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Realizing Cultural Embededness

Learner progression in a subject is clearly related to the ability to understand and produce subject specific text types. In order to acquire subject knowledge and become familiar with the specific conventions of a particular subject, learners need to learn how to:

A)   extract information from typical text types (like maps, images, tables, charts, etc.)


Figure 1: Modes used to communicate subject knowledge (Leisen, J. (2005): Wechsel der Darstellungsformen. Ein Unterrichtsprinzip für alle Fächer. In: Der fremdsprachliche Unterricht Englisch 78, 9-11.)

 B) encode information and newly gained conceptual understanding into typical text types and/or genres


Scientific Processes Genres Purposes
doing things scientifically Experiments & Protocols Instruct someone how to do things
Laboratory reports Provide a recount of the method, as well as the results, discussions and conclusions.
Investigations Set out the design and decisions behind students’ attempts to behave scientifically
describing & organising
the world scientifically
Descriptions Describe multiple aspects/features of a natural or physical phenomenon
Comparisons Compare features of two or more physical phenomena
Compositions Present (describe and or define) component parts of a physical phenomenon
Classifications Present different types/classes of a phenomenon
explaining phenomena scientifically temporal explanations  
sequential explanations Explain physical phenomena by presenting the events producing the phenomena in chronological order
non-temporal explanations  
factorial/consequential explanations Explain the multiple factors/consequences that contribute to a particular event or phenomenon
theoretical explanations Define and illustrate a theoretical principle
arguing scientifically Arguments Persuade the reader/listener to agree with a particular point of view on an issue and some exhort, and to take action
Discussions Present the case for more than one point of view

Figure 2: The genres constituting school science. (Polias, J. (2015 forthcoming). Apprenticing students into science: Doing, talking, writing and drawing scientifically. Stockholm: Hallgren and Fallgren.) 

Note: transforming one text into another, in a different style, mode or even a different language is considered to be the key to subject literacy. This opens up new ways of conceptualizing and designing learning tasks and of crossing language barriers through translanguaging or mediation activities as recommended in the Common European Framework of Reference.

Putting pluriliteracies into practice
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