What does recess have to do with democracy? Exploring connections between language, knowledge and knowing in practices of DSL in a fifth grade History class

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    With recent public school and teacher training reforms in Denmark, focus has been increased on students’ language and literacy development as a way of increasing all students’ academic potential. Minority students, however, continue to be considered as particularly at risk because of their divergent cultural and linguistic backgrounds, where the school subject Danish as a second language (DSL) is intended to aid these students within the subjects of mainstream classrooms. Recent research shows that teachers, nonetheless, have difficulty incorporating DSL in content classes, resulting in lessons where both the subject-matter and language learning are downplayed to the point of near absence, - leaving students to fend for themselves in terms of what they are expected to learn (Meidell Sigsgaard, 2013). The apparent stranding of students in the everyday domain (Macken-Horarick, 1996), can perhaps be explained in terms of who the ideal knower (Maton, 2014) in the observed classroom seems to be, and the value put on the social relations rather than the epistemic relations of the content being taught (Meidell Sigsgaard, 2012). This paper focuses on how teachers in a fifth grade History class attempt to help DSL students to understand the concept democracy – apparently without luck. Lexical string analysis (Martin & Rose, 2007) of a teacher-led whole-class discussion explains the difficulty, by showing that teachers spend more time on the everyday domain with little to no expansion to and within the more valued specialized and reflexive domains (Macken-Horarick, 1996). This, combined with the perspective of the ideal knower, helps to make visible expectations to students and points out opportunities for increasing their understanding of the subject being taught. 1 References Macken-Horarick, M. (1996). LiteracyAndLearningAcrossCurriculum. In R. Hasan & G. Williams (Eds.), Literacy in Society (pp. 232–278). New York: Addison Wesley Longman. Martin, J. R., & Rose, D. (2007). Working With Discourse: Meaning Beyond the Clause (2nd ed., p. 363). London: Continuum. Maton, K. (2014). Knowledge and Knowers - Towards a realist sociology of education. Abingdon: Routledge. Meidell Sigsgaard, A.-V. (2012). Who Has the Knowledge if not the Primary Knower ? - Using exchange structure analysis to cast light on particular pedagogic practices in teaching Danish as a Second Language and History 1 Introduction – What Are We Going To Learn Today ? In J. S. Knox (Ed.), To Boldly Proceed: Papers from the 39th International Systemic Functional Congress. 39th ISFC Organising Committee - Sydney. Meidell Sigsgaard, A.-V. (2013). Who Knows What? The teaching of knowledge and knowers in a fifth grade Danish as a second language classroom. University of Aarhus. Retrieved from http://www.legitimationcodetheory.com/publications.html
    Translated title of the contributionHvad har frikvarteret med demokrati at gøre?: forbindelser mellem sprog, viden og hvordan man ved noget i andetsprogspædagogisk praksis i en 5. klasses historieundervisning
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationInternational Systemic Functional Congress 42 : Challenging Boundaries
    Number of pages1
    Publication date28 Jul 2015
    Publication statusPublished - 28 Jul 2015
    Event42nd International Systmic Functional Congress: Challenging Boundaries - RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, Germany
    Duration: 27 Jul 201531 Jul 2015
    Conference number: 42


    Conference42nd International Systmic Functional Congress
    LocationRWTH Aachen University
    Internet address


    • public school

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