Raising Standards Together

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MEP learning pack

Masters in Educational Practice: Literacy


Creating best practice


Introduction to creating best practice

Literacy practices in and across subject areas have long been identified as central to learner success. In 1975, the Bullock Report reinforced and gave voice to the belief that ‘every teacher is a teacher of language’. This was developed further by others, including the focus of the Kingman Report in 1988 on ‘language across the curriculum’. The development of literacy as a whole-school focus in Wales diverged at the point of the introduction of the National Literacy Strategy in England. One of the central messages emerging from Bullock to Cox to the Skills framework for 3 to 19-year-olds in Wales (Welsh Assembly Government, 2008) and the National Literacy and Numeracy Framework (LNF) is that literacy and language are the concern of all teachers in all subjects.

Activity 3.1

Consider the following quotation:

If standards of achievement are to be improved, all teachers will have to be helped to acquire a deeper understanding of language in education. This includes teachers of other subjects than English, since it is one of our contentions that every school should have an organised policy for language across the curriculum, establishing every teacher's involvement in language and reading development throughout the years of schooling.

The Bullock Report - A language for life (HMSO 1975)

Complete this PMI analysis to note your thoughts regarding the views espoused above.

The documents and tasks explored in Topic 1: Literacy in Wales give an overview of literacy aspects and approaches that are seen as central to best practice. The following tasks consolidate that understanding and begin the move from the page to the classroom.

Activity 3.2

The table below highlights some of the main suggestions found in two key Estyn documents. Complete the columns headed 'Where I do this' and 'Where could I do this?'. The final column gives you the chance to consider what would facilitate your work in a particular area of literacy. As well as recapping, this activity will begin your audit process for this topic.

Consider each suggestion in turn and then complete the remaining two columns. Answer as honestly and fully as you can.

Some key points Where I do this? (give examples) Where I could do this?(give examples) What would help me?
Pupils' higher-order reading skills, including skimming, scanning, inference and deduction are progressively developed.      
Reading and writing tasks and activities become increasingly more challenging and complex and to enable pipils to develop and refine their literacy skills.      
There is a strong focus on understanding and comprehension of that they read and opportunities for pupils to check their assumptions against the text.      
Links are made between speaking and listening, readng and writing so that pupils understand that these language modes are independent.      
Language skills are taught explicitly. The teacher demonstrates and explains specific skills so that pupils understand clearly and can apply what they have learnt for themselves.      
Active teaching of different kinds of writing includes an explanation of the features of different types of text and the techniques that writers use to create particular effects.      
Staff and pupils work together ona apiece of writing that models the skills that pupils need to use for themselves.    
Estyn (2008) Best practice in the reading and writing of pupils aged 7-14 years.
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