Reinstantiation of Meanings in Scaffolding ESL Academic Literacy: Teacher’s Talk around the Text in the Reading to Learn Program Liu Yi Shenzhen University. Reading to Learn is a literacy program designed to enable all learners to read and write successfully(Rose 2003, 2004, 2005).
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Reinstantiation of Meanings in Scaffolding ESL Academic Literacy: Teacher’s Talk around the Text in the Reading to Learn Program
Reading to Learn is a literacy program designed to enable all learners to read and write successfully(Rose 2003, 2004, 2005).
It is a Sydney School approach to genre pedagogy, grounded on a functional model of language founded by Michael Halliday (1994) and a theory of genre developed by Martin and his colleagues (Martin 1993, 2001; Rothery 1989,1994)
1. Preparing before Reading orients students to the genre and field of the text.
2. Detailed Reading: the teacher supports all students to read each sentence in a short passage.
3. Preparing for Writing: students take down notes and plan what they are going to write, based closely on the passage they have studied in Detailed Reading.
4. Joint Rewriting: the teacher supports the class to rewrite a paragraph that is patterned on the reading text.
5. Individual Rewriting: students practice writing a new text using the same patterns as the reading and Joint Rewriting texts.
6. Independent Writing: students use what they have learnt from the preceding stages to write an independent text
The teacher prepares students to understand a text by
1. providing background information of the field,
2. explaining what the text is about,
3. making a detailed summary.
1, sentence paraphrase
2, a position cue
3, word meaning
4, reading the cotext
5, asking students to identify the relevant part of a sentence.
Now this sentence starts(position) by telling us which policy it was. It was a policy that repressed people(meaning). Can anybody at this table tell me what that policy was? The government’s policies of …?(reading the cotext).
Detailed Reading interaction cycle
Linguistic Analysis of R2L is limited to a few ideal samples in the demonstration lessons by David Rose.
No systematic classroom analysis has been made of how R2L is adapted in different contexts across primary, secondary and tertiary levels.
No systematic discourse analysis has been made of teacher’s talk around the text in R2L.
Christie (2002) explored the relationship between the regulative and instructional registers in both primary and secondary classrooms. The regulative register determines the pacing, sequencing and management of the pedagogic activity as well as the criterion for evaluation of performance while the instructional register takes the responsibility of identifying the instructional fields.
Christie’s analysis of curriculum genres and macro-genres demonstrates that the instructional register is projected from the regulative register.
The regulative register is fore-grounded in the mental processes and the instructional is embedded in the participant role of Phenomenon.
The principles for evaluation of performance remain implicit in the progressive classroom.
Teacher talk is marked by textual themes. Teachers use positive polarity and identifying processes to assert their authority.
Conclusion: Effective teaching and learning activity results from the regulation of the regulative register by expression through the voice of the instructional register.
Yong and Nguyen (2002) examined the relationship between teacher talk and textbooks in a physics class, following the methods used by Halliday and Martin (1993). They analysed three aspects of scientific meaning: representations of physical and mental reality, lexical packaging and the rhetorical structure of reasoning.
In the representations of the physical reality, material processes are used frequently in both the textbook and the teacher talk. However, the textbook employs the passive voice and third person verbs, placing its reader as an observer while the teacher talk contains mostly first person verbs and no passive voice, enabling the teacher to participate effectively in the action.
Despite the frequent use of relational processes in both the textbook and the teacher talk, the textbook writer expresses relational meanings in a far greater variety of ways, achieving more precision, but at the cost of increasing difficulty of comprehension.
In terms of lexical packaging, he uses more grammatical metaphors, often leaving them unpacked while the teacher always unpacks his grammatical metaphors with his gestures, body movement and verbal expression.
The Reading to Learn pedagogy is currently being incorporated into a writing course entitled Intensive Academic Writing (IAW) at a center for English teaching in an Australian university. This is a pre-sessional five week course mostly for Chinese students preparing to enter a post-graduate program in the university. The course consists of the following components: Genre Analysis, Report Task, Writing Skills, Readings and Lectures. In each week, two two-hour teaching sessions are devoted to scaffolded reading , covering both paraphrase and summary writing.
