The importance of oral language development among elementary school students is widely acknowledged, both in the research and in policy documents worldwide. Facility with one particular style of language, decontextualized language, is critical for success in the school context. This style of language is not readily accessible to all students. This study reviews literature findings which indicate that teacher knowledge is imperative for successful teaching of English and reports on an intervention case study in three schools in Ireland in designated disadvantaged contexts. The case study examined the impact of enhanced teacher knowledge on the oral language skills of students in elementary classrooms. Findings suggest that, when teachers are empowered with knowledge of the requisite content of language teaching, appropriate pedagogical approaches for students’ oral language development, awareness of the style of language necessary for success in school, and the potential of parents to support their children’s oral language development, students’ facility with decontextualized language style is improved at all levels of the elementary school. The study concludes with recommendations for policy-makers underscoring the significance of improved teacher knowledge for effective oral language teaching among students in disadvantaged contexts.
"Empowering Teachers to Promote Oral Language in Culturally Diverse Classrooms in Ireland,"
Journal of Multilingual Education Research:
Vol. 3, Article 5.
Available at: http://fordham.bepress.com/jmer/vol3/iss1/5