Language Is a Verb: A Review of Teaching Language as Action in the ELA Classroom

Barton, Georgina McFarlane and Daffurn, Narelle (2021) Language Is a Verb: A Review of Teaching Language as Action in the ELA Classroom. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 64 (4). pp. 480-482. ISSN 1081-3004


A group of students huddle around a table to discuss their written assessment task—an essay on a topic of interest or issue they face in their everyday lives. One of the students says,
I need to write my paper completely over…do you guys like want to be like everyone else because you don’t want to be who you really are? (Beach & Beauchemin, 2019, p. 1)
This is a distinctly complex question about personal identity and social inclusion and one that most young people face during their adolescent lives. Another student responds,
Yeah. Cause like I do that all the time. You know all those trend setting things. I just don’t know how to like to say that in my paper. (p. 1)
It is evident that these young people are aware of the complex relationships and personal challenges they experience, but it is also apparent that they find it difficult to discuss or express these relationships and challenges through language. So how do teachers and peers support students who are conscious of the challenges they face but unsure as to how to craftily express their emotions and experiences through the written word?
Teaching Language as Action in the ELA Classroom by Richard Beach and Faythe Beauchemin (2019) is a new book that discusses language as 'social actions.' It explores a number of themes across 10 chapters including diversity, power, relationships, and mind–body connections, aiming to build trusting relations between teachers and students. The book largely hinges on the concept of language as a verb not a noun.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Education (1 Jul 2019 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Institute for Resilient Regions
Date Deposited: 11 Mar 2021 01:52
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2021 01:52
Uncontrolled Keywords: English language arts (ELA); book review; Teaching Language as Action in the ELA Classroom; Richard Beach; Faythe Beauchemin
Fields of Research (2008): 13 Education > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy > 130204 English and Literacy Curriculum and Pedagogy (excl. LOTE, ESL and TESOL)
Fields of Research (2020): 39 EDUCATION > 3901 Curriculum and pedagogy > 390104 English and literacy curriculum and pedagogy (excl. LOTE, ESL and TESOL)
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