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Assignment 4

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Assignment 4

  2. 2. Assignment 4a) Write a report on the need for teaching of literacy, includingEnglish grammar, in Australian schools. The report should cite evidence obtainedfrom research, in the form of at least FIVE (5) reliable sources of information.Introduction:The Background:In the past, literacy was defined as the combined skills of reading and writing. Thefollowing skills: Reading, writing, spelling, handwriting, speaking, listening and literaturewere all considered as separate subjects (Holliday, Ljungdahl, Johnston, March, Winch,2010, p.xxvii). In recent years there has been an ongoing debate in Australia regardingthe teaching of literacy in schools. The focus of the debate has been on whether or notliteracy should be taught through ‘phonics’ or ‘whole-word language’ approaches(Burrows, Allison & Savina, 2007, p.1).The Purpose:These days literacy is defined by Holliday et al (2010, p.xxxvi) as the ability to read, usewritten information and to write appropriately in a range of contexts, using traditionaland new communication technologies. Literacy is used to develop knowledge andunderstanding. It allows people the ability to achieve personal growth and to functioneffectively in our society. It also includes the recognition of numbers and basicmathematical signs and symbols within text (Holliday et al., 2010, p. xxxvi).Furthermore, grammar also forms an important part of literacy. Oxford University Press(2012) defines grammar as ‘the way in which words are put together to form propersentences’. The purpose of this report is to discuss the needs of teaching literacy,including English grammar, in Australian schools. In order to do this teachers andstudents need to change their attitude toward literacy.
  3. 3. The Scope:There are a few limitations that could jeopardise the teaching of appropriate literacy inAustralian schools. First of all, teachers must have superior skills and professionalknowledge in order to put together a superior literacy program that best suits the needsof the particular children in their classroom at any particular time (Makin, Jones-Diaz,McLachlan, 2007, 44). Second of all, the government needs to spend the money on firstclass resources and teachers, so students can be taught this revolutionary form ofliteracy.Body:It is essential that literacy be taught in Australian schools because literacy is a humanright, a means of personal empowerment, and an opportunity for social and humandevelopment. A persons potential in society depends on literacy (UNESCO, 2011, para.4). The Department of Education, Science & Training (DEST) (2005, p.31) demonstratethat literacy under-achievement has high social and economic costs in terms of bothhealth and crime. According to the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, ‘anincreasing number of parents are seeking help form health professionals for childrenwhose self esteem and behaviour problems have arisen as a consequence of learningdifficulties and failure to acquire adequate literacy skills’.Literacy for children begins as soon as a child starts to speak. The presence of books,and print media in and around the home, and the attitude of parents and carers, areimportant influences on a child’s literacy development. What happens in a child’s home,community and culture shapes their early literacy learning (Holliday et al., 2010, p. 286).This author points out that the role of the teacher should be to try and build on theknowledge and skills that children bring from home. In this way schools can achievesuccess with children from all backgrounds.
