IATEFL Young Learner SIG discussion group

Dear IATEFL members

On behalf of the YL committee I would like to extend an invitation to ALL IATEFL members to join our discussion group to help develop this rapidly expanding sector of English language teaching (ELT). Our view is that promoting ELT to young learners benefits all areas of our profession.

Our YL sig discussion group has members from all sectors of the ELT community, ranging from teachers, teacher trainers, course providers, language schools, materials writers etc., as well as being represented on most continents.

Discussions are usually proposed by our members, rapidly being addressed/developed by our wide range of 'experts'. We have also established an 'experts as fielders' discussion forum and attach a poster outlying the topic and proposed fielders for the next academic year.

We attach below the pre-discussion reading for our discussion commencing on Friday 24th February.

We hope this might be of interest to you and other IATEFL members, even though your elected special interest group may not be young learners. At the moment membership of the discussion group is free, although access to some of our resources is limited to members only.

In the case of institution membership, we would appreciate it if you could display this email and attachment on your noticeboard for your teachers to be informed.

We would appreciate it if you could forward the attached details to any other ELT providers who you think might find this of interest for continued professional development (CPD).

Joining details can be found on:-  http://www.iatefl-ylsig.org   (resources)

Or www.groups.yahoo.com/group/younglearners/join

If you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact me.

Kind regards and good wishes in the Year of the Dog!

Wendy Arnold (Hong Kong)
Moderator IATEFL Young Learners Special Interest Group (YL sig) Discussion List Facilitator arnoldhk@netvigator.com

I have chosen three papers from which people may choose according to their interest. They are all downloadable from my Webpage - Selected Papers.


  1. Talking their way into literacy is a discussion of the importance of talking about texts as a way into literacy learning. It contains examples from both home and school settings, including one example of ELLs writing together. http://education.ucsc.edu/faculty/gwells/Files/Papers_Folder/Talk-Literacy
  2. From Action to Writing: Modes of Representing and Knowing argues that children's intellectual development depends on their progressive mastery of tools for thinking": action, speaking, reading/writing and proposes that the optimal way of teaching young learners is to involve all three "tools" for making sense of new curriculum content.
  3. Action, Talk and Text: The Case for Dialogic Inquiry is based on two chapters from the book I edited, which includes chapters by my teacher colleagues on the action research they carried out in their classrooms to introduce an inquiry orientation to curriculum. This is a solidly theoretical chapter, http://education.ucsc.edu/faculty/gwells/Files/Papers_Folder/ATT.theory.pdf

There are other papers on my webpage that may also be of interest.

Date: 24th Feb - 3rd March, 2006

Topic no. 5 - The relationship among action, talk and texts in learning and teaching

Professor Gordon Wells. Since July 2000, he has been a member of

the Department of Education at the University of California at Santa Cruz.

Before that, he was at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto, where he was in the Department of Curriculum, Teaching and Learning, with cross-appointments to the Centre for Teacher Development and the Centre for Applied Cognitive Science.

Prior to moving to Canada in 1984, he was Director of the longitudinal study of language development, "Language at Home and at School", at the University of Bristol, England. In that study, a representative sample of children from age 1 to age 10 was followed, recording naturally-occurring samples of interaction at home and at school. This study convinced him that, in addition to an innate predisposition to learn language, children need a rich and varied experience of conversation with others in order to learn how meaning is made and experience construed in the language of their own particular community. In principle, he believes the same holds for learning in school, although guidance and instruction that is both more systematic and more explicit is needed to help children master the registers and genres of written language in which meaning is made in the academic disciplines.

The findings and conclusions from this study were published in Language development in the pre-scho  ol years (Cambridge U.P., 1985) and The meaning makers (Heinemann, 1986).