Communicating metaknowledge to L2 learners
A fragile scaffold for participation in subject-related discourse?
Keywords:Bernstein, classroom discourse, disciplinary literacy, metalinguistic knowledge, reading strategies, second language instruction
In this article, I highlight how two teachers seek to scaffold second language learners' use of language and engagement with texts in Grade 1 and 6. The aim is to explore the communication of metaknowledge in classroom discourse, more specifically, the communication of knowledge about language and metacognitive reading strategies. Two teachers participated in the study, and data were gathered through observa-tions, voice recordings, and the collection of teaching materials. Bernstein's sociology of education is operationalized to reveal different aspects of framing during teaching activities in second language teaching and geography. Drawing upon systemic-functional linguistics, I show how metaknowledge was fore-grounded by the teacher in ways that sometimes de-emphasized the subject-related texts and concepts expected to be at the center of the teaching. An important empirical finding is that the foregrounding of metaknowledge such as features of the language and cognitive reading strategies in teaching can result in a pseudo-visible modality of pedagogy that provides insufficient scaffolding for dealing with subject-related texts and participating substantially in classroom discourse. Implications for teaching are discussed.