Neue Wege für Sprachunterricht und Ausbildung
Bildungssprache fördern in philosophischen Gesprächen mit Kindern
For some years now, certain parts of the academic debate concerning language teaching have been focused on the use of academic language, i.e. the language of schooling, and its importance for learning outcome and educational success. Recommendations call for more educational settings in primary schools that encourage students to improve their academic language skills. Philosophical conversations in primary school classrooms might be an opportunity to support and develop such skills. Philosophical conversations take place in science or language lessons. They include epistemic sequences of description, explanation and reasoning. A three month intervention with third grade primary school students was conducted to investigate the linguistic potential of such conversations. Among several existing concepts of philosophizing with children, an approach was chosen that does not require technical or scientific language but interdisciplinary educational language skills and the use of varied and complex lexical and morpho-syntactical means. Our exploratory analysis of a videotaped philosophical conversation shows that more research and a closer analysis of the genre is necessary. Philosophizing certainly provides opportunities for the use of educational language, but argumentative sequences differ in depth and vary in linguistic quality. The way themes unfold seems to depend greatly on the support and the linguistic scaffolding of the teacher. Further research is necessary to find out in what respect philosophizing as such can be recommended to encourage the use of academic language skills in primary school classrooms.
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