issue of NALDIC Quarterly). NALDIC, Reading, UK.
Language can stand between a student and success in school learning. However, questions concerning the kind of language support to provide, the extent and timing of that support and who should provide it are vexed questions. In particular the first question (what kind of language support should be provided) has many implications for curriculum development, departmental strategy, classroom pedagogy, text book design and approaches to assessment. One major issue is how explicitly or implicitly the language support should be, and related to this, what kind of language for talking about language (what kind of meta-language) is needed – both by teachers and by students.
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Tan, L. H., Xu, M., Chang, C. Q., & Siok, W. T. (2013). China’s language input system in the digital age affects children’s reading development. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 110(3), 1119-1123.
Written Chinese as a logographic system was developed over 3,000 years ago. Historically, Chinese children have learned to read by learning to associate the visuo-graphic properties of Chinese characters with lexical meaning, typically through handwriting. In recent years, however, many Chinese children have learned to use electronic communication devices based on the pinyin input method, which associates phonemes and English letters with characters. When children use pinyin to key in letters, their spelling no longer depends on reproducing the visuo-graphic properties of characters that are indispensable to Chinese reading, and, thus, typing in pinyin may conﬂict with the traditional learning processes for written Chinese. We found that the overall incidence rate of severe reading difﬁculty appears to be much higher than ever reported on Chinese reading. Crucially, we found that children’s reading scores were signiﬁcantly negatively correlated with their use of the pinyin input method, suggesting that pinyin typing on e-devices hinders Chinese reading development. The Chinese language has survived the technological challenges of the digital era, but the beneﬁts of communicating digitally may come with a cost in proﬁcient learning of written Chinese.
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Jock Boyd (2011) The role of digital devices in vocabulary acquisition, Cambridge ESOL : Research Notes : Issue 44 / May 2011
With the advent of social networks, cloud computing and digital devices, the landscape of learning is changing rapidly. Students are using digital devices, in the form of smart phones and iPads in the classroom but, from my observations, they have been using them as mere reference materials, looking up words and translating them into their own languages. These powerful devices are capable of much more; they can be used as learning tools if they are incorporated into classroom teaching practice. The present action research investigates how students normally use their digital devices for vocabulary acquisition and shows how digital devices could be used more fully and creatively to enhance learning of second language (L2) vocabulary, both general and specialised (discipline-specific).
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