Lessons, literacy and learning
“[L]iteracy, especially functional literacy, and quality education represent a lifelong necessity for all and serve as an investment in human and social capital and a major tool for the empowerment of people...”
United Nations Resolution on a UN Literacy Decade, October 1999.
How well do teachers use literacy to focus on their students’ learning and achievement needs?
That question is at the heart of research at the University of Waikato’s Wilf Malcolm Institute of Educational Research where Professor Stephen May, Dr Noeline Wright and Dr David Whitehead have been taking a close look at how well New Zealand secondary school teachers integrate literacy into their lessons, and also how it is integrated into their school’s ethos of learning.
Literacy in this project’s context is about making unfamiliar text and content more accessible to students. It enables teachers to be more aware of how well their students learn and what they can do to improve their students’ academic success.
The Secondary Schools’ Literacy Project Research Evaluation 2006-2009 has been a major three-year work, and builds upon the evaluation of an earlier national project which sought to identify conditions for effective cross-curricular literacy professional development. This earlier project showed that schools were in varying stages of readiness to successfully sustain a literacy focus across the curriculum.
Both projects are unique internationally. The latest evaluation process provides the Ministry of Education with not only evidence about effective conditions for literacy learning, but also evidence that helps it frame policy surrounding the provision of literacy professional development. Key features of the research evaluation include: literacy and learning resourcing for teachers, student outcomes and the literacy professional development process.
External funding gratefully acknowledged: Ministry of Education.
WILF MALCOLM INSTITUTE OF EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH
FACULTY OF EDUCATION