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  • Writer's pictureGary Darma

Leading Literacy

Emma and I recently attended day one of DET’s Leading Literacy (for networks) course at McGuire College in Shepparton. The course is divided into five modules and unpacks high quality and research-based literacy pedagogy. This course will help us design professional learning experiences at school that aim to have the highest impact on literacy teaching.

The first day of the course we were introduced to the essential underpinnings of the course.

A lot of the work that we do in school will also have these essential underpinnings at its heart.

Authentic Literacy I found the work we did on Authentic Literacy quite interesting. My very brief version of what constitutes an authentic text is one that you will find outside of a teaching and learning context. We also want to make sure that in reading instruction that any tasks we have are also purposeful. We can ask ourselves a question, is the purpose of this activity something that we would do outside of the classroom environment?

Whole School Instructional Model

We have certainly realised the benefits of the workshop model and its adoption of the gradual release of responsibility.  We know that this instructional supports the evidence of how humans learn best. 

Balanced Assessment We know that relying solely on NAPLAN to inform our teaching would be grossly inadequate. Balanced assessment is all about utilising a range of assessment tools to assist all learners. Annual standardized assessments combined with interim (benchmark) assessments need to paired with regular, ongoing classroom-based assessments to give us a comprehensive picture of our learners.  We have recently completed some important work on assessment procedures and structures. We need a consistent approach to interim and yearly assessments and resources such as Fountas and Pinnell and Essential Assesment will provide teachers with important interim and the beginning and end of unit assessments. Ongoing observations, running records, learning goals and work sample analysis will provide us with the critical classroom-based assessments that support the less frequent assessments we complete.

A guaranteed and viable curriculum.

The sample Scope and sequence Literacy curriculum, document was something the I thought was great. Some of the work we will be doing as a result of the Leading Literacy training will be learning from and adapting documents such as this for use in our context.

Other useful Department resources include the School_Leaders_Guide_to Improving Teaching and Learning  and Curriculum-Planning-DET

Targeted Professional Learning

Attending Leading Literacy allows Emma and I to develop a professional learning plan that suits the needs of everyone in our school. Our Teaching Partners are becoming involved in Professional Learning in Term Three and having their support and expertise built into our Professional Learning program should help us transfer the knowledge of evidence-based strategies into teaching practice at our school.

Summing up

It is useful to have these five strategies in mind when discussing Literacy improvement in our school. They allow us focus and will help guide the work in our school. We will continue to share the learning that emerges from the Leading Literacy training and in you have any questions about anything to do with improving Literacy please write them below, we will investigate!

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