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Language is at the heart of the learning process. We learn through language. Our knowledge about the world is constructed in language—the worlds of home and the community, the worlds of school subjects, the worlds of literature, the worlds of the workplace, and so on. It is through language that we interact with others and build our identities. Teachers’ explanations, classroom discussions, assessment of student achievement, and students’ understanding, composition, and evaluation of texts are all mediated through language. In this book, we will be exploring how an explicit understanding of how language works enables students to make informed choices in their use and understanding of texts.
As educators, our job is to make sure that all students have a good command of the language needed to succeed in school and beyond. In order to do this, teachers need to know about language and how it works. This book is intended as an introduction to the language that students encounter in the various curriculum areas as they move through the years of schooling, and it will enable teachers to:
– plan units of work that are sensitive to the language demands placed on students
– design activities with a language focus
– select texts for reading at an appropriate level
– analyse texts to identify relevant language and visual features
– create teaching materials that integrate an awareness of language
– help students to access meanings created through a variety of media (written, spoken, visual, multimodal)
– provide explicit support in developing students’ writing and composing
– assess students’ written work
– extend students’ ability to articulate what they are learning.