  4. 4. International assessments conducted in 2000 and 2003, point out that twenty percent ofAustralians aged 15-74 years are considered to have poor literacy, while, an additional28 percent could be expected to have difficulties in using printed material encounteredin everyday life (DEST, 2005, p. 26). Professor Geoff Masters states on ABC news(2010, December 8) ‘when it comes to education, especially literacy, research suggeststhat on the world stage Australia is described as ‘average’ in terms of equality ineducation.’ There are big gaps between lowest and highest socio-economic levels andbetween Indigenous and non-Indigenous students. In addition Paul McClintock from theCouncil of Australian Government Reform Committee (ABC news, 2010, June 8) sayswhen it comes to year nine students, five out of eight states and territories in Australiafailed to meet literacy goals for Indigenous students. DEST (2005, p26) reports thatduring the international assessments in 2000 and 2003, thirty five percent of Indigenousstudents were not developing the literacy skills needed for further education, trainingand work.A lot is going to change for students learning literacy in the next decade. Cairney(Cairney, 2009, as cited in Holliday et al, 2010, p.xxix) confirms that literacy will moreoften be distinguished by the use of digital texts and multimedia to form meaning. Theboundaries between written, visual and real-world texts will continue to be distorted aswe seek to make sense of our worlds, using every resource available to us. For thatreason, teachers must ensure that they are fully aware and up to date, not just on thechanges in literacy, but the developing technologies to ensure students are engaging inthese technologies and do not fall behind. Holliday et al. (2010, p. xlii - xliv) recommendthat literacy educators should not be content with simply identifying, describing andmaking students familiar with new multimodal text types. Students require theopportunity to achieve the highest competence in all the varied modes ofcommunication available. The challenge is to create curriculum frameworks in literacy
  5. 5. education that are suitable for present conditions, but also seek to provide students withtheir place in the new global system, with the capacity to view that system critically.Conclusion:Literacy is at the centre of the entire concept of basic education. Literacy plays anessential role in improving the lives of individuals by ensuring students are adequatelyskilled both socially and economically. Australian students are the most valuableresource of Australia’s future, and literacy plays an essential role in ensuring this. As aresult the teaching of literacy, including English grammar, in Australian schools is anobvious importance to society.While many children reach basic early childhood literacy milestones, typical literacyexperiences are as diverse as the literacy habits of each and every family, communityand culture. Children are facing a new world of literacy, a world in which the literacyskills of the paper based text are no longer enough. Along with traditional literacy skills,we must now include schools with the many multimodal literacy practices that are madepossible by new technologies.Recommendation/s arising from the conclusion:Teaching literacy is a complex task and requires a high level of professional knowledgeand skill, so teachers can successfully teach high level literacy skills to students. This iswhy the Australian Government needs to develop a more specialised nationalcurriculum that holds literacy as the utmost importance in education.The recommendations arising from the conclusions are as follows:  The Australian Curriculum will be a national document that will be taught by every school, and to every student in Australia. This will enable the gap between lower socioeconomic and higher socioeconomic societies to narrow,
  6. 6. giving all Australian students the chance to learn the same content in the same way. The Australian Curriculum enables students to become literate as they develop the skills to learn and communicate confidently at school, which assists them to become effective individuals, community members, workers and citizens (Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority, n.d., para. 1). These skills include listening, reading, viewing, writing, speaking and creating print, visual and digital materials accurately, grammatically and purposefully across all learning areas. In order for students to develop excellent literacy skills, the Australian Curriculum states that students must be taught comprehension, composition, texts, grammar, vocabulary and visual information. The English curriculum should use a combination of ‘phonics’ and ‘whole word language’ approaches to literacy. The initial building block to literacy should be phonics. This involves an awareness of the different sounds in words, which allows students to break words up into sounds. Once this step is achieved, students can then move onto learning whole word approaches to literacy.
  8. 8. Assignment 4b) Using the findings of the report written for Assignment 4a, writethe script for a short speech on the importance of teaching literacy, includingEnglish grammar, in Australian schools. The speech should be: - Of three to four minutes duration (approximately 400 words) - Suitable for delivery in an Australian school setting.Identify (either before or after the speech itself) the school setting that would beappropriate for the presentation of the speech (for example, the position of theperson who would deliver the speech, the type of school and occasion, and whowould be in the audience).
