Initiating and sustaining learning about literacy and language across the curriculum within secondary schools

Fenwick, Lisl
October 2010
Australian Journal of Language & Literacy;Oct2010, Vol. 33 Issue 3, p268
Academic Journal
Students are required to read and write appropriately a range of texts as they progress through formal schooling. Secondary schooling especially demands that students understand and reproduce the kinds of texts and associated language valued within specific subject areas. Often it is expected that students within secondary schooling can effectively access and create texts, knowing innately the appropriate structures and language to use. Surveys completed by students at a large multicultural high school in Adelaide, South Australia, revealed that many students did not understand the literacy expectations connected with the kinds of assessment tasks used in secondary schooling. A project was developed, which aimed to provide teachers with the understandings and skills required to incorporate literacy and language teaching within their subjects. Key elements of the project included professional learning, related to literacy and language, and mentoring by individuals regarded as literacy experts within the school community. Structures were used to support teachers beyond the initial training, as they attempted to incorporate explicit teaching of texts and language into the secondary curriculum. A range of strategies helped to evaluate the program, including teacher and student surveys, as well as analyses of student work. The results indicated that quality training in literacy and language, coupled with mentoring, can effectively support secondary school teachers to analyse subject-specific literacies and incorporate the teaching of texts and language into their subjects. In turn, the use of a range of strategies to teach text purpose, structure and associated language techniques, within the context of subjects, helps students to understand the curriculum content and expectations of secondary schooling.


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