Drawing to support writing development in English language learners

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    Writing is the dominant mode through which most learning and assessment is mediated in schools. It is through writing that learners are most often asked to demonstrate their understanding of learned concepts and share their understandings of these concepts. If English language learners are to succeed in English medium schools, they must become proficient English language writers. In this article, drawing is presented as an effective strategy for teaching writing based on the hypothesis that drawing and writing are comparable semiotic systems and learning is most powerful when these semiotic systems work together. It reports on a study involving children from a Year 3/4 class in a government Introductory English Centre situated in a primary school in Australia. The Introductory English Centres are for students who are newly arrived in the country with a language and cultural background other than English and who have limited English language skills. The study found that drawing before writing improved the writing of the informational text types of procedures and explanations. A discussion is presented for why this may be so, along with recommendations for using drawing as a teaching strategy when teaching English language learners
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)261-277
    Number of pages17
    JournalLanguage and Education
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


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