  9. 9. NOTES:LITERARY 4TH ED. 2010. OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS, MELB – AUTHORS: - Marcelle Holliday - Lesley Durrell Ljungdahl - Rosemary Ross Johnston - Paul March - Gordon Winch - FORWORD: Pg: xxvii – there is still much to learn about literacy and the way it is used and developed as part of life. - Literacy previously defined in 1960’s as the combined skills of reading and writing. Reading, spelling, writing, handwriting, speaking, listening and literature we all thought of as separate entities. - Pg: xxviii: Teachers and students of literacy need to expand our literacy horizons. - Pg: xxix: Prof Trevor Cairney: Literacy offers the power to inform or deceive, to express love or hate – to have an impact on the human condition and finally open up other worlds. - The next decade will be one in which literacy will increasingly be characterised by the use of multiple sign systems (digital texts and multimedia) to make meaning. The boundaries between written, visual and real-world texts will continue to blur as we seek to make sense of our worlds, using all that we have available to us. - Introduction: Pg xxxvi:WHAT IS LITERACY: Literacy is the flexible an sustainable mastery of a repertoire of practices withtexts of traditional and new communications technologies via spoken language, print, and multimedia– by Allan Luke & Peter Freebody – version states: Literacy is the ability to read and use written information and to write appropriatelyin a range of contexts. It is used to develop knowledge and understanding, to achieve personal growthand to function effectively in our society. Literacy also includes the recognition of numbers and basicmathematical signs and symboks within text.Literacy involves the integration of speaking, listening and critical thinking with reading and writing.Effective literacy is intrinsically purposeful, flexible and dynamic and continues to develop throughoutan individual’s lifetime.
  10. 10. All Australians need to have effective literacy in English, not only for their personal benefit and welfarebut also for Australia to reach its social and economic goals. - Pg: xxxvii: Literacy is integral to success in modern society. Report of the National Inquiry into the Teaching of Literacy states: Skilled and knowledgeable young perple are Australia’s most valuable resource for the future. - PG: xxvii – xxviii: Literacy is crucial to young people’s success at school. Students with effective literacy skills excel not only in English but also in other areas of the curriculum. Students’ overall school performance and their successful transition from one stage of schooling to the next depends on a well developed foundation of literacy skills and on the positive attitudes to learning that accompany these skills. Students need to have the necessary knowledge, skills, attitudes, and understandings to engage with the literacy demands of the curriculum to participate effectively in society. - Denise Lievesley and Albert Motivans state: Literacy plays an essential role in improving the lives of individuals by enabling economic security and good health, and enriches societies by building human capital, fostering cultural identity and tolerance, and promoting civic participation. - Pg: xxxviii: Literacy is a way of operating with a variety of texts and is embedded in the practices of our everyday lives. When we buy a car, do the shopping, visit the Dr or pay a bill we engage in social practices in which literacy is embedded. - Pg: xxxix: The aim of any literacy program, therefore should be to teach students to construct a wide range of texts, and to interpret a wide range of texts constructed by others within and beyond the social and cultural contexts in which they live. - Pg xxxix – xl: Students need to understand that: o Different types of texts exist. o Texts serve different social purposes o Texts are typically structured in particular ways o We make choices from the resources of the language system to construct texts to achieve particular social purposes. o We choose how to present our texts depending of our purpose and audience. o We interpret texts constructed by others by understanding how and why particular texts have been constructed. o We use our knowledge of oral, written, and audiovisual text structures when we interpret texts constructed by others. - Pg: xlii: We are facing a new work of literacy, a world in which the literacy skills of the paper- based text are no longer enough. Along with traditional literacy skills, we must now include facility with the many multimodal literacy practices that are made possible by the new technologies. - Literacy educators cannot be satisfied with merely identifying , describing and making familiar to students the mew multimodal text types. We need to develop pedagogical and curriculum frameworks that seek to endow students with their place in the new global system, but also with the capacity view that system critically. - The authors in this book take the view that there is no sudden literacy crisis in Australian school but that there are certain problems, particularly in specific areas where students are not achieving to their potential. This must be addressed.
