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What is Literacy? According to A Curriculum for Excellence,

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Presentation on theme: "What is Literacy? According to A Curriculum for Excellence,"— Presentation transcript:

1 What is Literacy? According to A Curriculum for Excellence,
Literacy is “...the set of skills which allows an individual to engage fully in society and in learning, through the different forms of language, and the range of texts, which society values and finds useful.” “Competence and confidence in literacy, including competence in grammar, spelling and the spoken word, are essential for progress in all areas of the curriculum.” As Kenny intimated in his , the reason that I’m here is to discuss and share our approaches to standards in Literacy. Speaking to a number of different subject-specialists, it became apparent that the subject-specific demands in Literacy are very different and while SQA to insist on a minimum sta ndard of Literacy in our subject, it is not a focus of all subjects. Regardless of that, we are all very much aware of how ‘A Curriculum for Excellence’ sets out our roles. The set of skills could be divided into reading, writing, talking and listening and sub-divided again. I’ll try to discuss how I try to reinforce standards in Literacy in my classes.

2 Learning and Teaching Group
LITERACY – Sharing Standards In the past, departments have worked successfully on collaborative projects which aimed to share approaches and terminology to ensure consistency in teaching approaches and strategies. Building Bridges, for example, which Anne Lamont led, focused on both reading and writing skills in various subjects, and pupils produced, for example, leaflets in both subjects which were taught using the same approaches and strategies. While this was successful, it did become apparent that a school-wide consistent approach to the teaching of individual reading, writing, talking and listening skills would be nigh on impossible. Yes, there will be overlap and the sharing of certain approaches and strategies but the idea of one approach, regardless of deparment, would be very difficult. Take, for example, the report in Physics, the report in Biology and the report in English. They all share the same label but each task requires distinctly different skills and the final product would be incredibly different. Tony Creighton, for instance, explained that the Lab Report was based on content and not necessarily structure or format. A report in English would be assessed in terms of the content but the structural devices and the formality of expression are essential components of a report. We can’t expect to have a rigid set of rules which apply to all subjects but, in terms of literacy, there will be certain strategies that will apply to all.

3 In-Service Day – Conclusions…
Improving Standards through: Vocabulary and Expression Different Forms of Writing – Modelling, Deconstruction & Marking Grammatical and Technical Accuracy Reading Talking & Listening You can see that I’ve used the opening and closing slides of Charlie’s presentation. What I don’t want to do is repeat – in a much less erudite and entertaining manner - the main points made on the last in-service day. The starting point has to be the conclusions reached by Charlie: Improving pupils’ vocabularies and use of expression Focusing on ways to help structure different forms of writing and employing the correction code to reinforce the importance of high standards in Literacy. Continuing to teach different reading strategies to ensure pupils are actively reading In terms of talking, making pupils fully aware of their purpose and audience and ensuring that they use an appropriate register for any givensituation. In listening, ensuring that pupils actively listen and become emotionally literate I can only speak from my experience in my classroom and I know you’ll already be using many of these strategies but hopefully there will be at least one which you’ll find interesting, useful or practical

Sharing Standards FOCUS - VOCABULARY AND EXPRESSION Subject-Specific Vocabulary Enriching Vocabulary Displays – Words of the Week Formality of Expression From my perspective as an English teacher, developing pupils’ awareness and understanding of subject-specific vocabulary is essential and I’m aware that departments already do this. From S1-S5 I issue pupils with alphabetised vocabulary jotters which they complete as a term is taught in class. The terms is therefore taught in a suitable context. Enriching vocabulary can also be done through asking pupils to note down any unfamiliar vocabulary from texts and getting them to use a dictionary to find the definition. My S2 are currently working on enriching their vocabulary through the novel we are studying. Half jotters can be issued. Different tests can be used to ensure understanding and they were asked to appropriately use vocabulary in a creative piece of writing. At the same time, as a class we constructed character word-banks in order to help them with a critical piece of writing. Through Close Reading and Textual Analysis – work completed through S1-S5 – vocabulary can be shared in class. Displays – words of the week In terms of expression in English, formality is the main focus; through class discussion and in their written work inappropriate use of expression should be corrected or drawn attention to.

Sharing Standards FOCUS - DIFFERENT FORMS OF WRITING Teaching Different Genres of Writing by: Deconstructing and Modelling Examples Using Writing Frames Topic Sentences Linkage Marking Grids Within my subject, there are various different forms of writing as I’m sure there are in yours – critical responses, discursive writing, argumentative, report writing, creative or imaginative writing – and each genre has different demands. Making pupils aware of the different building blocks of writing is essential. Before starting a specific piece of writing, a deconstruction of an example is very useful. Pupils can deconstruct the example as a whole class, in groups or in pairs and refer to this model throughout. Alternatively, we can create or model an example. David Wray’s writing frames still have a place in supporting different genres of writing and can be adapted for the specific demands of your subject. Looking at the function of topic sentences – the first sentence in each paragraph – is important to the overall structure and clarity of argument. Getting pupils to form their own linkage banks and considering the function of different types of linking words or phrases can be useful. Also the marking grids we use should – at a glance – make pupils aware of their strengths and development needs in terms of a specific piece of writing.

Sharing Standards FOCUS – GRAMMATICAL AND TECHNICAL ACCURACY Addressing Technical Accuracy: Use of Correction Code Technical Accuracy Booklet Spelling Strategies & Rules Reinforcement through Displays Importance of self and peer assessment In terms of grammar and technical accuracy, the basic starting point needs to be the correction code which all pupils have a copy of in their diaries. We should be using this when we correct pupil’s writing. The correction code asks us to make pupils aware of inaccuracies in spelling; paragraphing and structure; use of punctuation; identifying missing words; grammatical errors in verb tenses and agreement; repetition; issues with expression and sentence structure. If we all use the same code, pupils should be more aware of their strengths and development needs Having subject-specific examples, such as the one we have for English, will help pupils. If all departments are using the same correction code it should make pupils more responsible for and aware of their need to improve literacy. I know there are subject-specific correction codes but to increase pupils’ literacy skills, the whole-school correction code must also be applied. A technical accuracy booklet is something that could be issued to pupils with laminated marking keys in the classrooms. If pupils don’t know how to use the apostrophe, for example, they can work through specific exercises, self-correct them and if they are still finding it challenging they can ask the teacher. Reminding pupils of key spelling strategies and spelling rules is also vital. Referring to the Learning Support Department strategies is vital. Displaying posters in all departments concerning the correction code and spelling strategies and rules should help. These could have subject-specific examples to further help pupils.

7 Sharing Standards FOCUS – READING SKILLS
Making reading an active process by: Teaching the skills of skimming & scanning Teaching pupils to use context Teaching the skills of Close Reading – summarising, following an argument, use of emotive language All teachers use a meta-language to foster independence in pupils As with writing, there will be different subject demands in terms of reading but there will be a place for reinforcing the different skills below: Skimming – a quick glance over the piece of writing to elicit a general understanding Scanning – a more focused way of reading in which key words or phrases are looked for Making pupils read actively in order to improve understanding by using the context. If a specific word or phrase is not understood, pupils should look to the context around it to help them. Making pupils read more closely in which they think about the overall structure of the piece of writing, the impact of topic sentences, emotive language, use of linkage… Charlie spoke of all teachers having and using a meta-language; by getting pupils to identify the adjectives and adverbs, for example, could help them to identify which passage is more biased

Sharing Standards FOCUS – TALKING AND LISTENING Awareness of audience and purpose in talk Active Listeners In English, we have to assess the skills of talk from S1 – S5: pupils are assessed in solo talks and in talk about a book they’ve independently studied. In that we focus on the pupils’ use of body language, tone of voice, pace, formality of expression etc. This helps to reinforce skills in writing. Using literature,film and music, pupils are expected to develop an emotional literacy.

9 Making it Work Individual Departmental Learning Support Library
S.Q.A. Demands? Developing a Whole-School Strategy In order to make it work we need to: Reflect on our own practice Reflect on different department’s practices and try to use those in our own classes On a whole school scale, liasing with Learning Support is essential. In terms of our reinforcement of spelling strategies, for example, Learning Support may advocate the look, cover, write and check method. Working with the Librarian is essential SQA – As I mentioned at the beginning, while the SQA may not currently assess your students in terms of theri literacy it is vital we do as it can only improve their skills for life. Hopefully the work we do together will help start a whole-school strategy

10 Reflecting on Current Practice
Curriculum for Excellence: Building the Curriculum 4 – Skills for Learning, Skills for Life and Skills for Work – Listening and Talking for Learning How do we provide learners with opportunities to: Engage with others in group and class discussions of appropriate complexity? Learn collaboratively – for example, when problem solving? Explain their thinking to others? Explore factors which influence them and persuade them in order to help them think about the reliability of information?

11 Reflecting on Current Practice
Curriculum for Excellence: Building the Curriculum 4 – Skills For Learning, Skills for Life and Skills for Work – Reading for Learning How do we provide learners with opportunities to: Find, select, sort, summarise and link information from a variety of sources Consider the purpose and main concerns in texts, and understand the difference between fact and opinion? Discuss similarities and differences between texts?

12 Reflecting on Current Practice
Curriculum for Excellence: Building the Curriculum 4 – Skills For Learning, Skills for Life and Skills for Work – Writing for Learning How do we provide learners with opportunities to: Make notes, develop ideas and acknowledge sources in written work? Develop and use effective vocabulary? Create texts – for example, presentations – which allow learners to persuade/argue/explore ideas?

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