Making the Links: Integrating spelling, vocabulary knowledge and comprehension across the curriculum

Grace Oakley, Valerie Faulkner, Helen House, Elaine Lopes, Alex Solosy, Elizabeth Mary Rohl

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Abstract

The Making the Links: Integrating Spelling, Vocabulary Development and Comprehension Project was designed around a year-long collaborative learning initiative aimed at helping learning area teachers (Years 7 to 9) incorporate the teaching of literacy into their disciplines. The purpose of the project was to lead instructional improvement and bring about change in the ways that literacy across the curriculum is perceived and taught in the middle years. Teachers from a range of learning areas were encouraged to participate and, as a result, a cross-section of disciplines was represented by teachers of English, Mathematics, Science, Society and Environment, Religious Education, Art/Design/Technology, Drama, and a Learning Resources Coordinator. The year-long program combined theory about spelling, vocabulary and comprehension development; demonstration of how to support spelling, vocabulary and comprehension across the curriculum; and opportunities to practise with students within their school context. The project approached professional learning as developmental, drawing on the work of Guskey, who suggests that “...change is primarily an experientially based learning process for teachers” (2002, p. 384). This resulted in a professional learning approach that identified a 6 step process whereby teacher participants were encouraged to engage in a sustained and substantial conversation over a considerable length of time (7-8 months). These steps included: collection and analysis of baseline and diagnostic data; identifying areas that required targeted support; challenging teacher assumptions in relation to literacy and literacy teaching across the learning areas; extending teacher knowledge around literacy and instructional literacy strategies linked to different learning areas; implementing structures to extend good literacy learning and practices, and exploring ways of sustaining the change process for meaningful and effective pedagogical renewal.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherThe University of Western Australia
Commissioning bodyCatholic Education Office of Western Australia
Number of pages66
ISBN (Print)978-0-646-55186-9
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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