  11. 11. - Have a look at OECD report about PISA survey.- Pg: xliv: Students require the opportunity to achieve the highest competence in all the varied modes of communication now available. The challenge is to create pedagogical and curriculum frameworks in literacy education that are suitable for present conditions bit that are also attuned to the multiple communication possibilities that an uncertain future may yield.- Pg: xlv: Australian curriculum: Has three strands Language, literature and literacy. The goal of the curriculum is for students to learn to be highly literate individuals, capable of using language effectively and purposefully in all aspects of their lives.- WEBSITES USED: UNESCO, OECD, curriculum corporation, dept education, Ministerial council on education, ACARA.- Pg: 1- Reading is a integral part of literacy. Linked with listening, speaking, writing, viewing and critical thinking it establishes the essential basis for literacy learning and literacy practice as they operate in the digital age.- Pg; 13 - A successful language program is one which reading, writing, speaking and listening are integrated in a supportive and stimulating environment in which independant and reflective cirtical thinking is fostered. Children learn how language works when they are able to use it for purposes that are clear to them. They need to know that the purpose for reading is to make meaning.- Pg 33 – Grammatical information relies on the readers knowledge of language and the way it works. Grammatical knowledge includes knowing how texts are constructed to achieve their purpose, how different types of sentences are structured, and how different types of words work to achieve meaning in a text. Grammatical knowledge helps readers maintain fluency when reading, and predict the word that is likely to come next in a sentence.- Pg 50: Before children start school they learn the spoken language of theur social group and develop understandings of everyday spoken registers. Language development continues at school, involving vocabulary and access to more written-like language, which will lay a foundation for learning to read.- Pg 244: Managing the literacy classroom requires understanding and coordinating a range of elements uncluding programming and planning, recognising the neesa of the individual students, grouping students, the selection of resources and the development of an effective literacy session.- Pg 247: Writing is an act of communication and an expression of culture. From hieroglyphics to email, people have recorded ideas, information, thoughts and feelings in a more permanent form that the speaking mode. Children learn most effectively when writing is used for real purposes: to inform, entertain, persuade, and clarify thinking. Texts are any meaningful acts of communication, in any medium, not restricted to the written text. This means that language can be used in many forms: spoken, visual, multimodal or written.- Pg 274: The role of the school should be to try and build on the knowledge and skills that children bring from home. In this way schools can achieve success with children from all backgrounds.- Pg. 286: Literacy begins well before the child comes to school. The presence of books and print media in and around the home, and the attitude of parents and carers, are important influences on the child’s literacy development.- Pg. 291: the reasons for teaching grammar are varied. A knowledge of grannar helps us to make judgements about appropriate use of English; improves literacy skills, enriches understanding of literature; assists in learning foreign languages and provides a metalanguage that allows students to talk about their reading and writing.
  12. 12. - Pg: 453- Australian curriculum literacy strand: Students apply their English skills and knowledge to listen, view, speak, write and create a growing repertoire of texts. They learn to comprehend, interpret and create spoken, written and multimodal texts, and use the English language fluently, critically, creatively and confidently. -Literacies in Childhood – changing views, challenging practice 2nd ed. Authors Laurie Makin, Criss JonesDiaz, Claire McLachlan. 2007 Elsevier Aust Chatswood NSW ISBN: 9780729537834 - Forward Pg: viii – Early childhood educators have a special role to play in enhancing the many languages of children and helping refine them so that children accumulate a rich array of tools for effective communication. That children can symbolically represent the ideas they have and the knowledge the acquire is critical to effective participation in today’s world. - Pg 10 – There are clear correlations between low literacy levels and a range of social problems such as school drop-out rates, unemployment, substance abuse and incarceration. - Pg 44 – No research has ever proved that there is one best way for children to learn to read and write. When schooled in large groups, children need to receive a ‘balanced’ literacy program, drawing on a range of learning opportunities that emphasise different aspects of spoken, written and visual language. - Teachers have the responsibility of putting together literacy programs that best suit the needs of the particular children in their classroom at a particular time. How well they do this depends of their own particular professional knowledge and skill. - The confidence and willingness to use reading, writing and technology to communicate, think and express themselves are the ‘basics’ that will support young children’s performance as literate members of their community. - There will often be children who do not connect with the experiences such pedagogies provide, and who will struggle to learn to read and write. Or use technologies to communicate. Teachers must rethink their pedagogical decisions and choose other approaches until they find those that suit the particular child. - We must be knowledgeable about the whole range of literacy pedagogies available to us if we are to do our jobs well, and not just be satisfied to support ‘most’ of the children. - Pg 45 – Historically, children did not learn to read and write in primary schools. In Europe, reading was taught (usually the alphabet method of learning letters and sounding out words) wither at home or at local ‘dame’ or ‘nursery school’. Teachers were not concerned with pedagogy; they worked from textbooks, and mostly by rote, as still occurs in many countries today. - Essentially, pedagogy is knowledge about how to teach, so that children will learn. Shulman (1987) argued that teachers need a strong bank of pedagogical content knowledge (content knowledge about what is to be taught and pedagogical knowledge about how children learn). We need to understand what we are teaching, so we can break in down appropriately for children, and we need to know how to present, demonstrate, give practice and assist children, including those who do not speak English, r who have a learning disability.
