The Place of Learners' Languages in Literacy Programs: Bringing learners' home languages in through the school gate

Wilks-Smith, N 2017, 'The Place of Learners' Languages in Literacy Programs: Bringing learners' home languages in through the school gate', Babel, vol. 52, no. 1, pp. 27-34.


Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title The Place of Learners' Languages in Literacy Programs: Bringing learners' home languages in through the school gate
Author(s) Wilks-Smith, N
Year 2017
Journal name Babel
Volume number 52
Issue number 1
Start page 27
End page 34
Total pages 8
Publisher Australian Federation of Modern Language Teachers Associations
Abstract Learners' languages are often an ignored aspect of mainstream classroom literacy programs. Many school literacy programs focus on English, without any consideration of the linguistic capabilities of learners, across a diversity of languages, may bring to the classroom. This article challenges the assumption that literacy means English literacy and highlights the benefits and added value of incorporating learners' additional languages and semiotic resources from these other languages and associated cultures, into classroom literacy programs. The inclusion of a 'Languages' core course in the pre-service teacher Bachelor of Education program at RMIT University is discussed, along with practical strategies for bringing learners' home/additional languages into classrooms. By challenging the definition of literacy and identifying where learners' additional languages can play a role, and the benefits of doing so, it is hoped that they are no longer left at the school gate, and can instead contribute to overall literacy development.
Subject LOTE, ESL and TESOL Curriculum and Pedagogy (excl. Maori)
Keyword(s) languages
literacy
bilingual/ multilingual learners
pre-service teacher education
ISSN 0005-3503
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