[ Contents Vol 2, 1986 ] [ QJER Home ]
The purpose of this section is to provide brief information regarding recently completed research studies in Queensland. It is anticipated that the section may be modified to some extent in future editions in order to more adequately serve the requirements of readers. Suggestions for improving the format or content are welcome.
Intending contributors should forward a short abstract of their work, together with relevant biographical data, to: The Editor, "Queensland Researcher", Research Services Branch, Queensland Department of Education, P.O. Box 33, North Quay Q 4000.
|TITLE:||English Language Development Across the Curriculum (ELDAC) - An Action Research Project.|
|INSTITUTION:||Migrant Education, Department of Education, Queensland|
The Division of Special Education in Queensland provides a wide variety of language support provisions for non-English speaking background (NESB) students in secondary schools. The approach to the delivery of these services emphasises a whole-school, all subject involvement rather than the implementation of a separate English as a Second Language (ESL) program.
Recent studies in applied linguistics suggest that English language development might best be facilitated by subject teachers incorporating a functional language focus in the teaching of content. Other studies also advocated that ESL teachers should work in close and frequent collaboration with subject teachers, in order to foster whole-school awareness and responsibility for ESL.
It was in response to these trends that Migrant Education implemented a pilot project on English language development across the curriculum, in the second semester of 1985.
The project was conducted at Oxley State High School which has a high proportion of NESB students, and was jointly funded by Migrant Education and the school's Participation and Equity Program (PEP) funds.
The project was monitored by an officer from Research Services Branch for the following purposes:
The monitoring was on-going throughout the 1985 phase of the project. Participant perceptions and descriptive information were collected through a questionnaire, a series of interviews, logs, observations, video recordings and attendance at various project-related activities.
- to describe the organisation and implementation of the project; and
- to provide information that might facilitate and improve the implementation process.
OVERVIEW OF THE PROJECT
The specific objectives of the project were to:
The language framework within the ESL curriculum guide for secondary school aged children was considered by Migrant Education to provide an appropriate framework for identifying and describing the language demands of the secondary curriculum and for developing language focused materials and strategies.
- implement a process that was designed to heighten teachers' awareness of the functional language demands placed on students by the secondary curriculum; and
- assist teachers in developing strategies and resources that might:
- enable students to cope better with the language demands of the curriculum; and
- facilitate continued language development of NESB students.
Participants in the project included:
The Project was implemented in three phases:
- Co-ordinating Committee
- officer-in-charge, Brisbane Migrant Education Centre
- deputy principal, Oxley State High School
- senior teacher-in-charge, Oxley Special Education Unit
- Project Team
- three ESL curriculum/materials developers
- Teacher Task Groups
- subject masters/mistresses from six nominated subject areas
- two teachers from each nominated subject area
- one project team member
- Resource Personnel
- English subject mistress (from the target school)
- ESL teachers
Additional activities and follow-up visits were organised for teacher task group participants during pupil-free days and whenever additional assistance was required by participants from the school.
- Preparatory Phase
The project team undertook a detailed language analysis of syllabuses, work programs, textbooks and test papers from the Years 8 - 10 curriculum in six nominated subject areas (three core, three elective)
- Awareness Phase
The activities undertaken in this phase were intended to establish a basis for the collaborative developmental work required in the subsequent phase. A half-day 'awareness' seminar was conducted for all teachers in the target school. Year 7 teachers from five feeder primary schools were also invited to participate in this phase.
- Developmental phase
At the outset of this phase, teacher task groups were formed in the six subject areas. Developmental work was undertaken over six days scheduled from August to December 1985. Each day was organised to include both joint and individual subject area sessions. Joint sessions were intended to provide participants with the opportunity to explore language issues within the context of a range of subject areas, while individual sessions were aimed at exploring subject-specific concerns and developing language focused materials and strategies. During the joint sessions, some time was also set aside for participants to share their perceptions of project-related activities.
Participation in the project was expanded to allow other interested teachers to become involved, both from within the target school and from other, mainly primary, schools.
Developmental activities in the present school are continuing in 1986. These have included:
- refresher workshops for 1985 participants;
- introductory workshops for new participants; and
- appropriate release-time for both groups to undertake materials development.
At this stage of the project, the outcomes for mainstream teacher participants appear to have been:
For the school, the outcomes appear to have been:
- an augmented understanding of language-related issues;
- an ability to reflect upon, and critically examine, the advantages and inadequacies of traditional views of language;
- the development of a less fragmented view of the language used in various high school subject areas;
- the development of a greater feeling of responsibility for dealing with language which was formerly regarded as the prime concern of English teachers only;
- a greater range and number of written materials and resources;
- an improvement in the oral discourse of some teachers;
- a deeper and more comprehensive understanding by some teachers of their own subject areas; and
- a perceived link between the process objectives of a subject area and its associated language.
For Migrant Education the benefits seem to have been:
- an enhancement of the level of professional exchange and interaction between individuals and departments, and between the school and its feeder primary schools; and
- a growing interest in the project by non-participants in the target school.
For NESB and other students the benefits appear to have been:
- a deeper understanding on the part of the project team of the language demands of a range of secondary school subject areas;
- the evolution of a model for ESL provision in secondary schools which promises to be more effective than current provisions; and
- a growing interest in the project by other schools in Queensland, both primary and secondary.
The monitoring techniques employed throughout the project and the short timeline of the 1985 Developmental Phase do not allow for a more substantive judgement to be made. A more detailed investigation in the present school over a longer period of time would be required for this to be possible. Repeated undertakings in other schools should also provide greater insights for Migrant Education into the potentials of the approach, as well as the most appropriate mechanisms for its implementation.
- some instances of obvious improvement in performance at this early stage of the project.
PUBLICATIONS ARISING FROM THE PROJECT
Publications are currently being prepared on the following aspects of the project:
Limited copies of all publications will be available from:
- a full report of the monitoring of the project; and
- a package of theoretical background papers, sample materials and implementation strategies.
Brisbane Migrant Education Centre
About the author: Cathy Pegolo is an assistant education officer with Migrant Education. She is currently attached to Research Services Branch.
GPO Box 225 Brisbane Q 4001
Telephone: 221 5238
|Please cite as: QIER (1986). Research reports 2(3). Queensland Researcher, 2(3), 35-41. http://www.iier.org.au/qjer/qr2/res-repts-3-3.html
[ Contents Vol 2, 1986 ] [ QJER Home ]
Created 17 Mar 2008. Last revision: 22 Mar 2013.