Modern technologies in teaching FLT — страница 9

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practice with intellectual significance" (1994, p. 201). While traditional definitions of literacy have focused on reading and writing, the definition of literacy today is more complex. The process of becoming literate today involves more than learning how to use language effectively; rather, the process amplifies and changes both the cognitive and the linguistic functioning of the individual in society. One who is literate knows how to gather, analyze, and use information resources to solve problems and make decisions, as well as how to learn both independently and cooperatively. Ultimately literate individuals possess a range of skills that enable them to participate fully in all aspects of modern society, from the workforce to the family to the academic community. Indeed,

the development of literacy is "a dynamic and ongoing process of perpetual transformation" (Neilsen, 1989, p. 5), whose evolution is influenced by a person's interests, cultures, and experiences. Researchers have viewed literacy as a multifaceted concept for a number of years (Johns, 1997). However, succeeding in a digital, information-oriented society demands multiliteracies, that is, competence in an even more diverse set of functional, academic, critical, and electronic skills. To be considered multiliterate, students today must acquire a battery of skills that will enable them to take advantage of the diverse modes of communication made possible by new technologies and to participate in global learning communities. Although becoming multiliterate is not an easy task

for any student, it is especially difficult for ESL students operating in a second language. In their attempts to become multiliterate, ESL students must acquire linguistic competence in a new language and at the same time develop the cognitive and sociocultural skills necessary to gain access into the social, academic, and workforce environments of the 21st century. They must become functionally literate, able to speak, understand, read, and write English, as well as use English to acquire, articulate and expand their knowledge. They must also become academically literate, able to read and understand interdisciplinary texts, analyze and respond to those texts through various modes of written and oral discourse, and expand their knowledge through sustained and focused research.

Further, they must become critically literate, defined here as the ability to evaluate the validity and reliability of informational sources so that they may draw appropriate conclusions from their research efforts. Finally, in our digital age of information, students must become electronically literate, able "to select and use electronic tools for communication, construction, research, and autonomous learning" (Shetzer, 1998). Helping students develop the range of literacies they need to enter and succeed at various levels of the academic hierarchy and subsequently in the workforce requires a pedagogy that facilitates and hastens linguistic proficiency development, familiarizes students with the requirements and conventions of academic discourse, and supports the use

of critical thinking and higher order cognitive processes. A large body of research conducted over the past decade (see, e.g., Benesch, 1988; Brinton, Snow, & Wesche, 1989; Crandall, 1993; Kasper, 1997a, 2000a; Pally, 2000; Snow & Brinton, 1997) has shown that content-based instruction (CBI) is highly effective in helping ESL students develop the literacies they need to be successful in academic and workforce environments. CONTENT-BASED INSTRUCTION AND LITERACY DEVELOPMENT CBI develops linguistic competence and functional literacy by exposing ESL learners to interdisciplinary input that consists of both "everyday" communicative and academic language (Cummins, 1981; Mohan, 1990; Spanos, 1989) and that contains a wide range of vocabulary, forms, registers, and

pragmatic functions (Snow, Met, & Genesee, 1989; Zuengler & Brinton, 1997). Because content-based pedagogy encourages students to use English to gather, synthesize, evaluate, and articulate interdisciplinary information and knowledge (Pally, 1997), it also allows them to hone academic and critical literacy skills as they practice appropriate patterns of academic discourse (Kasper, 2000b) and become familiar with sociolinguistic conventions relating to audience and purpose (Soter, 1990). The theoretical foundations supporting a content-based model of ESL instruction derive from cognitive learning theory and second language acquisition (SLA) research. Cognitive learning theory posits that in the process of acquiring literacy skills, students progress through a series of