  13. 13. - Because literacy pedagogy involves how and what we teach, it always reflects what is considered appropriate literacy for young people. This is constantly changing over time. When literacy was mainly used for reading the Bible and keeping financial records, that is what was taught in schools. When it was needed to prepare students for office work, dictation and formats for formal written connumication were taught. When we consider what we use literacy for in today’s socient, we can see that these purposes are both broader and different. Few people today need to take dictation. But almost everyone needs to engage with the multimodal texts of cinema, video, advertising and television. The kids of texts we read and write with children who are learning the literate practices of their culture are important because children do not simply learn to read and write, they learn to read and write particular texts about particular subjects. Understandings of literacy, which incorporate ‘operational, cultural, and critical dimensions of practice’, underpin many state policies in Australia at this time.- Pg 46 – Becoming and remaining literate within the context of a rapidly changing society is a life- long process. Indeed, our understanding of literacy itself us changing. Reading and writing are no longer the ‘basics’ for education and life success. Literacy is much more complex. There has been considerable focus on literacy and the teaching of literacy. Literacy is a process: it is something people do and learn by engaging in communicative interactions with other people in social settings and activities.- The experiences a child brings to school plays an important part in how they connect with what the school provides and whiat it privileges. Some important research about children’s literacy development has involved long-term observations of young children with different cultural and linguistic resources as they engage with print.- Pg 47 – Overall, the curriculum needs balance. He (McNaughton) claims that, for designing curriculum and pedagogy, teacher knowledge of childrens out-of-school lives, practices and expertise is essential. Without this, teachers may not recognise children’s emergent understandings of written language and how these are embedded within activities outside of school. Children can inform teachers by demonstrating what they can do, and talking about their knowledge of community practices. McNaughton recommends planning common experiences (excursions & communal activities) so that shared knowledge can be taken for granted in designing related reading and writing activities.- Pg 90 – Children’s literacy experiences begin in earliest childhood and continue throughout life, as they encounter ever-widening social contexts for new literact practices. While many children reach common literacy milestones in the early childhood years, their familiar literacy experiences are as diverse as the literacy practices of individual families, communities and cultures in which each child lives.- From their earliest speech experiences through to contact with written language and technologies, what happens in children’s homes and communities shapes their early literacy learning. How, and whether, this early learning is taken up and extended through early childhood educational practices has a considerable impact on the direction of children’s literacy pathways. Continuity between home and school literacy practices is emerging as a critical factor in literacy success for students. Central to achieving this continuity is the issue of how literacy is defined and particularly how teachers define or understand literacy.- It is imperative that early childhood teachers consider questions such as What is literacy? And How do different beliefs about literacy affect children’s literacy learning? These are important
