Linguistic Inquiry in the Classroom: A Missing Link?

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Domm, Kristin Bieber
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Linguistic inquiry is the exploration of language—what language is, how language works, and how language is used. Students themselves engage in linguistic inquiry by observing language use, collecting language data, and investigating what they find. This research creation asks the question: Is linguistic inquiry a missing link between students, teachers, language, and learning? Can linguistic inquiry enable students to become more aware of their own language expertise, more respectful of language diversity, more engaged as second language learners, more effective as writers and readers, and more confident in using academic language? As a language arts and ESL teacher with twenty-five years’ experience (P-12), I have explored linguistic inquiry and its possibilities in the classroom by creating a book about language for young people. This book is my writing to discover how to recognize, highlight, and investigate language itself—in order to understand how linguistic exploration might enhance learning in school. 2 Part I of the thesis contains the thesis overview, a description of my linguistic location, and the literature review. Part II, Talking Up a Storm: Linguistics for Kids, is a nine-chapter nonfiction manuscript written for students in Grades 4 - 8. Chapters include topics such as language acquisition, endangered languages, writing systems, the history of English, codeswitching, and the poetry of language. Part III explores possible classroom connections for Talking Up a Storm: Linguistics for Kids. These connections support the tentative conclusion that, like the arts, linguistic inquiry is a valuable—but often missing—link in school, an important connection between students, teachers, language, and learning.
Inquiry-based learning , Language arts , English second language , Language acquisition , Linguistics , Foreign speakers , Middle school , English language , Study and teaching , Education , Language