The linguistically aware teacher and the teacher-aware linguist

Elspeth E. McCartney, Susan Ellis

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This review evaluates issues of teacher linguistic knowledge relating to their work with children with speech, language and communication difficulties (SLCD). Information is from Ellis and McCartney [(2011a). Applied linguistics and primary school teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press], a state-of-the-art text deriving from a British Association of Applied Linguistics/Cambridge University Press expert seminar series that details: linguistic research underpinning primary school curricula and pedagogy; the form of linguistic knowledge useful for teachers supporting children with SLCD in partnership with speech and language therapists; and how and when teachers acquire and learn to apply such knowledge. Critical analysis of the options presented for teacher learning indicate that policy enjoinders now include linguistic application as an expected part of teachers' professional knowledge, for all children including those with SLCD, but there is a large unmet learning need. It is concluded that there is a role for clinical linguists to disseminate useable knowledge to teachers in an accessible format. Ways of achieving this are considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)419-427
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Linguistics & Phonetics
Issue number6-7
Early online date26 Apr 2013
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013


  • inter-professional working
  • primary-school teaching
  • speech language and communication difficulties
  • teacher education


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