  14. 14. questions because teachers’ own practices will reflect their beliefs about literacy and literacy learning, whether these are consciously acknowledged by the teacher or not. - The broad definition of literacy adopted in this book is inclusive of diverse literacy practices and encompasses listening, talking, reading, viewing, writing, visual and critical literaces. - Pg 92 – Johnson & Kress argue that ‘The successful learner for the demands of today’s economies needs to be an autonomous, self directed designer of their own learning experiences who uses multiple modes through which to represent meaning. - To consider the diversity of children’s literacy experiences we can identify features of home or educational contexts which may offer differences for individual or groups of children. Pathways into literacies are diverse because children experience literacies in a great variety of social practices and through different modes (spoken, written, visual and multimodal). In their daily lives, they encounter different types of texts and have different kinds of interactions with others around the texts they encounter.Reports and Recommendations – National Inquiry into the Teaching of Literacy – December 2005 1. The Committee for the National Inquiry into the Teaching of Literacy was reminded throughout the Inquiry process of the considerable diversity in the life experiences of children in Australian schools. Boys, girls, Indigenous students, students in urban, rural and remote locations, students who are recent arrivals in Australia, other students from non-English speaking backgrounds, children with vision or hearing impairment, or disability, all begin school with the expectation that they will learn to read and write. Their parents share this expectation.Pg 7 - Equipping young people to engage productively in the knowledgeeconomy and in society more broadly is fundamental to both individual and nationalprosperity, and depends primarily on: the ability to speak, read and write effectively; and the provision of quality teaching and learning by teachers who have acquired,during their pre-service teacher education, and in-service professional learning,evidence-based teaching practices that are shown to be effective in meetingthe developmental and learning needs of each child.In Australia, learning to read and the teaching of reading is usually included withinthe broader area of literacy. Literacy teaching focuses on written language, specifi callyon the ability to read, understand and use written language, and on the ability towrite appropriately. Literacy involves the integration of speaking, listening, viewingand critical thinking with reading and writing. Being literate involves the capacity todeal with a wide range of written texts, in numerous formats and many differentcontexts.Literacy teaching and learning are core responsibilities of teachers and schools.However, the teaching of literacy (reading and writing) is a complex and highly skilledprofessional activity. Whereas children enter school with varying degrees of competencein oral language, typically they have little knowledge about how to read and write.Thus, the purpose of early and subsequent literacy instruction in school education isto help children master the challenges of linking written and spoken language.PG 9 - The Committee found that six key elements operate consistently in the successfulschools visited. These are:1. a belief that each child can learn to read and write regardless of background;
  15. 15. 2. an early and systematic emphasis on the explicit teaching of phonics;3. a subsequent focus on direct teaching;4. a rich print environment with many resources, including fi ction and nonfiction books, charts and computer programs;5. strong leadership and management practices, involving whole-schoolapproaches to the teaching of reading and writing; and6. an expectation that teachers will engage in evidence-based professionallearning and learn from each other.Pg 25 - Australia’s young people are the most valuable resource for the nation’s social andeconomic prosperity. The key to such prosperity at both the individual and nationallevel is the provision of quality schooling. - Nowhere is this more important than in the teaching of literacy (i.e., reading, writing, speaking and listening, and viewing) since literacy competence is foundational, not only for school-based learning, but also for children’s behavioural and psychosocial wellbeing, further education and training, occupational success, as well as for productive and fulfilling participation in social and economic activityPg 26 - These assertions are supported by the work of Nobel Prize winning economistJames Heckman’s literacy competence is an essential area of learninginvestment in the young, being a ‘skill that begets many other skills’ (an index of‘self-productivity’, as he calls it), because it constitutes a ‘key part of our capacity toincrease our capacity’.International assessments