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Functional Language

Functional Language

The purpose of the Functional Language section:

This section contains resources to help identify and provide examples of functional language. Language is organized around its communicative purpose. In order for English learners to achieve communicative competence, they need to understand the purpose for communicating and be able to recognize and use the grammatical forms and organizational patterns that support that purpose for communicating. The advantage of a functional approach is that language is not taught for its own sake; rather it demonstrates how language operates in all areas of the curriculum (Derewianka, 1990). When educators make language functions explicit, they define more fully the tasks that students must be able to perform in the content areas (Chamot & O’Malley, 1994) and can help to focus students and teachers on meaning-making (Gee, 2008; Moschkovich, 2002).

WIDA Resources:

RESOURCE NAME: Explanation of Functional Language

Suggestion for use: Essential Action #10 (pages 43-45) asks teachers to “Identify the language needed for functional use in teaching and learning.” This resource gives an example of how teachers consider language functions and asks three guiding questions to help teachers focus on the functional use of language.

Citation:

Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System. (2012). Essential Actions a Handbook for Implementing WIDA’s Framework for English Language Development Standards: A Companion to 2012 Amplification of the ELD Standards. (Publication 3). Wisconsin Center for Education Research which partnered with The Center for Applied Linguistics.


Supplemental Resources:

RESOURCE NAME: Academic Language Function TOOLKIT

Suggestion for use: This resource is a planning tool to support educators in facilitating academic language development within content areas. It outlines examples, strategies, graphic organizers, cue words, and language frames for various language functions.

Citation:

Kinsella, K. (2010). Academic Language Toolkit (Training Packet).

RESOURCE NAME: Language Functions Tool

Suggestion for use: This resource is a planning tool to support educators in facilitating academic language development within content areas. It outlines graphic organizers, possible questions, key signal words, and sentence frames for various language functions.

Citation:

Confianza LLC. (2019). Co-created with Confianza Partner School, the American International School of Bucharest, Romania. Language Functions Tool.