This study will focus on teacher talk around the text in the Preparation and Detailed Reading phases. It explores relations between elaboration and academic discourse. What linguistic devices are employed in scaffolding academic readings? How does meaning shift from an academic text to teacher’s elaboration on it? In what ways are commitment resources deployed to scaffold academic readings?
. What features of academic discourse are elaborated? How
Contextualization and attitudinal commitments in elaboration of technical terms
Commitment Resources as Scaffolding Strategies in the Deconstruction Stage
The analysis is based on two demonstration lessons given by David Rose (2003) and six audio-taped classroom lessons given by three centre teachers. The examples selected will be marked respectively by DR(David Rose), CT1(Center Teacher 1), CT2(Center Teacher 2) and CT3(Center Teacher 3).
Instantiation is a hierarchy of ...
generality – recurrent patterns specialize as registers/genres, text types, texts and readings
potentiality– overall potential in relation to subpotentializations
“(...) the amount of meaning potential activated in a particular process of instantiation - the relative semantic weight of a text in other words” (Martin 2008: 45).
how many optional choices for meaning are taken up and
how generally the choices a text subscribes to are instantiated (degree of delicacy)
(...) process of “moving up the hierarchy, opening up the meaning potential as we move, and then taking advantage of this under-specification of meaning to reinstate (the meaning potential) in a novel text” (Martin 2007).
There are many areas in which instantiation, conceived along these lines can be deployed.
Within texts, it is relevant to periodicity, since higher level Themes and News combine meanings with less commitment than lower level ones.
Between texts, there are the practices of note-taking, precis writing and abridgment to be examined, all of which have special reference to the ongoing problem of plagiarism in apprentice texts.
Between modalities, the complementary affordances of different semiotic systems lead to texts with complementary degrees of commitment, a crucial dimension of the inter-modal synergy they engender.
Across languages, the practices of both translating and interpreting are of special relevance, again with respect to the affordances and predispositions of one language and culture in relation to another, and the amount of meaning potential that has to be opened up before a responsible re-instantiation can be enacted (...)
Hood (2008) proposes some categories as potential resources for managing levels of commitment in the process of rewriting a source text. She discusses shifts of ideational meanings in terms of generalization, abstraction, grammatical metaphor, lexical metaphor and infusion. As regards interpersonal perspective on commitment, appraisal meanings shift in complex ways.
Haliday and Matthiessen(1999:615) regard generalization as a relationship allowing for “the development of extended taxonomies”. Following Haliday and Hasan’s model of reiteration(1976), generalization is a cline of increasing generality that ranges from repetition, synonomy, through superordination and general nouns to personal reference items.
De/classification: relations between classes and members
De/composition: relations between wholes and parts
De/nomination: relations between categories and instances
I turned to the ascent of the peak. The ascent ( climb, task, thing or it) is perfectly easy.
Generalization refers to a type of commitment relationships within a sentence or/and between sentences where one entity more general is related to something more specific or vice versa. It may be considered as a cline of different degrees of delicacy.
CT2: Sentence four tells us that this difference, the difference between Singapore and Chinese people can be explained by differences in living standards and the quality of goods in the two countries.
One explanation for this difference may be the stage of economic development in each country and the standard of quality of available goods.
CT2: The reason they give for this is they look at the different level of development of the two countries. Singapore is at a more advanced stage than China
DR: The particular time we’re going to look at is this one here, the mid-1980s, so it’s 1984, 1985, 1986.
CT2: …first of all culture did not make any difference in three kinds of decision making styles. And these were quality consciousness, recreation consciousness and brand loyalty and culture made no difference in those three areas, the very different cultures of Singapore and Australia.
CT2: The reason they give for this is they look at the different level of development of the two countries. Singapore is at a more advanced stage than China.
In China, the quality of goods is not consistent (Fan & Xiao, 1998), thus, quality would be an important purchase criteria.
