ERIC Number: ED335678
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Jun
Visions of Children as Language Users: Research on Language and Language Education in Early Childhood. Technical Report No. 49.
Dyson, Anne Haas; Genishi, Celia
This paper discusses how the vision of the child as a member of a community has been reflected in and has helped shape recent research in language arts education in early childhood. The paper discusses how researchers in language arts education have focused on (1) a range of genres (socially defined language events), including how children use oral and written language to construct or respond to narratives, to explore and gain information about the world, and to offer information to others; and (2) individual and sociocultural variation in children's language usage, emphasizing differences in the kinds of genres with which children are familiar. The paper weaves discussion of these themes of dialogue, of genres, and of individual and sociocultural variation (as exhibited in a K/1 classroom of active talkers, readers, and writers who nevertheless scored low on standardized tests) throughout a discussion of research on young children's language use, including their talking, writing, and responding to literature. The paper also considers curricular and assessment issues raised by the teacher and students in that classroom. The paper concludes that classrooms supported by the kind of research reviewed in this paper value language as just one critical tool that children and teachers use to make sense of experience and that both curriculum and assessment for all children need to be developed from within, within classroom communities that acknowledge the uniqueness of each child. One hundred seventy-two references are attached. (RS)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Center for the Study of Writing, Berkeley, CA.; Center for the Study of Writing, Pittsburgh, PA.