and Importance of Language
Language Acquisition and Development
Language Uses in ELA Learning
Language Learning in Senior 3 ELA
The English Language Arts
The Nature of Student Learning Outcomes
General Student Learning Outcomes
Specific Student Learning Outcomes
Integrating the Student Learning Outcomes and the Language Arts
An Organizational Framework
Learning is a complex process of discovery, collaboration, and inquiry facilitated by language. Composed of interrelated and rule-governed symbol systems, language is a social and human means of representing, exploring, and communicating meaning. Language is a defining feature of culture and an unmistakable mark of personal identity. It is essential to thought and personal expression, to forming interpersonal relationships, and to functioning and contributing within a democratic society. Language is the primary instrument of thought and the primary basis of all communication.
Language learning is an active process that begins at birth and continues throughout life. An infants first words are prompted by an enjoyment of sound and by an intrinsically human impulse to name objects or actions. This language, called "expressive language," is used not primarily to communicate, but to make meaning of experience and to construct a coherent and predictable view of the world. Expressive language is used throughout life, from the "running commentary" of toddlers to the interiorized soliloquy of older children and adults. It is the basis of most conversation, anecdotes, letters, and journals. Expressive language, which Vygotsky (1962) calls "the language of being and becoming," is the means by which people rehearse, shape, interpret, and recall what they perceive and feel.
Britton (1970) observes that language evolves in two directions from purely expressive language:
Continuum of Language Uses
Creating and Producing Tests
Pragmatic language purposes
Expressive language purposes
Aesthetic language purposes
Responding to and Engaging with Texts
for pragmatic text
- following instructions
for expressive text
for aesthetic text
- deriving aesthetic pleasure from
English language arts instruction is concerned with all language uses: expressive, pragmatic, and aesthetic. These language uses are not entirely separate; all discourse can be placed on a continuum between purely pragmatic and purely aesthetic language, as shown in the chart that appears on the following page. In one direction, language becomes increasingly pragmatic and increasingly concerned with and shaped by the response of its audience. In the other direction, it becomes increasingly aesthetic, finding ways to evoke or recreate rather than simply describe experience. Pragmatic use of language in its absolute form (for example, instructions on a bottle of medication) aims to be transparent to the broadest audience. Aesthetic use of language in its absolute form (for example, experimental poetry) exploits qualities of language such as sound and pattern, but may invite a variety of different interpretations and responses. Between these extremes, students encounter forms that use language with varying degrees of concern for clarity and for effect. These include texts such as business letters and magazine features produced for pragmatic purposes, and texts such as dramas and novels produced primarily for aesthetic purposes.
Although individual texts cannot be categorized definitively according to their place on the pragmatic-expressive-aesthetic continuum of language uses, the terms "aesthetic texts" and "pragmatic texts" denote texts that appear to be produced for aesthetic or pragmatic purposes. A text, however, may be read for a different purpose than that for which it was produced. A political speech (which has a pragmatic purpose) may be read for the pleasure the reader takes in its language and style, and a magazine advertisement may be examined for its use of poetic language. Similarly, a reader may approach an aesthetic text with a pragmatic purpose, for example, to gather information about the period in which it is set.
Distinguishing between pragmatic and aesthetic uses of language is a way of thinking about the purposes of a speaker, writer, or producer, or an audience, rather than a way of classifying texts. The purposes of the speaker, writer, or producer, as well as the purposes of the audience, contribute to the meaning derived from a text.
The continuum of language uses represented above describes
Note that an audience may use a text for purposes other than those for which it was produced, and that the audiences purpose may change in the course of listening, viewing, and representing.
Differentiating between pragmatic and aesthetic language uses in language arts learning is important for several reasons:
To enable students to explore their interest in a particular language use, the Senior 3 ELA Framework identifies three sets of specific student learning outcomes, one set for each curriculum: Comprehensive Focus, Literary Focus, and Transactional Focus. Each requires students to produce and read texts from the full range of the language continuum:
Senior 3 English Language Arts: Comprehensive Focus
These student learning outcomes identify the knowledge, skills and strategies, and attitudes students will demonstrate in the Comprehensive Focus, which addresses pragmatic and aesthetic purposes and texts in approximate balance.
Senior 3 English Language Arts: Literary Focus
These student learning outcomes identify the knowledge, skills and strategies, and attitudes students will demonstrate in the Literary Focus, which emphasizes aesthetic purposes and texts. Texts read and produced will be approximately 70 percent aesthetic and 30 percent pragmatic in purpose.
Senior 3 English Language Arts: Transactional Focus
These student learning outcomes identify the knowledge, skills and strategies, and attitudes students will demonstrate in the Transactional Focus, which emphasizes pragmatic purposes and texts. Texts read will be approximately 70 percent pragmatic and 30 percent aesthetic in purpose. Texts produced will be pragmatic in purpose.
Please note that while the same text can legitimately be studied from various perspectives, schools will attempt to avoid repetition in the content of each curriculum: Comprehensive Focus, Literary Focus, and Transactional Focus.
The study of English language arts enables each student to understand and appreciate language and to use it competently and confidently in a variety of situations for communication, personal satisfaction, and learning. Students become competent and confident users of all six language arts through many opportunities to listen, speak, read, write, view, and represent in a variety of combinations and through a wide range of relevant texts.
