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An Ethnographic/sociolinguistic approach to language by Charlene Rivera

By Charlene Rivera

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Additional info for An Ethnographic/sociolinguistic approach to language proficiency assessment

Example text

In every case where a child does not display interactional or narrative skills deemed to be important, further observations of and interactions with the child are needed.  Many kindergarten students could talk intelligibly on topics, usually focusing on describing action sequences or some salient detail, but omitting explicit mention of reference or background factors.  Factors such as the student's specificity of topic, Page 17 provision of background information and explicitness of interclausal relations would then be related to whether or not the teacher understood the point that the student was making and was able to respond to what the student was saying.

Many kindergarten students could talk intelligibly on topics, usually focusing on describing action sequences or some salient detail, but omitting explicit mention of reference or background factors.  Factors such as the student's specificity of topic, Page 17 provision of background information and explicitness of interclausal relations would then be related to whether or not the teacher understood the point that the student was making and was able to respond to what the student was saying.  They allowed a listener to follow the story line without constant reference to the picture book, and made inferences which explained the meaning or point of the events from the perspective of the characters in the story itself.

93) Although the two topics of examining children's discourse skills and questions of political power may seem to be unrelated, it can be suggested here that, in fact, the question of what proficiencies are parcelled out to what social groups in our society, and to what ends, is the essential question of language proficiency.  At the same time, it is clear that a child who produces little language in the elicitation should be observed and interacted with in a variety of other settings in order to provide a more reliable basis for evaluation.

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