Years 3 and 4 Band Description
The nature of the learners
At this stage, children are developing cognitive and social capabilities that allow for increased control of their learning. They are able to conceptualise and reason, and have better memory and focus. This is a stage of social experimentation, with children referencing themselves against their peers. They are more independent and less egocentric, enjoying both competitive and cooperative activities. They benefit from varied, activity-based learning which builds on their interests and capabilities and makes connections with other areas of learning.
Turkish language learning and use
Children interact with peers and the teacher in classroom routines and a variety of learning experiences and activities. They engage in a lot of listening, and build oral proficiency through responding to rich language input and opportunities to engage in communicative activities where grammatical forms and language features are purposefully integrated. The language they use and hear is authentic with some modification, using familiar vocabulary and simple structures. Children follow instructions, exchange simple information and express ideas and feelings related to their personal worlds. They negotiate interactions and activities, and participate in shared experiences, performance and play. They read and create short texts on topics relevant to their interests and enjoyment, such as family, pets, favourite activities or food. They continue to build vocabulary that relates to a wider range of domains, such as areas of the curriculum that involve some specialised language use. The language used in routine activities is reused and reinforced from lesson to lesson in different situations, allowing learners to make connections between what has been learnt and what is to be learnt.
Contexts of interaction
The contexts in which students interact in learning and using Turkish are primarily local: the classroom, school, home and community, with some access to wider communities of Turkish speakers and resources through virtual and digital technology. The development of oral proficiency is similar in many ways to their parallel development of English language and literacy, and continues to rely on rich language input in different modes and from different sources.
Texts and resources
Learners engage primarily with a variety of teacher-generated materials, stories, songs, puppet shows and games, and with materials produced for young Turkish learners, such as computer language games, cards and readers. They may also have access to materials developed for children in Turkey and other Turkish-speaking regions of the world, such as television programs, advertisements or web pages, as a means of broadening cultural knowledge and awareness of diversity of language experience.
Features of Turkish language use
Children’s development of literacy skills progresses from supported comprehension and use of high-frequency and personally significant sight words to understanding and applying basic grammatical features of the language, such as simple verb tenses and verb moods, for example, recognising question and imperative forms such as olay ne? Nerede geçti? Neler oldu? Neden oldu? Başla! Başlayabilirsin, Kalk! Kalkabilirsin! Çabuk gel! They recognise in more detail the relationship between spoken and written language, applying spelling patterns, the spacing rule and the principles of vowel harmony, for example, to question endings such as alır mısın? alıyor musun? They use an increasing range of verbs, adjectives and adverbs to describe actions, places and people, for example, mavi köşkte, Kısa saçlı biriydi, Çok dikkatli yürü and Dün sabah geldi, simple conjuunctions to link ideas, ve, ile/-(y)le, ama, çünkü, and prepositions to indicate direction, for example, ileride, ortasında, üzerinde, köşesinde, aşağıda, yukarıda, doğu, batı, kuzey, güney. Children develop metalanguage for talking about language, using terms such as isimler, fiiller, sıfatlar, zarflar, ekler- ismin halleri, zamirler. The development of reading skills and textual knowledge is supported through interaction with a range of spoken, written, visual and multimodal texts. Imaginative and interactive texts, such as picture books, rhymes, stories, puppet play, songs and games, engage the expressive and cultural dimensions of language. Procedural, informational and descriptive texts, such as negotiated classroom rules, tuckshop orders or family and class profiles, show how language is used to ‘get things done’. A balance between language knowledge and language use is established by integrating focused attention to grammar, vocabulary building, pronunciation, and non-verbal and cultural dimensions of language use with communicative and purposeful task activity.
Learning Turkish in school contributes to the process of making sense of the children’s worlds which characterises this stage of development. Children are increasingly aware that the Turkish language is used not only in their own community in Australia and in Turkey, but also in many other places around the world. As they engage consciously with differences between languages and cultures, they make comparisons and consider differences and possibilities in ways of communicating in different languages. This leads them to explore concepts of identity and difference, to think about cultural and linguistic diversity, and about what it means to speak more than one language in the contemporary world.
Level of support
This stage of learning involves continued extensive support. Form-focused activities build children’s grammatical knowledge and develop accuracy and control in spoken and written Turkish; opportunities to apply this knowledge in meaningful learning experiences build communicative skills, confidence and fluency. Tasks are carefully scaffolded: teachers provide models and examples; introduce language, concepts and resources needed to manage and complete the activity; make time for experimentation, drafting and redrafting; and provide support for self-monitoring and reflection.
The role of English
The teacher and learners use Turkish wherever possible in classroom interactions and learning activities. English is used for discussion, reflection and explanation when appropriate, for example, when considering the nature and relationship of language and culture, or in tasks that involve bilingual work that includes comparison and analysis of Turkish and English. Discussion in both languages supports learning, develops children’s conceptual frames and builds metalanguage for talking about language and culture systems. The process of moving between languages consolidates their already established sense of what it means to be bilingual/multilingual, and provides opportunities for reflection on the experience of living interculturally in intersecting language communities.