Friday, October 30, 2015

#CommonCore in TESOL Quarterly September 2014 - I

I've searched "common core state standards" in TESOL Quarterly. This gave me mainstream papers referencing the standards, close to my own familiar field of research, (TESOL and Applied Linguistics). [NB, this background research is also serving to familiarise me with the University of Strathclyde's Library's eJournals, and usage of Mendeley Desktop as a reference manager.]

Kibler et al (2014) serves as an introduction to an issue of TESOL Quarterly all about the impact of the new standards movement on ESOL. As such it's a good literature review not only for articles in this issue, but for related articles. [Will need to read this issue, and then look to articles published in succeeding 12 months, 2015/15.]

Flores (2014) defines dynamic bilingualism as "the fluid language practices in which [learners] engage to make meaning and communicate in the many cultural contexts that they inhabit on a daily basis". Further, "both
teachers and students transcend monoglossic language ideologies on a daily basis whether they share the same home language or not." Which sounds true, to me, someone who's taught in numerous cultures over 17 years. It's really getting to the reality of it all, and in particular it reframes the old chestnut about whether and to what extent we should allow or discourage L1 in the classroom. Many EFL teachers who have worked abroad will have had their classroom invaded by a manager (usually someone with no classroom experience) who regards ANY L1 in the classroom as evidence of inadequate instruction, lack of discipline in the classroom etc. 

Flores (2014) refers with approval to the New York State Bilingual Common Core Initiative, details of which can be found here. [I need to closely read these docs, and consider role of dynamic bilingualism in China EFL and Scotland ESOL situations.]  They point to the need to align assessment to bilingualism, and to the need to encourage grass roots (teachers in the classroom) movement for bilingualism. 

Highly theoretical but interesting, (and underlining how much theory in ESOL has moved on since I last did any real academic study in 2010), Bailey 2014 puts language learning as a complex adaptive system (CAS) (per Larsen-Freeman, 1997, [cited by 784, according to Google Scholar]). "Language Learning Progressions" are more meaningful than "standards", LLPs being the steps that a learner will make, based on evidence, whereas standards are what they should know at the end of a grade, but without any research validation.

NB: Reading continues...


Bailey, A., & Heritage, M. (2014). The Role of Language Learning Progressions in Improved Instruction and Assessment of English Language Learners. TESOL Q, 48(3), 480-506.

Flores, N.,  Schissel, J. (2014). Dynamic Bilingualism as the Norm: Envisioning a Heteroglossic Approach to Standards-Based Reform. TESOL Q, 48(3), 454-479.

Kibler, A., Vald├ęs, G., & Walqui, A. (2014). What Does Standards‐based Educational Reform Mean for English Language Learner Populations in Primary and Secondary Schools?. TESOL Quarterly, 48(3), 433-453.

Larsen-Freeman, D. (1997). Chaos/complexity science and second language acqui- sition. Applied Linguistics, 18, 141–165. doi:10.1093/applin/18.2.141