Literacy for Learning program - Literacy Secretariat, South Australia

Uploaded by SAteachlearn on 30.07.2012

>> Narration The Literacy Secretariat recently ran a special
one-day overview session for some 30 secondary principals on the new Literacy for Learning
program. The Literacy for Learning program is set to become the key professional learning
program for classroom teachers.
>> Nanette Smibert (Literacy Secretariat) The Literacy for Learning course has been
developed for 2 key reasons. Firstly, our other existing courses address the learning
needs of people who already have some background in understanding literacy and the literacy
demands of curriculum; and this course is really targeted at more of a foundational
level so it is accessible by all teachers at upper primary and secondary level. The
other driver is the Australian Curriculum. So the Australian Curriculum literacy capability
identifies very clearly a model of language that underpins the Australian Curriculum.
This social view of language is the model of language that we have been using in the
Literacy Secretariat to inform our resources and the development of courses so we feel
there's a mandate now that this model of language, which underpins the Australian Curriculum,
needs to be understood by all teachers.
The model and structure for this course is based around school facilitators so it's important
that instead of an expert coming in to do some sustained professional learning at a
school with this model it's about building capacity within the school. So the school
will send in one or two or more teachers to be trained as school facilitators. They go
back with this knowledge and it stays within the school.
Ultimately what comes out of this course is a common language to talk about literacy in
the school and in situations across class rooms and across learning areas where people
are using this common language, this common way of talking about the texts in their learning
>> Narration Kirsty Amos, Principal of Penola High School, has completed the full Literacy
for Learning program, as opposed to the one-day principals' overview session.
>> Kirsty Amos (Principal, Penola High School) I found the course absolutely fascinating
on a personal level but also in my role as principal.
So on a personal level I could really identify with how the skills from the course would
help me as a teacher identify the aspects of literacy that would help students gain
a higher grade: ... are you using the technical vocabulary that you need to use or are you
using the vocab that you would use to explain this to your friend?
As a teacher, the course allowed me to explore all of the information I would be able to
give to a student to improve their writing.
As a principal I thought, well as we go through this course and do the readings and the between-module
activities ... people will have a chance to actually practise what we are learning. That
was a really key aspect of the course that was useful and then really have that depth
of knowledge about how the construct of language is going to help not only, well their teaching
firstly, but most importantly how it is going to help students move from informal to formal,
move from maybe a C to an A.
>> Narration: The following principals completed the one-day overview session for Literacy
for Learning.
>> Janette Scott (Principal, Para Hills High School)
This program seems to be very specific about secondary school students' and teachers' needs.
The exemplars, the activities that we are being worked through are all so relevant and
I guess that's why there's a bit of a buzz in the room, people are saying this is just
terrific, and it's new.
So as a principal I can see how this will work really well in our school. We have been
engaged in a comprehension focus, through our region. Within our own school we've been
looking at genres and trying to build up teachers' skills in each of their learning areas for
them to be able to teach explicitly the genres that they are expecting students to have.
>> Nigel Gill (Principal, Underdale High School) I'm currently participating in the SPALL program,
and we've got a couple of our teachers doing the Tactical Teaching Reading program and
I've constantly heard that literacy's everyone's business and each teacher must teach literacy;
but I'm unsure of how to make the connections and the steps to assist each teacher with
the specifics of what they need to do in the classroom to improve students' understanding
and learning with literacy. So this gives me an overview of the program and hopefully
[positions me] a couple of steps ahead so that I can provide the leadership at the site.
I'd be going back, I'd be working with my literacy team. I'd be sharing what this program
is about, identifying a couple of people and encouraging them to do the full program and
then come back and work with more teachers.
>> Jacqui Van Ruiten (Principal, Salisbury East High School)
My involvement in the SPALL program and also the Literacy for Learning overview program
has given me the confidence in being able to lead literacy in my site. At the moment
we have been on a really long literacy journey. We've had a focus on questioning this year
- and that's actually our SPALL action research - where I'm working with a number of different
learning areas both in SOSE, Technology and also Mathematics so these teachers are focusing
on looking at assessment, of course assessment design, and today has really given me an overview
in terms of genre and what I particularly like is the 'teaching for learning cycle'
and I think that's a process I'm definitely going to model with this particular professional
learning community whom I'm working with.
I'd really like to have more people trained in Literacy for Learning so we can then collectively
sit down and look at how we can plan and map where we are going to go.
>> Amanda O'Shea (Principal, Victor Harbor High School)
The literacy for Learning program has supported me in 2 ways. Firstly and foremostly, it's
given me a bigger picture about the language of literacy, about helping me to articulate
for my staff that we're not asking them to do something extra, we're actually asking
them to polish what they are already doing so that all students in my diverse learning
community are the winners.
At the moment I'm thinking that this will be useful for my learning area leaders and
then empowering them to decide what the priorities are for their learning area; and starting
from that place.
>> Meredith Edwards (Principal, Woodville High School)
I see this program, Literacy for Learning, as providing the macro understanding of the
importance of literacy as being everybody's business. Certainly at Woodville High School,
literacy is on our Site Learning Plan but this provides the main understanding of language
in its social context. At our school we've got a number of staff trained, 15 staff trained,
as leaders in Tactical Teaching of Reading and that has worked really well in them leading
small groups of curriculum collaboration focusing on the Tactical Teaching Reading strategies.
I'd be using a similar model. We've already got 2 people trained in this [LfL] and I've
had a request today that we have another 2. I'd be looking at about 10 people because
what we find is that teachers are really happy to be led by their colleagues.
I see the benefits of this program in that it really relates to classroom practice. It
certainly is strongly embedded in good theory, certainly of functional systemic linguistics
but it doesn't sort of push that. It links beautifully with the Australian Curriculum
and the literacy continuum which is an important part of that. Many staff, teaching staff,
are getting used to the idea that there are literacy demands - that they are part of the
achievement standards - and they are starting to ask for courses like this.
What I really do like is the fact that because principals have been given a really good overview,
by the Literacy Secretariat, we know what our facilitators will be up against. We will
make sure that we resource their time in preparation, and release time appropriately.
>> Nanette Smibert (Literacy Secretariat) I think there are probably 3 key things principals
need to do to ensure the success of this course at their school. Firstly, it's about choosing
the facilitators. Preferably, facilitators should come to the course already having some
understanding of the different disciplinary demands of curriculum and the growing complexity
and abstraction of texts as students move through school from upper primary into secondary.
So coming with that understanding will make it easier for them to look at the course and
see what some of these specific demands are and be able to relate that back to their school.
So having then gone back to their school, principals need to support the facilitators
in terms of time to develop the modules, prepare for the modules and present the modules at
their school; but probably, most importantly I think for principals, is that the research
says quite clearly it's the principals who engage with, promote and support sustained
professional learning in their school, they'll be the ones who get the greatest commitment
from their staff, and the greatest learning and, after all, this is going to lead in the
end to students who are meeting the achievement standards and the performance standards, particularly
at the secondary school, at a much higher level and it's that having an understanding
of the way language works in their different learning areas that's going to enable those
students to succeed, to the highest level.