The Center for Applied Linguistics was engaged as a sub-contractor for the Learning: Transition to English (T2E) project to help create a strong oral language development component for the program in support of English literacy development for learners in Grades B1, B2, and B3. Research has demonstrated that for children acquiring English as an additional language, oral language including vocabulary development must occur alongside traditional literacy practices such as discrete phonics and decoding instruction within a rich context of meaning (August & Shanahan, 2006; Echevarria & Goldberg, 2017). With this in mind, CAL provided guidance on preparing oral language development activities that would increase vocabulary knowledge, model grammatical structures, and provide opportunities for repetition with concepts and contexts that are meaningful and familiar to the learners as well as aligned to their reading activities. The components of the lessons focused on oral language development were conceptualized to integrate with the phonics and word work portions of the lessons, so that the lessons would be cohesive and build over time. Language development and literacy learning is more successful when the language is contextualized in ways that are meaningful to pupils and have an authentic communicative purpose.
As a part of this project, CAL participated in the term 2 Writers’ Workshop in Koforidua, Ghana for two weeks in February 2020. During the workshop, the CAL team consulted with the FHI 360 team as well as the curriculum writers, making recommendations to support oral language development. In addition, CAL project staff sourced, adapted, and wrote songs and chants that aligned with the content theme for each grade level. CAL staff also created some teacher training materials for developing higher order thinking skills that were included in the teacher training manual.