of reading literacy during 2000 and 200313 indicate thatwhile 15-year-old students in Australian schools perform notably better (on average)than the majority of their counterparts in other OECD countries, 12 per cent (ACT, WA)to 28 per cent (NT) are not developing the literacy skills needed for further education,training and work (defi ned as low achievers), particularly Indigenous students (35%)and males (17%). Similar estimates have been reported for achievement in readingcomprehension of 14-year-old Australian students between 1975 and 1998, and, withfew exceptions, the estimates have remained constant during the period.14Furthermore, approximately 20 per cent of Australians aged 15-74 years havebeen identifi ed as having ‘very poor’ literacy skills, with an additional 28 per centwho ’… could be expected to experience some diffi culties in using many of the printedmaterials that may be encountered in daily life’ (ABS, 1997, p. 7). Evidence from the1996 National School English Literacy Survey (Masters & Forster, 1997a,b) indicated thatthe proportion of Year 3 and Year 5 students in Australian schools who did not meet minimumperformance standards of literacy required for effective participation in further schooling was found to beas high as 27 per cent for Year 3 students and 29 per cent for Year 5 students.15 - Pg 27 - Literacy under-achievement has high social and economic costs in terms of both health and crime. The Committee received evidence indicating that the overlap between under-achievement in literacy (especially in reading) and poor behaviour, health and wellbeing, is a major issue to the extent that what should be an ‘education issue’ has become a major health issue (e.g., DeWatt et al., 2004). According to the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, an increasing number of parents are seeking help from health professionals throughout Australia for their children whose selfesteem and behaviour problems have arisen as a consequence of (or are exacerbated by) learning difficulties and failure to acquire adequate literacy skills.Pg 31 - Literacy teaching and learning are complex tasks for both teachers and children andrequire a high degree of professional skill.19 Although children enter school withvarying degrees of competence in oral language, typically they have little knowledgeabout how to read and write.
  16. 16. UNESCO Website - - Literacy is a human right, a tool of personal empowerment and a means for social and human development. Educational opportunities depend on literacy.Literacy is at the heart of basic education for all, and essential for eradicating poverty, reducingchild mortality, curbing population growth, achieving gender equality and ensuring sustainabledevelopment, peace and democracy. There are good reasons why literacy is at the core ofEducation for All (EFA).A good quality basic education equips pupils with literacy skills for life and further learning;literate parents are more likely to send their children to school; literate people are better able toaccess continuing educational opportunities; and literate societies are better geared to meetpressing development .First posted December 08, 2010 00:18:00 - Masters, chief executive of the Australian Council for Educational Research,) Mr Masterssays Australia is described as "high quality" in overall performance, but "average" in terms ofequity, which suggests more needs to be done to even out the system."One of the things that this study shows is again there are big gaps between our Indigenous andnon-Indigenous students," he said."[There are] big gaps between our lowest and highest socio-economic levels. These gaps are theequivalent of more than two years of school."So we have big challenges in Australia, not only in maintaining our high performance andcontinuing to improve it, but particularly to address the needs of disadvantaged students." -Council of Australian Government Reform Committee. The committees chair, Paul McClintock, saysFive out of eight states and territories failed to meet literacy goals for Indigenous students in yearnine.In New South Wales the number of Indigenous students meeting the national minimum standardfor reading declined significantly.Dr Chris Sarra, an expert in Indigenous literacy, says it is difficult to pinpoint where things aregoing wrong."Weve got a long way to go and weve all got to keep working pretty hard at this," he said.