CT2: Whereas in China, things are a little uneven, so people need to be more careful about it.
CT2: Er, people from Singapore. Can you see the phrase that means people from Singapore, Sophie, in that sentence? Sentence three. Sophie is not paying attention. I will make a note and I will record it here. (Laughter). Ok, people from Singapore.
CT2: …first of all culture did not make any difference in three kinds of decision making styles. And these were quality consciousness, recreation consciousness and brand loyaltyand culture made no difference in those three areas, the very different cultures of Singapore and Australia.
Generalization: Use of personal reference items
The use of repetition, synonyms, superordinates and general nouns in the teacher’s talk helps to explain academic texts as well as elicitate appropriate responses from students. Teaching is conducted along the continuum from general to specific.
When teachers introduce a text and paraphrase it, they often use terms from traditional grammar such as word, phrase, sentence, paragraph and heading and a category of abstract nouns or noun groups variously known as A-nouns (Francis, 1986), signalling nouns (Flowerdew 2003) and shell nouns (Schmid 2000). They do not serve as referents only, but also as an important commitment resources for scaffolding purposes.
Factual: fact, thing
Linguistic: message, rumour, question
Mental: idea, notion
Modal: possibility, obligation
Eventive: act, attempt
Circumstantial: situation, place, area, approach.
DR:The heading’s called Revolutionary days.
CT1: Ok, now the paper is called Cross-Cultural Differences in Consumer Decision-Making Styles…
CT1: The journal is called Cross Cultural Management.
CT2: ...but they found one big difference. They were not as conscious of quality. Ok, people in Mainland China are very quality conscious.
CT2: Specifically, they, one surprising result was that Singapore people were very different from Chinese customers in Mainland China.
DR: So the first paragraph here at the very top, this paragraph here at the top is about the issue. The issue is there are always arguments about immigration, but it’s good for Australia.
The second paragraph is talking about er only one dimension. It is talking about brand consciousness. And here they found that Australian customers were more brand conscious than Singaporeans.
Metadiscourse helps teachers identify the heading of a text, introduce the theme of a paragraph and draw students’ attention to a relevant part of a sentence or a paragraph. It also functions as an important means to specify abstraction with exemplification.
Grammatical metaphor is identified as the key linguistic resources for construal of vertical discourse. Martin (2010) demonstrates the critical role grammatical metaphor plays in construing verticality. With nominal groups realizing processes and qualities, grammatical metaphor builds up abstraction, enabling the construction of vertical discourse. With Agentive relationships realized by verbal groups achieving the ‘cause in the clause’ effect, the metaphorical device helps to construct a deep level of theorization.
As grammatical metaphor may constitute an obstacle to students’ comprehension,it requires pedagogical treatment. Teacher’s paraphrase of grammatical metaphor is a process of demetaphorication by means of unpacking and definition.
When it comes to logical metaphor, the use of explicit conjunction makes explicit the internal conjunctive relations though it may affect the grading of probability. To facilitate students’ understanding of explanations and arguments in academic texts, teacher’s talk may begin with a meta-explanation summarizing the inherent links among the sentences.
expectations: what we expect, what people expect from a process.
Repression: repress the people; repression means you are keeping people down, you are repressing them. (changing incongruence into congruence):
DR: Who can tell me the words that mean angry and frightened?
S: Anger and fear.
DR: Can you see the word that means people were rebelling? South African politics erupted in a ….?
The government’s policies of repression had bred anger and fear. Its policies of reform had given rise to expectations amongst black people of changes which the government had been unable to meet.
DR: And there were two reasons for this. Because the government, on one side they had a policy to keep the people down, to repress the people with the police and the army. And of course this make the people very angry and frightened.
CT2: And it tells us that it may be something which is the same for both Australian and Singaporean consumers. Ok, er, what is that? The same for both Australians and Singaporeans. It means they assume the products will be pretty good. What is the phrase in the sentence, Sophy? Yeah, yeah, following that. Can you see? It tells us that it is something that they assume will be good. How is it said here? May be a basic assumption. So underline a basic assumption.
