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The text, dead or alive: Expanding textual repertoires in the adult ESOL classroom

Wallace, Catherine (2006) The text, dead or alive: Expanding textual repertoires in the adult ESOL classroom. Linguistics and Education, 17 (1). pp. 74-90. ISSN 0898-5898

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Abstract

The paper explores the manner in which written texts are selected and used in the adult ESOL classroom. Taking a sociocultural view of the reading process and of the nature of text, it argues that ESOL students have potentially rich textual resources which are typically not acknowledged in the classroom: in particular, the textual options embodied by the published textbook or the worksheet do not do justice to the rich and diverse textual worlds which adult ESOL learners inhabit. Drawing on Goffman’s notion of ‘authoring’, the paper argues that ESOL students can be encouraged to reposition themselves as expert interpreters of classroom texts rather than passive consumers. Reading can be seen as the creation of new texts, as the interpreters rearticulate orthodox textual meaning to their own ends, in shared talk around the text. By way of illustration, two Adult ESOL classrooms are focused on which demonstrate contrasting ways in which texts are selected and exploited in the ESOL classroom. In addition, some views of students themselves are also discussed The paper concludes by proposing that classroom texts be seen by teachers and students as opportunities for textual authoring, where what is brought to texts is as important as any specific linguistic or content knowledge derived from them.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The paper forms part of a special issue on adult English for Speakers of other Languages (ESOL). This collection of papers arose out of a three year research project, 'Effective Teaching and Learning ESOL', funded by the National Research and Development Centre for Adult Literacy and Numeracy (NRDC) and the European Social Fund. The paper takes a socio-cultural view of the reading process and of the nature of text, arguing that ESOL students have potentially rich textual resources that are typically not acknowledged in the classroom. Drawing on Goffman's notion of 'authoring', the paper argues that ESOL students can be encouraged to reposition themselves as expert interpreters of classroom text rather than passive consumers.
Controlled Keywords: English as a second language , Literacy
Divisions: IOE Departments > Departments > Learning, Curriculum and Communication
IOE Departments > Departments > Culture, Communication and Media
Depositing User: IOE Repository Editor (2)
Date Deposited: 12 Mar 2010 11:05
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2013 11:54
URI: http://eprints.ioe.ac.uk/id/eprint/1597

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