Instruction in all six language arts equips students for effective participation in a technological society in which information, communication, arts, and entertainment are increasingly conveyed in language forms other than print. In the Senior 3 ELA Framework, the terms "text" and "reading" are used inclusively:
Texts are affected and influenced by how they are transmitted, whether by computer, television, radio, print, or in person. Media texts and electronic texts such as videos, films, cartoons, and electronically distributed magazines frequently include oral, written, and visual components simultaneously. The language arts are clearly interrelated and interdependent; students need knowledge, skills, and strategies in all six language arts to compose, comprehend, and respond to texts.
The student learning outcomes presented in the Senior 3 ELA Framework integrate the six language arts. In selecting learning resources and in planning instruction and assessment, teachers strive to achieve variety and balance in the use of the six language arts.
Oral language is the foundation of literacy. Through listening and speaking, people communicate thoughts, feelings, experiences, information, and opinions, and learn to understand themselves and others. Oral language carries a communitys stories, values, beliefs, and traditions.
Listening and speaking enable students to explore ideas and concepts as well as to understand and organize their experiences and knowledge. They use oral language to learn, solve problems, and reach goals. To become discerning, lifelong learners, students at all grades need to develop fluency and confidence in their oral language knowledge and skills. They benefit from many opportunities to listen and speak both informally and formally for a variety of purposes.
Reading and writing are powerful means of communicating and learning. They enable students to extend their knowledge and use of language, increase their understanding of themselves and others, and experience enjoyment and personal satisfaction.
Reading provides students with a means of accessing the ideas, views, and experiences of others. By using effective reading skills and strategies, students construct meaning and develop thoughtful and critical interpretations of a variety of texts. Writing enables students to explore, shape, and clarify their thoughts, and to communicate them to others. By using effective writing strategies, students discover and refine ideas and compose and revise with increasing confidence and skill.
Viewing and representing are integral parts of contemporary life. They allow students to understand the ways in which visual language may be used to convey ideas, values, and beliefs.
Viewing is an active process of attending to and comprehending visual media such as television, advertising images, films, diagrams, symbols, photographs, videos, drama, drawings, sculpture, and paintings. Viewing enables students to acquire information and to appreciate the ideas and experiences of others. Many of the comprehension processes involved in reading print texts (such as previewing, predicting, and making inferences) may also be used in viewing.
In the process of constructing meaning, students represent their ideas through visual forms such as webs, sketches, and maps. Representing enables students to communicate information and ideas through a variety of media, including charts, posters, diagrams, video presentations, visual art, drama, and mime.
The general and specific student learning outcomes for Senior 3 English language arts curricula (Comprehensive Focus, Literary Focus, and Transactional Focus) are concise statements of the learning that students are expected to demonstrate by the end of Senior 3. This learning includes:
Five general student learning outcomes serve as the foundation for each Senior 3 English language arts curriculum: Comprehensive Focus, Literary Focus, and Transactional Focus. General learning outcomes are broad statements describing student learning. The general student learning outcomes are interrelated and interdependent. Each learning outcome is to be achieved through a variety of listening, speaking, reading, writing, viewing, and representing experiences.
The general student learning outcomes and the icons used to represent them in the ELA Framework documents from Kindergarten through the Senior Years are:
General Learning Outcome 1
Students will listen, speak, read, write, view, and represent to explore thoughts, ideas, feelings, and experiences.
General Learning Outcome 2
Students will listen, speak, read, write, view, and represent to comprehend and respond personally and critically to oral, print, and other media texts.
General Learning Outcome 3
Students will listen, speak, read, write, view, and represent to manage ideas and information.
General Learning Outcome 4
Students will listen, speak, read, write, view, and represent to enhance the clarity and artistry of communication.
General Learning Outcome 5
Students will listen, speak, read, write, view, and represent to celebrate and build community.
In each Senior 3 English language arts curriculum (Comprehensive Focus, Literary Focus, and Transactional Focus), each general student learning outcome is elaborated through clusters of specific learning outcomes, which are categorized under headings. The specific learning outcomes are relevant for students in a variety of learning environments and are cumulative across the grades.
Students are expected to demonstrate the specific learning outcomes for their current grade while building on and maintaining the learning outcomes for previous grades. For this reason, the student learning outcomes for Grade 8, Senior 1, and Senior 2 are provided in this document along with the Senior 3 student learning outcomes. To assist teachers in preparing students for Senior 4, this document also presents the Senior 4 student learning outcomes developed through the WCP process.* Manitobas Senior 4 student learning outcomes will be finalized as English language arts curricula are developed for Senior 4.
Many specific student learning outcomes provide examples, enclosed within brackets:
* The Grade 8 and Senior 1 student learning outcomes are identified in The Common Curriculum Framework for English Language Arts, Kindergarten to Grade 12 (Grades 1012 Draft) (1996), and the Senior 2, 3, and 4 student learning outcomes are identified in The Common Curriculum Framework for English Language Arts, Kindergarten to Grade 12 (1998). The order of presentation for all grades reflects the 1998 edition.
Effective language arts classrooms frequently address several student learning outcomes simultaneously. Many of the learning outcomes are intended to be addressed at different times through one or a combination of the six language arts.
In the course of planning, teachers typically draw from several specific student learning outcomes, both within a general learning outcome and across all five general learning outcomes, and organize these outcomes into logical sequences for instructional experiences. Many aspects of language arts instruction are recursive and are revisited repeatedly, using a range of teaching, learning, and assessment strategies, as well as a variety of learning resources.
The study of the English language arts enables each student to understand and appreciate language and to use it confidently and competently in a variety of situations for communication, personal satisfaction, and learning. The following figure represents an organizational framework for integrating the five general student learning outcomes and the six language arts.