Primary School pupils' experience of Language Awareness as part of their curriculum

Professor Witold Tulasiewicz

University of Cambridge, UK

While the merits of Language Awareness, in particular its role in developing language usersī empowering, creative and critical faculties in addition to facilitating a linguistic sensitivity when using language have been extensively written about an assessment of the advantages of learning Language Awareness as a regular part of the school curriculum have received less attention.

To be sure, this has not been easy since there does not exist much by way of an accepted teaching syllabus nor an agreed teaching approach.

The author who (together with classroom teachers) has been involved in teaching Language Awareness elements in a number of schools in Alberta (Canada), Hertfordshire (UK) and the Rhineland Palatinate (Germany) has confronted several issues which arise from the somewhat unclear definitions and the uneasy position of Language Awareness in school subjects.

During the past year he has coordinated the teaching of a Language Awareness course (taught be the pupilsī regular teachers) in three European Union countries the syllabus of which had been agreed and prepared by all the participating parties with the language and linguistic sensitivity progress of pupils on the course being monitored by both inside (school) and outside (researchers) agents using a qualitative evaluation approach.

The paper reports on the findings to date of the classroom research projects partly sponsored by the European Union. The findings which, it is expected, will confirm an enhanced language education in both L1 and L2 are by no means final since the LA work undertaken alongside pupilsī learning the prescribed school curriculum in the year groups chosen is still in progress.

See: Tulasiewicz, W. and Adams, A. TEACHING THE MOTHER TONGUE IN A MULTILINGUAL EUROPE; London, Cassell, 1998 and:

Tulasiewicz, W. Whither Language Awareness, in: LANGUAGE AWARENESS AND EDUCATIONAL POLICY edited by: B. Maylath et al, Amsterdam, University Press, forthcoming, late 2000.