Effective Thinking in Contextualised English Academic Language Support: Roses in Bloom
The title of this article draws its inspiration from the theories of Benjamen Bloom and David Rose. The ideas of these three thinkers were fused and used in the action research project that the writer will explain and discuss. In essence the project investigated the experience of a group of Science and Health Sciences learners during a contextualised English academic language support course learners at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa that had as its ultimate aim to facilitate academic access and success. The language learning paradigm that drives the programme involves a multi-layered perception of the language learning task as adopted by Rose in particular in his scaffolding academic literacy pedagogy that has had successful results particularly in Australia. However, the writer was also motivated by De Bono’s notions of different perspectives in ways of thinking that seemed to parallel elements of the Rose’s theory of the stratified complexity of the contextualised language learning. Moreover, various reading and writing strategies used during the language learning tasks performed by Nursing and Pharmacy undergraduates at NMMU appeared to coincide with Bloom’s hierarchical design of what are termed higher/lower order thinking skills. The writer believed that the cognitive strategies housed in the language tasks might well empower learners to independently gather and transfer subject-specific via academic texts. In addition the writer believed that successful access to the cognitive reality of a subject like Anatomy and Physiology for example, could be possibly reinforced by appropriate tasks devised by the language teacher as mediator in a Vgotskian process that allowed learner control of the learning situation. In this article, the key terms of the title are explained and the qualitative research project is explained. Students’ work, written reflections and recorded group interviews are analysed according to themes and sub-themes regarding learner experience of accessing thinking skills via English academic language tasks.
Keywords: Benjamen Bloom, David Rose, Acton Research Project, Science and Health Sciences Learners, Contextualized Academic English Language Learning, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, South Africa
Dr. Maureen Lilian Klos
Senior Lecturer, Centre for Extended Studies (Applied Languages), Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University