Communication and Language Teaching and Learning in Primary School Classrooms: Lessons from Theory, Research and Practice
Keywords:Language, NCCA, PLC, Primary, Primary Language Curriculum, Literacy
The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) has completed a new language curriculum for children aged four to eight years. This development brings a renewed and welcome focus on the relationship between language and schooling and provides fresh opportunities for enquiry and discussion as to how to support communication and language teaching and learning for a diverse population of children. Two fields of knowledge, from different areas of the language literature, provide particular insights in this regard. In the field of language acquisition theory and research, a dominant position has emerged on the nature of language acquisition and development. In the field of research on the relationship between language and school achievement, there is an established position on the nature and quality of language knowledge required within a curriculum. In this article, each of these positions from these differing areas of the literature is explored and analysed and it is argued that they each contribute to informing an inclusive and relevant practice. In the final section of the article, two examples of language teaching and learning are presented and analysed. The examples are drawn from practice and research in the Irish context and they illustrate the exploration, in practice, of the research positions outlined in the article.
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