Building Oral Competency In The L1: Laying The Foundation


Ellen Errington

(Presented at the 1st MLE Conference, “Reclaiming the Right to Learn in One’s Own Language,” Capitol University, Cagayan de Oro City, Feb 18-20, 2010.)

Courtesy of FotoSearch

ABSTRACT:  The child entering school already possesses a growing vocabulary and knowledge base in their home language. They have learned skills by listening, observing and experimenting. These oral skills are a solid foundation for school-based learning.

Oral competency continues to develop until about age 12. This competency has a direct connection to the child’s future success as a reader and writer. Even as the child has learned in the home by listening, observing and approximating behaviours, these same techniques are transferable to the classroom as children develop their competencies in the home language and then transfer those skills to learning and using other languages.

The use of the home language in the classroom encourages connections with the community. In the early grades, the children’s oral skills are built by listening to stories and sharing their own experiences. Games and activities are fun ways of building skills while employing traditional learning styles.

In later grades, children can use listening and speaking activities to support both higher level cognitive skills and second language learning. This session will provide many practical ideas for building oral skills in the classroom.

Keywords:  Oral competency; Scaffolding instruction.

For the complete article, click on Building Oral Competency In The L1: Laying The Foundation.

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