Monica Lindvall

Magisteruppsats, 2010
Centrum för tvåspråkighetsforskning, Stockholms universitet

Abstract

This study examines a group of 19 adult secondary language learners at an adult education centre, studying a course on Barn och Fritidsprogrammet, a one year programme to become a professional child minder. Learning a new discipline also entrails learning the language of the discipline. The aim of the study is to analyze how language demands are expressed in the course curriculum and how those language demands are manifested in oral and written tasks. The language demands regarding a specialized topic-based vocabulary and a general academic vocabulary in the course literature is analyzed as well as whether opportunities are given in the classroom for structured scaffolding interaction in smaller groups. The study also looks into how both students and teacher explain what they regard as language based learning/teaching. Finally it examines how students understand and also produce different topic based genres of schooling.

A case study was used with different methods such as classroom observation with SIOP-protocol, webcam recordings, a questionnaire , interviews and analysis of texts.
The result shows that students have difficulties to understand and construct school-based text genres both when it comes to how to realize contexts of information display, and also how to structure texts in expected ways. Students have a tremendous need for vocabulary development and understanding and learning; the explicit specialized topic based vocabulary is not a major problem for most students but understanding and using the implicit general academic vocabulary is a great challenge for many. Structured scaffolding interaction in smaller groups helps students to understand the meaning of vocabulary and how to use it for different oral and written functions.