Advertisement

Influences on local curriculum innovation in times of change: a literacy case study

  • Damon P. Thomas
  • Sherridan Emery
  • Vaughan Prain
  • Jeanette Papageorgiou
  • Ann-Marie McKendrick
Article

Abstract

Australian students’ performance on national and international literacy assessments has declined since 2000, while teachers in contemporary classrooms contend with conditions of increased complexity and uncertainty. In July 2017, the Australian Government commissioned a panel of experts to provide advice on how to improve Australian students’ achievement and school performance. The panel concluded that Australian schools must support every student to realise their full learning potential through an increased emphasis on personalised student learning and collaborative teacher practices. This paper outlines a case study of complexities and influences in enabling and constraining a local curriculum innovation in literacy that sought to personalise learning and promote teacher collaboration in conditions of constant change and disruption. Named Literacy Toolbox, this initiative was developed by Year 7 and 8 literacy leaders at a Tasmanian secondary school to increase student agency and enhance teaching around a model of deprivatised or shared practice. The findings provide insight for education researchers and schools regarding the challenges and opportunities of attempts to enact personalised learning and co-teaching in the current context.

Keywords

Personalised learning Deprivatised practice Co-teaching Secondary education School–university partnerships 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This paper is an output of the Australian Research Council Grant “Improving Regional Low SES Students’ Learning and Wellbeing” [LP150100558, Prain, Waldrip, Tytler, Deed, Meyers, Blake, Muir, Farrelly, Mooney, Thomas, Swabey, with collaborator Anglicare Tasmania].

References

  1. Andrich, D. (2009). Review of the curriculum framework for curriculum, assessment and reporting purposes in Western Australian schools, with particular reference to years kindergarten to year 10. Retrieved from http://www.curriculum.wa.edu.au/internet/Publications/Reports/General_Reports.
  2. Archer, A. L., & Hughes, C. A. (2010). Explicit instruction: Effective and efficient teaching. New York, NY: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  3. Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority. (2017). NAPLAN achievement in reading, writing, language conventions and numeracy: National report for 2017. Sydney, NSW: ACARA.Google Scholar
  4. Bear, D. R., Invernizzi, M., Templeton, S., & Johnston, F. R. (2016). Words their way (6th ed.). Sydney, NSW: Pearson.Google Scholar
  5. Biesta, G., & Osberg, D. C. (2010). Complexity, education, and politics: From the inside-out and outside-in: An introduction. In D. C. Osberg & G. Biesta (Eds.), Complexity theory and the politics of education (pp. 1–5). Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense Publishers.Google Scholar
  6. Buysse, V., Sparkman, K., & Wesley, P. (2003). Communities of practice: Connecting what we know with what we do. Council for Exceptional Children, 69, 263–277.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Clarke, A. (2005). Situational analysis: Grounded theory after the postmodern turn. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Commonwealth of Australia. (2018). Through growth to achievement: The report of the review to achieve educational excellence in Australian schools. Retrieved from https://www.appa.asn.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/20180430-Through-Growth-to-Achievement_Text.pdf.
  9. Cope, B., & Kalantzis, M. (Eds.). (2000). Multiliteracies: Literacy learning and the design of social futures. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  10. Department of Education, Tasmania. (2016). Good teaching literacy 36. Retrieved from https://www.education.tas.gov.au/students/school-and-colleges/curriculum/good-teaching-guides/.
  11. Dilkes, J., Cunningham, C., & Gray, J. (2014). The new Australian curriculum, teachers and change fatigue. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 39(11), 45–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Duckworth, K., Akerman, R., MacGregor, A., Salter, E., & Vorhaus, J. (2009). Self regulated learning: A literature review. London: Centre for Research on the Wider Benefits of Learning.Google Scholar
  13. Elmore, R. F. (1996). Getting to scale with good educational practice. Harvard Educational Review, 66(1), 1–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Fawcett, M., & Watson, D. (2016). Learning through child observation (3rd ed.). London: Jessica Kingsley Publishing.Google Scholar
  15. Friend, M., & Cook, L. (2010). Interactions: Collaboration skills for school professionals (6th ed.). Columbus, OH: Merrill.Google Scholar
  16. Fullan, M. (2007). The new meaning of educational change (4th ed.). New York: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  17. Hargreaves, D. (2005). Personalising learning: Curriculum advice. London: Specialist Schools Trust.Google Scholar
  18. Hattie, J. A. C. (2015). Can Australian education become self-transforming? Australian Education Leader, 37(1), 8–12.Google Scholar
  19. Hayes, D., Hattam, R., Comber, B., Kerkham, L., Lupton, R., & Thomson, P. (2017). Literacy, leading and learning: Beyond pedagogies of poverty. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hunter, M. A., Aprill, A., Hill, A., & Emery, S. (2018). Education, arts and sustainability: Emerging practice for a changing world. Singapore: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Jensen, B. (2014). Making time for great teaching. Grattan Institute. Retrieved from https://grattan.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/808-making-time-for-great-teaching.pdf.
  22. Jensen, B., Sonnemann, J., Roberts-Hull, K., & Hunter, A. (2016). Beyond PD: Teacher professional learning in high-performing systems. Retrieved from http://www.ncee.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/BeyondPDWeb.pdf.
  23. Jones, M. G., Gardner, G. E., Robertson, L., & Robert, S. (2013). Science professional learning communities: Beyond a singular view of teacher professional development. International Journal of Science Education, 35, 1756–1774.  https://doi.org/10.1080/09500693.2013.791957.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Leadbetter, C. (2005). The shape of things to come: Personalised learning through collaboration. London: DfES.Google Scholar
  25. Little, J. W. (2003). Inside teacher community: Representations of classroom practice. Teachers College Record, 105(6), 913–945.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lo Bianco, J., & Freebody, P. (2001). Australian literacies: Informing national policy on literacy education (2nd ed.). Melbourne, Victoria: Language Australia Ltd.Google Scholar
  27. Love, K., Macken-Horarik, M., & Horarik, S. (2015). Language knowledge and its application: A snapshot of Australian teachers’ views. Australian Journal of Language and Literacy, 38(3), 171–182.Google Scholar
  28. Mackey, J., O’Reilly, N., Jansen, C., & Fletcher, J. (2017). Leading change to co-teaching in primary schools: A “Down Under” experience. Educational Review, 70(3), 1–21.Google Scholar
  29. Moje, E. B. (2007). Developing socially just subject-matter instruction: A review of the literature on disciplinary literacy. In N. L. Parker (Ed.), Review of research in education (pp. 1–44). Washington, DC: American Educational Research Association.Google Scholar
  30. Opfer, V. D., & Pedder, D. (2011). Conceptualizing teacher professional learning. Review of Educational Research, 81, 376–407.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Paludan, J. P. (2006). Personalised learning 2025. In Schooling for tomorrow: Personalising education. Paris, France: OECD Publishing.Google Scholar
  32. Prain, V., Blake, D., Deed, C., Edwards, M., Emery, S., Farrelly, C., Fingland, D., Henriksen, J., Lovejoy, V., Meyers, N., Mooney, A., Muir, T., Sbaglia, R., Swabey, K., Thomas, D. P., Tytler, R., Zitzlaff, T. (2018). Developing a framework for teacher support in personalising student learning of prescribed curricula. British Educational Research Journal.  https://doi.org/10.1002/berg.3481.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Prain, V., Cox, P., Deed, C., Dorman, J., Edwards, D., Farrelly, C., et al. (2014). Adapting to teaching and learning in open-plan schools. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Prain, V., Cox, P., