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What sustains literacy improvement? Literacy is everyone’s business www.decs.sa.au/literacy www.decs.sa.au/literacy Ridgehaven Elizabeth Hollywood Gardens.

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Presentation on theme: "What sustains literacy improvement? Literacy is everyone’s business www.decs.sa.au/literacy www.decs.sa.au/literacy Ridgehaven Elizabeth Hollywood Gardens."— Presentation transcript:

1 What sustains literacy improvement? Literacy is everyone’s business Ridgehaven Elizabeth Hollywood Gardens Katrina Spencer NAR Tri-cluster Meeting September 2010

2 DECS Literacy Secretariat Literacy is everyone’s business 2 International Literacy Day September 8 In 1965 UNESCO declared September 8 th International Literacy Day to highlight the importance of literacy to individuals, communities and societies. There are now close to four billion literate people in the world but literacy for all is an unaccomplished goal. In the least developed countries, the overall illiteracy rate is 49%. Africa as a continent has a literacy rate of less than 60%. The 2010 theme is The Power of Women’s Literacy. Of the one in five adults still not literate, about 2/3 are women while 67.4 million children are out of school. Teaching mothers to read can lead to a decrease in infant mortality of up to 50%.

3 DECS Literacy Secretariat Literacy is everyone’s business 3 International Literacy day September 8 The relationship between illiteracy and poverty is undeniable: – Per capita income in countries with a literacy rate less than 55% averages about $600 – Per capita income in countries with a literacy rate above 96% is $12,600 In Australia the literacy rate is deemed as 99% however the gaps for many, mean that they do not achieve full participation or access to the benefits of living in a highly literate country.

4 DECS Literacy Secretariat Literacy is everyone’s business 4 International Literacy day September 8 By the age of 15, more than 1/3 of Australia’s Indigenous students 'do not have the adequate skills and knowledge in reading literacy to meet real-life challenges and may well be disadvantaged in their lives beyond school' (PISA cited in Bortoli and Cresswell, 2004) Research shows that low levels of literacy are directly linked to behavioural problems in the classroom, the likelihood that a student will finish formal education before Year 12, and the likelihood of being unemployed after leaving school. (Kemp 1997, Literacy Standards in Australia) Hart and Risley’s US findings show that professional families children hear an average of 2,153 words/hour, in working class families 1,251 words/hour, and in welfare families only 616 words/hour. The gap grows from such an early age.

5 DECS Literacy Secretariat Literacy is everyone’s business 5 So where are we up to? Updates –Last session’s focus was Literacy Leadership: What things ‘stayed’ with you from our last session? What have you ‘done’ in response to discussions What questions/issues would you like to progress? – Lit Sec Launch

6 DECS Literacy Secretariat Literacy is everyone’s business 6 Check out the Literacy Secretariat website at Resource Papers can be found at Home/Resources/

7 DECS Literacy Secretariat Literacy is everyone’s business 7 Sustaining Improvements Islands of hope existed in each decade yet even these remarkable islands drop below sea level when founders, principals or key teachers, leave. As long as any one individual is indispensable, sustainability is a distant dream. Linda Lambert (2007)

8 DECS Literacy Secretariat Literacy is everyone’s business 8 Sustained or sustainable? So what makes things ‘stick’? Scenario: Year 5/6 was a nightmare last year. Every day a cavalcade of kids arrived at your office exited from class. NITT staff did not want this class and TRTs chose not to come rather than have this group. Nobody was looking forward to having them as Year 7s. A lucky new staff member got this group! At first, she complained and a few parent called but you have noticed that students aren’t being exited from this class. At a recent assembly they shared some quality work and demonstrated good behaviour. When their teacher had to leave unexpectedly for a family emergency the class were responsive and responsible. With a different TRT 3 days in a row they remained focused and positive. So what has happened? What has that teacher been up to with this class?

9 DECS Literacy Secretariat Literacy is everyone’s business 9 Creating a sustainable culture What was that teacher up to? –Started with clean slate- no blame –High expectations re beh and learning –Clear structures and routines –Communicate with kids  mutual respect –Relationships –No escape!! –Engagement in learning, want to be there –She was responsible –Development of self responsibility- locus of control –Sense of group  cohesion –Explicit teaching –Learning was relevant and followed interest

10 DECS Literacy Secretariat Literacy is everyone’s business 10 …schools know how to change promiscuously and at the drop of a hat. What schools do not know how to do is to improve, to engage in sustained and continuous progress toward a performance goal over time. So the task is to develop practice around the notion of improvement. Elmore 2000

11 DECS Literacy Secretariat Literacy is everyone’s business 11 Leading a sustainable whole school approach to literacy improvement presupposes we know something about: –Leadership –Sustainability –Whole school approaches –Literacy –Improvement And the knowledge, skills and capacities to take effective action and bring people along with us on the ride

12 DECS Literacy Secretariat Literacy is everyone’s business 12 Common change errors The PLANNING and application The ENGAGEMENT of people and communication of change The DEVELOPMENT of leaders to drive the change The LEADERSHIP and management systems and behaviours that support the change

13 DECS Literacy Secretariat Literacy is everyone’s business 13 Sustaining Improvement SILA’s Sustainability Toolkit

14 DECS Literacy Secretariat Literacy is everyone’s business 14 The 1 st BIG Leadership Lesson Sharpen YOUR focus –What are your high leverage activities- the ones that make the most impact on learning? –What one thing could you STOP doing or give to someone else? Sharpen the SITE LITERACY focus –Are your goals the right ones? –Do you have the data to monitor progress? –Are staff committed to these goals? –Is there real time to focus on goals? What is one thing that would SHARPEN THE FOCUS for you/your site??

15 DECS Literacy Secretariat Literacy is everyone’s business 15 Sustainability “You can’t break a bad habit by throwing it out the window. You’ve got to walk it slowly down the stairs.” Mark Twain STICK TO THE FOCUS –Up to 80% of improvement efforts fail –Each time we change directions scepticism increases –Most fail either at the initial planning phase or in the lack of consolidation LEADERSHIP LESSONS: Don’t get discouraged Keep ramping up and rounding in Document and standardise Process  practice  attitudes

16 DECS Literacy Secretariat Literacy is everyone’s business 16 On the same page PEOPLE PEOPLE are our most expensive and vital resource in any improvement initiative Research suggests that schools that are able to demonstrate increased coherence of curriculum, instruction, and assessment also show marked improvements in student performance (e.g., Newmann, Smith, Allensworth, & Bryk, 2001)

17 DECS Literacy Secretariat Literacy is everyone’s business 17 Get them on the same page Coherence: shared knowledge, theory, and vision developed through professional collaboration. Wollman (2007) The Leadership Lessons Attend to culture building, reinforce the ‘right’ norms Professional development and professional learning Time for collaboration and deprivatising practice –Collegiality is one of the most important factors in determining the quality of a school (Roland S. Barth) –Collegiality is essential to the success of staff continuous improvement efforts (Judith Warren Little) –Teacher collegial problem solving is a vital key to initiating positive school change (Linda Darling-Hammon and Gary Sykes)

18 DECS Literacy Secretariat Literacy is everyone’s business 18 Whole school agreements How is it we can have whole school agreements about ‘lining up’ and not teaching and learning? Some stuff really does make a difference! ‘ Never work harder than your students’ Robyn R. Jackson

19 DECS Literacy Secretariat Literacy is everyone’s business 19 Alignment Strong instructional coherence requires: –“a common instructional framework (that) guides curriculum, teaching, assessment, and learning climate… –…specific expectations for student learning with specific strategies … to guide teaching and assessment” (2001, Newmann et al.) This requires a focus on developing whole site agreements and clear expectations for their enactment at the classroom level COHERENCE & CONSISTENCY are key

20 DECS Literacy Secretariat Literacy is everyone’s business 20 Phone a friend You can’t do it all your self or all by yourself. We expect students and teachers to have help, support and learning so…. –Share Leadership –Network –Create Professional Learning Communities –Access coaching Develop, access and use them!!

21 DECS Literacy Secretariat Literacy is everyone’s business 21 Sustaining Improvement SILA’s Sustainability Toolkit What would you add to your pencil case?

22 DECS Literacy Secretariat Literacy is everyone’s business 22 Am I likely to be successful? 1.This is a high priority area to improve learner achievement 2.People are connected and committed to our improvement priority 3.Someone takes responsibility to lead and advocates for this 4.We have a clear plan to implement improvements (targets, strategies) 5.It will make a difference in classroom practice 6.It is a widespread expectation (eg whole school) 7.It is adequately resourced- people, time, $ 8.Ongoing professional learning and sharing occurs 9.We have documentation and systems to support new people engage with this priority 10.It is an ongoing, sustained and deep focus for us 11.Competing priorities, new projects etc are minimised 12.We monitor this regularly (data, walkthroughs, sharing, perf. Mgmt.)

23 DECS Literacy Secretariat Literacy is everyone’s business 23 Sustainability is a meal, not a menu. You can’t pick and choose. All the principles go together. You have to eat all your “greens”. (Hargreaves & Fink 2006)

24 DECS Literacy Secretariat Literacy is everyone’s business 24 School success means enhanced school outcomes in agreed priority areas, based on documented evidence of those outcomes and teachers’ expressed confidence in their school’s capacity to extend and sustain its achievements into the future. Crowther et al (2010)


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