Genom genrens lins : pedagogisk kommunikation i tidigare skolår

Detta är en avhandling från Malmö högskola, Fakulteten för lärande och samhälle

Sammanfattning: This dissertation explores how two teachers scaffold young second language learners in developing content knowledge and linguistic skills. As a qualitative study, it offers a critical examination of how two widely advocated forms of metaknowledge are used in instruction: metalinguistic knowledge, in particular genre knowledge, and reading strategies. Bernstein’s sociology of education theory is synthesized with systemic-function linguistic theory to explore how the participant teachers scaffold and place varying demands on the students. The central concept is pedagogic communication, which is defined as the way in which the teachers use language to communicate instructional content, build and uphold relations and organize information flows when teaching. The concept underpins the subsequent analyses, while also constituting a theoretical contribution to the field, as it enables more nuanced descriptions of classroom discourse. The material for the study has been generated through audio recordings, observations and collected teaching materials in school years 1 and 6. The school has a high percentage of second language learners and implements genre-based instruction. The first empirical chapter focuses on pedagogic communication during two recurring activities in school year one: preparations for reading assignments and weekly instances of “sharing time”. The result shows that the interaction is, to a large degree, open-ended. It is indicated that this places implicit demands on the student’s ability to convey personal experiences, which may lead to uneven opportunities of participation and access to the individualized scaffolding provided by the teacher. The following chapter explores how the same teacher leads genre-based instruction about the narrative genre. Here, genre knowledge is employed in a joint negotiation of experiential meanings, with the teacher using scaffolding strategies which work on a collective, rather than individual, level. The following two chapters explore genre-based instruction in school year 6, in a curriculum area about maps and population which integrates Geography and Swedish as a Second Language. Initially, the teacher is concerned with introducing central concepts belonging to geographical discourse through spoken and visual modes, along with digital tools. As expected, written text takes a more prominent role as the instruction moves through deconstruction and joint construction. However, interaction around texts concerns identifying and applying metalinguistic features, instead of negotiating subject-specific content. This instructional shift is also evident in the texts themselves, which show proper use of genre structures and logical connections without engaging with abstract and technical knowledge about maps and population. Rather than scaffolding the students’ encounters with subject-specific discourse, the metalinguistic instruction seems to supplant it. A general result is that strongly controlled classroom discourse is associated with introducing and reminding students of abstract concepts, such as metalinguistic and subject-specific concepts, while weaker control leads the communication to the domains of everyday knowledge rather than specialized ones. The study also illuminates the importance of less-researched features of classroom discourse and scaffolding, such as how the teachers show solidarity and build engagement through interpersonal resources and manage the information flow through textual ones. A final general result is that the attention to metaknowledge, such as genre knowledge and knowledge about reading strategies, tended to lead the communication away from meaningful encounters with texts. While abstract knowledge about how to read and write may be valuable elements of scaffolding, it is argued that such domains of metaknowledge should not become the main instructional content. As for using genres in instruction, a metafunctional frame is proposed which encompasses not only generic structures but the meanings that genres convey and the social goals they fulfil.

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