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Supporting Secondary College Literacy

By no means within the area of college management has a lot been anticipated, with so little time, because the function of literacy coordinator. 

I’ve written earlier than about the literacy coordinator as a Sisyphus determine. Invariably, with an hour or two freed up from instructing on their timetable, the coordinator is anticipated to work some wonders with regards to embedding literacy practices.   

Given the skimpy time allotted, some skimming alongside the floor of the literacy problem is inevitable. Maybe it’s an hour on the beleaguered finish of a coaching day, or sporadic celebrations of studying. 

Fairly merely, except literacy management is given the time and instruments it requires, it dangers proving a distraction from the shared duty of senior and center leaders. What’s extra, I’d recommend there are in all probability a set of energetic elements that decide whether or not the function has any success. I reckon time, instruments (monetary or in any other case), and seniority all matter (being on the senior staff, or with quick access to them).

The place does the varsity chief begin? Literacy has its roots in each classroom, branching out in plans, insurance policies, and an array of practices. My regular recommendation is to attempt to shrink the problem and achieve some readability on what we truly imply by ‘literacy’.

The perfect wager signifies we must always choose a precedence that’s ‘amenable to vary’ (folks prefer it, suppose it’s well timed, and it helps clear up their issues). It the midst of a pandemic, it is usually about being pragmatic and punctiliously exploring what is possible for academics (and pupils) within the time that they’ve.

Shrinking the problem

Any number of priorities for literacy runs the chance of being reductive, and but, we could have to be pragmatic and choose from frequent present issues and areas of predictable promise. 

The EEF steerage report on Bettering Literacy in Secondary Colleges provides an evidence-based abstract, with key suggestions.

I’ve recognized the next areas of literacy that really feel salient for secondary literacy proper now. The hyperlinks hopefully provide some helpful prompts, some acquainted and a few new, together with references to discover additional:

Disciplinary literacy:

Seldom does literacy in secondary faculty stick except it’s tailored to the completely different calls for of studying, writing, and extra, within the topic disciplines. Starting with ‘disciplinary literacy’ might show enticing and accessible.

  • See EEF Secondary Literacy Steerage Report Suggestion 1 for an accessible explainer.
  • Discover this disciplinary literacy bibliography by the peerless Professor Tim Shanahan. 
  • Watch this recording of Professor Shanahan clarify disciplinary literacy for a Greenshaw Analysis College recording. 
  • @KVinceyxx has written a wonderful weblog on growing division literacy reps, which provides a helpful car for disciplinary literacy. 
  • With a disciplinary literacy lens, I wrote about studying mattering in maths.  
Vocabulary Improvement:

Prioritising vocabulary improvement persistently seems to be vital, enticing, and manageable for many academics. I’ve occurred to bang on about it for some time, so listed below are some key sources and assets. 

  • Busting just a few vocabulary myths is vital to ascertain a shared understanding of the significance of vocabulary instruction. 
  • I wrote concerning the three pillars of vocabulary instructing. 
  • With disciplinary literacy in thoughts, I wrote about closing the phrase hole in science for OUP. 
  • Katherine Mortimore has defined a bespoke TA dictionary vocabulary mannequin. 
  • I’ve recognized a vocabulary improvement studying checklist to discover additional. 
Studying improvement:

Is there something extra important to tutorial achievement than expert studying? It’s a perennial literacy precedence for good purpose. 

  • I’ve shared some free assets on ‘Closing the Studying Hole’. 
  • I gave a researchED speak on ‘Closing the Studying Hole’ (with PPT and references). 
  • Essa Academy have kindly shared a free ‘disciplinary studying’ booklet on TES. 
  • Kate McCabe has shared a weblog on ‘disciplinary studying’ (with PPT useful resource) which accounts for the optimistic work undertaken in her faculty. 
  • DRET’s studying programme provides a radical explainer of a scientific method to complete faculty/Belief studying.
Writing improvement:

Maybe there is no such thing as a extra complicated ability anticipated of pupils than writing. And but, academics routinely describe themselves as underconfident in methods to educate writing explicitly. Academics have to be supported to interrupt down the complicated act of writing into extra manageable chunks. 

