Week 2: The BC ELA IRP, Cambourne, and Oral Language

Posted: November 8, 2013 in Write on!


I knew the IRP would become my friend (or maybe my frenemy!) I appreciated the Gradual Release of Responsibility (GRR) model in the BC IRP.  It allows for guided practice after the teacher has modelled the concept, which allows for the child to gain a better understanding of the concept before independent practice.  However, I feel that after guided practice there should be collaborative work done with peers. This would allow for the teacher to visit small groups and to determine if the concept needed to be re-modelled, or if it was time to move onto independent practice. Furthermore, the GRR model  is a linear model, and I still think there needs to be more emphasis placed on circular models of teaching and learning.

Gradual Release of Responsibility:



For these reasons, I found Cambourne’s Seven Conditions of Learning to be a much more informative and interwoven learning model. It allows the teacher to “go back” and re teach  so students can gain a deeper understanding of the material presented. It is a more flexible and dynamic learning model, and I feel it is more advanced and thought out than the Gradual Release of Responsibility model.

Cambourne’s Model:



Why is oral language the foundation of other language arts strands? As the BC IRP states, “The oral language students acquire when they are young helps them connect words, sounds, and meaning with print. The oral language acquired later helps students build more sophisticated understandings, explore relationships among ideas, and explore questions in their reading and writing.” Thus, in order to make sense of our world, we need to be able to understand the language our world operates in. Furthermore, strong language skills help students decode written words and phrases; children who have a strong grasp of language can learn to read and write much faster than children who struggle with oral language or who are learning English as a second language.

According to the handout on theories of oral language development, my viewpoint is most aligned with the Social Interactionist model, that states “one’s environment and the interactions with the people in it play a critical role in the development of language.”  I believe that language is shaped by psychological, social, and linguistic factors. For instance, 2 children could go to the same school, receive the same amount of attention, but in one home, the parents spend time talking and reading, and in the other home, there is no time spent on emphasizing language development. The child with supportive parents will learn language at a much faster rate than the child whose parents do not share the same view of language development.

Personally, I have seen this model at work at the internalization stage: I have spent hours reading the same book for a child, only to have him want the same one the next week! Eventually, I learned he was studying the book, and then mimicking the passages from the book. I also remember begging my dad to read the same book (The Secret Garden) over and over so I could recreate the scenes in my mind and memorize the eloquent words, rolling them over my tongue until I knew them by heart.


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