CT2: Sherry, can you see the phrase that tells us they agree? The phrase that says the results agree. What words show us that?
CT2: Consistency. So show consistency. Underline show consistency. What word tells us that they disagree, Jessica?
CT2:Conflict. Absolutely. Very good. Underline conflict or highlight conflict.
Elaboration of technical terms is accompanied by shifts from abstraction to contextualization. Technical terms are discipline-specific. Abstract technical terms often originate from grammatical metaphors. Martin (2007) argues that grammatical metaphor loses itself in definitions and change into the technical term, thus achieving ‘the distilling impact of technicality’.
Elaboration is meant to weaken such technicality. Teachers tend to scaffold reading by contextualizing technical terms with citation of concrete examples, real or imagined.
In social sciences and humanities, technical terms are often axiologically charged, invoking different attitudinal reactions among readers with different political inclinations. Naturally when a teacher elaborates a technical term, he/she usually infuses his/her attitudes into the elaboration which may not necessarily be the author’s point of view. This is especially the case in the humanities.
CT3: So norms. …When you open the door for me, I will say thank you. It is our norms to do so. But different cultures have different norms…
CT1: Now they had another category. And that was called overchoice. We are going to see that in this reading so we need to know. Overchoice is too much choice? Or not enough choice. Too much choice. Who’s been into a supermarket in Sydney? Who’s been to Coles or Woolsworth in Sydney? Ok, did you notice as you were walking along the isles that you have one kind of product but fifteen different choices? Yes. Can you think of an example? What’s that. Bread. Bread, yeah. What sort of bread would you like? White bread or brown bread? Or dark bread? Or you like cakes? Yes. What sort of cakes would you like? Chocolate cakes, ok. You go to a supermarket and how many different types of chocolate cakes are there? Many kinds. Many kinds, ok. Overchoice. What products have you talked there? Chips. Good heavens.
CT1: When you have a lot of choices, it’s difficult to make decision for chips for chocolate, for cakes. So it’s difficult to make decision.
CT1: So overchoice is not a problem for you. It’s a problem for me.(Laughter) I get lost in washing powder, washing powder to wash clothes. Do you have difficulties trying to decide which one you want? Yeah, do you have difficulties trying to decide? Yeah. I do. I am dazed. Oh I could have that one. But oh,(gesturing showing at a loss as to which one to choose). Yeah, overchoice. That’s another category which is mentioned in this reading.
Ex.:White Australia policy, ok, some people have heard about it? In the before the 1972 the government policy was called White Australia policy It kept people from Africa and Asia away from Australia. So people from Asia and Africa were not allowed to come to Australia. So it’s a racist policy. Worse than discrimination. That policy was changed when the labor government came in in 1972.
To start with, there were no cultural differences in quality consciousness, recreation consciousness and brand loyalty decision-making styles. ( Kendall, 1986).
CT2: Now paragraph eight er is talking in general terms about the findings in the text.
Commitment decreases as the findings is used to refer to the specific result provided in the original text.
This means that the results show both consistency and conflict with previous research.
. And they are saying that the findings show that they both agree and disagree with the previous results. Some of the results agree with what other have found and others disagree.
In particular, the participants from Singapore had unexpectedly low levels of quality consciousness compared to Chinese consumers who had moderately high levels (Fan & Xiao, 1998).
Specifically, they, one surprising result was that Singapore people were very different from Chinese customers in Mainland China. Most people in Singapore, many people in Singapore are Chinese as you know. So they thought they would be very similar in their buying, in their decision making style, but they found one big difference. They were not as conscious of quality. Ok, people in Mainland China are very quality conscious.
One explanation for this difference may be the stage of economic development in each country and the standard of quality of available goods
CT2: The reason they give for this is they look at the different level of development of the two countries. Singapore is at a more advanced stage than China.)
In China, the quality of goods is not consistent (Fan & Xiao, 1998), thus, quality would be an important purchase criteria.
Whereas in China, things are a little uneven, so people need to be more careful about it.
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