  17. 17. - 1999, para. 5 - Literacy education is not about skill development, not about deep competence. It is about the institutional shaping of social practices and cultural resources, about inducting successive generations into particular cultural, normative ways of handling texts, and about access to technologies and artifacts (e.g., writing, the Internet) and to the social institutions where these tools and artifacts are used (e.g., workplaces, civic institutions). - Teaching and learning literacy, then, involves shaping and mastering the repertoire of capabilities called into play when managing texts in ways appropriate to various contexts. The Foundation to Year 10 Australian Curriculum: English provides a solid basis for strengtheningliteracy. Literacy involves the ability to listen, read and view, write, speak and create print, visual anddigital materials accurately and confidently to become effective individuals, workers and citizens. - While literacy knowledge and skills are primarily built and consolidated through the English learning area, they are reinforced and strengthened through all learning areas. - The Literacy general capability is drawn from knowledge, skills and understandings of both the Language and Literacy strands of the English curriculum. It also identifies language and literacy demands of learning areas that the English curriculum does not specifically address. These demands include for example, the language structures of mathematics questions, the particular requirements of writing a report of an investigation in science, or the specialist vocabulary of history. the Australian Curriculum students become literate as they develop the skills to learn andcommunicate confidently at school and to become effective individuals, community members,workers and citizens. These skills include listening, reading, viewing, writing, speaking andcreating print, visual and digital materials accurately and purposefully within and across alllearning areas.Literacy involves students engaging with the language and literacy demands of each learningarea.As they become literate students learn to: • interpret, analyse, evaluate, respond to and construct increasingly complex texts (Comprehension and composition) • understand, use, write and produce different types of text (Texts) • manage and produce grammatical patterns and structures in texts (Grammar) • make appropriate word selections and decode and comprehend new (basic, specialised and technical) vocabulary (Vocabulary) • use and produce a range of visual materials to learn and demonstrate learning (Visual information)
  18. 18. - Literacy matters. Many people in different countries fail to reach even basic levels of literacy. This severely hampers their personal circumstances and lowers national productivity. The lower tail of the adult literacy skills distribution is particularly pronounced in some developed countries, notably the UK and the US.1 How can we ensure that future generations of adults do not suffer from such problems? One way is by trying to provide a means whereby literacy levels and, by association, overall pupil educational performance can be raised through government education policy. - Pg 17: The International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS) found that people with higher levels of readingliteracy are more likely to be employed and to have higher average salaries than those with lowerlevels - Is this simply because they have better educational qualifications? If it is, then IALS (and PISA) would, at best, be measuring competencies that help people to gain a better education and, through it, better jobs. In IALS, adults who had completed some form of tertiary education scored, on average, between one and two reading literacy levels higher than those who did not complete secondary education. - For a person who is between 26 and 35 years of age and working in the business sector, the probability of working in a white-collar, highly skilled job rises rapidly with an increase in reading literacy skills. The independent effect of reading literacy on labour-market outcomes is comparable to the independent effect of educational qualifications. Someone with medium qualifications (upper secondary only) has a two-in-five chance of being in a high-level job if their reading literacy level is 200 (at the low end of the scale) and a four-in-five chance if it is 400 (a high score). Conversely someone with a medium level of reading literacy (a score of 300) has a two-in-five chance of getting such as job with a low level of education (lower secondary education only) and more than a four-in-five chance with a high level of education (a tertiary qualification). - Figure - School of Health andrehabilitation Sciences – The Literacy Debate in Australia – A position Paper – May 2007 Author:Carolyn Burrows, Heather Allison, Elizabeth Savina. - This has centred on whether or not schools should teach children literacy through the methodology of ‘phonics’ or through the deployment of ‘whole-word language’ approaches. - The National Reading Panel (USA) advises that most students need phonics approaches and phonological awareness instruction for literacy acquisition, as well as instruction aimed at developing vocabulary, comprehension and fluency (the traditional domain of whole language approaches). The issue of phonological awareness is often ignored in this debate. - At least 10-16% (maybe up to 20%) of students have specific difficulties with reading and writing. For most of those students, this is due to missing the first building block to literacy - phonological (sound) awareness. Phonological Awareness (PA) is the conscious awareness the different sounds in words, which allows one to learn to break words up into sounds (sh-op) and substitute sounds in words to make new words (swap /p/ in ‘shop’ for /d/ = ‘shod’). Students with reduced PA skills pay less attention to these sound-letter associations, and may spend a lot of time trying to recognise or guess words. These students have difficulties reading and spelling new words independently and literacy does not
  19. 19. progress normally. With PA training, children start to notice the sounds in words, and learn to accurately break words into individual sounds. For many students, this is the ‘lightbulb’ moment, when they start to understand how they can play with sounds, become more automatic with associating sounds with written letters, and read or spell words in a strategic way.