Language Awareness In Children

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Language Awareness is not taught by teacher or delivered through the course books; however, it is developed internally by the learners (Tomlinson 2003). Nowadays, language awareness is commonly defined as explicit knowledge about language and it focuses on the formal correctness of language such as grammar. However, the fact is, language awareness is more than that – it is internal realization of the language use (Tomlinson 2003). In other words, every learner has implicit knowledge about language within themselves and the role of teachers is to help the learners to develop their implicit knowledge (Laoire 2014).
Besides, language awareness is essential as it helps to gain insights and awaken sensitivity in child towards the way language works
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One of the learning outcomes are it helps children to enhance their understanding of the ways their own language (s) works and help them to develop the strategies for learning new languages. Besides, by using Language Awareness Approach, children can explore new languages and discuss similarities and differences among the languages. Last but not least, children get to discover the relationship between language and identity through Language Awareness Approach.
The activities that I planned for the children will strike a balance between teacher-directed and child-centred because language learning is about both explicit and implicit knowledge. One of the activities is use alphabet crafts of English uppercase letters to teach the Mandarin names for some animals. Another activity is finger printing on the national flag in order to learn the names of colours in Malay. The last activity for the multilingual children is learning numbers in three languages through music and
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First of all, Language Awareness is a bridge which helps to connect English and foreign language in curriculum (Hawkins 1974 cited in Hawkins 1999). It provides a forum for learners and teachers to discuss a variety of languages in common vocabularies. For instance, children have the opportunity to learn numbers, colours and animals in three languages. Besides, these activities foster language awareness as teachers use children’s existing experience and knowledge of their first language in order to make sense of a new language (Bolitho 2003). This will help children to relate and understand better of the new language. For example, teacher builds the concepts of new languages (Mandarin/Malay) based on children’s existing knowledge of the first language (English) in order to teach numbers, colours and animals. Last but not least, language awareness can be fostered by implementing these activities because according to social-cultural theory, language, interaction and culture are interrelated (Laoire 2014). These activities have emphasized the importance of language, interaction and culture. For example, the children get to talk about their own cultures in the activity of music and movement. Besides, it promotes acceptance of language diversity among the children and provides opportunity for them to learn each other’s
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