  • Suggestion 4 and 5 within the EEF Bettering Literacy in Secondary Colleges provide two key areas to give attention to for writing: break down complicated writing duties and mix writing instruction with studying. 
  • I’ve written about vocabulary and writing and the way we assist pupils work phrases into their writing.
  • The What Works Clearing Home within the US has produced complete steerage on Instructing Secondary College students to Write Successfully. 
  • The irrepressible Cogscisci group of science academics held a useful writing symposium on all issues writing in science. 
  • The superb Writing Revolution has impressed numerous blogs; notably the favored ‘as a result of, however, so’ sentence construction. Kristian Shanks explains ‘as a result of, however, so’ as used within the historical past classroom neatly.
Literacy at transition:

Literacy coordinators are routinely requested to easy over studying and literacy on the transition. Sadly, we defer to ‘gentle’ approaches, akin to sharing an article or studying, when the fact is that the complicated, altering curriculum throughout key levels must be understood and extra substantive bridges constructed.

  • I’ve written concerning the language leap throughout the KS2 and KS3 transition. 
  • Extra particularly, I write about the ‘studying hole’ at transition. 
  • The OUP and CfEY have shared an attention-grabbing report on Bridging the Phrase Hole on the Transition (there’s a launch video too).
  • This OUP weblog describes Sarah Eggleton’s faculty and their give attention to tutorial vocabulary on the transition.
  • This EEF College Transitions Instrument summaries the proof of challenges on the transition – together with an absence of curriculum continuity.
Curriculum connectedness:

Colleges are grappling with the continuous act of curriculum improvement. Studying, vocabulary, writing, and extra, all have to be interwoven into curriculum improvement – not seen as a bolt on. Literacy is solely inextricable from curriculum improvement.

  • I’ve written about tutorial vocabulary and schema constructing, which is complemented by a greater and broader weblog by Tom Sherrington on schema constructing.
  • I’ve written how curriculum improvement is a instructor improvement problem. As an example, academics have to find out about studying challenges that mediate the curriculum, and so forth. 
  • Ruth Ashbee has written a considerate weblog linking literacy (or language) and curriculum. 
  • Professor Dan Willingham writes a cogent rationalization of why tales are psychologically privileged (and the way they may also help join up our curriculum). 
  • Mark Miller at Bradford Analysis College has sensitively unpicked the function and language of the data organiser as a software to cohere language within the curriculum. 
Placing it into motion – insurance policies {and professional} improvement:

Literacy can’t be a instructor coaching afterthought. If the coordinator is filling the graveyard slot in September, and never a lot else, then we shouldn’t anticipate a lot optimistic change. So, the place to begin?

  • The EEF Bettering Literacy in Secondary Colleges has a useful literacy RAG self-assessment software to assist appraise the present place with literacy from which to construct on. 
  • The EEF’s Efficient Skilled Improvement steerage report identifies a variety of ‘mechanisms’ which are essential for efficient literacy skilled improvement. 
  • Alice Visser-Furay has kindly shared her plans, insurance policies and assets created in her function as literacy lead. 
  • You may carry out a pre-mortem to anticipate the failures and challenges that may beset your finest laid plans.
  • Tim Shanahan writes about why it’s so laborious to enhance studying achievement within the US, however it’s his ‘final mile’ drawback which is so related to literacy coordinators: we have to persuade colleagues that change and enhancing literacy is critical.  

I may have shared a thousand hyperlinks, named a plethora of leaders, academics and specialists, signposted useful books, and extra. Apologies for omissions, however the checklist was already lengthy, and the literacy lead has an excessive amount of to learn and do already! Any nice hyperlinks for literacy leads are welcomed in feedback. 

Maintain pushing!