Developing Literate Learners In The Language Classroom


Across the globe, education is being redefined by technology and innovations in pedagogy.When it comes to English Language learning, one key educational reform aspired by the Ministry of Education (MoE) Malaysia is the development of the literate learner who is able to use the English language to acquire and access knowledge from multiple sources and to communicate meaningfully in a variety of contexts.

A well-grounded level of English language literacy will also act as a prerequisite for Malaysian graduates to successfully enter and perform within a global community where English is the dominant medium of communication and knowledge bases. The Malaysia Education Blueprint (2013-2025)points out that teachers teaching English need to take the necessary steps to ensure that every child is equipped with the competencies of a literate learner.

In defining the literate learner,it is eminent that we take into consideration the ways in which our learners are required to use the language. In line with the 21st century educational landscape,the literate language learner is one who not only knows the language but more importantly knows how to use the language to engage in the communication, collaboration or teamwork, creativity, critical thinking and problem-solving tasks.The literate learner is also an appentrepreneur who is able to use technology to facilitate learning.

Figure1: The literate learner,4Cs of the 21st-century and technology as facilitator

Figure 2: Teaching practices in the 21st-century classroom

In the 21st-century language classroom,teachers need to focus on developing the 4Cs as their outcomes while language becomes as an interactional tool to share, convey and expand knowledge and learning. Technology and digital tools become facilitating multimodalities in the classroom.

Teachers do not need any new method to help students develop as literate learners but to reflect on how they teach and how students learn. Classroom teaching practices need to move away from teacher narration to the concept of problem-posing education. In the concept of problem-posing education, the language teacher actively engages the learner in dialogues, sharing ideas, posing questions, evaluating knowledge and values. When a learner engages in the above activities literacy levels in the classroom are enhanced.

In line with the  21st-century educational landscape, the literate language learner is one who not only knows the language but more importantly knows how to use the language to engage in the communication, collaboration or teamwork, creativity, critical thinking and problem-solving tasks.

With the aim to internationalise and globalise and with the provision of cutting-edge technology prevalent in the educational frontiers worldwide teachers everywhere need to ensure that their learners are not being left behind. It is time for us to come together and re think how we teach in the language classrooms.