Aspects concerning the acquisition of a technical vocabulary in primary schools: a study of the terms "axle" and "shaft" and their use by children and teachers
conference contributionposted on 04.05.2006 by Eric Parkinson
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The development of a technical vocabulary by primary children engaged in design and technology tasks is an aim expressed within a range of curriculum documents in the United Kingdom. From this position, this paper explores the basis of what appears to be an assumption within the field of curriculum leadership that primary children can construct an "appropriate" technical vocabulary and that teachers can lead them in this process. The study explores aspects of specialised language acquisition by children and adults via survey evidence collected in institutions in the county of Kent, UK. A relatively small data field yielded quantitative evidence of the linguistic choices made by children. This evidence is underpinned by other studies from research activity in the UK and Sweden. The evidence suggests that children are perhaps reluctant to use "correct" terms, and employ their own linguistic constructions instead. Evidence from adults, such as primary teachers and student teachers, suggests that those people able to influence children in the transfer between informal and formal, technically-derived language do not seem to have an accurate knowledge of some terms themselves.
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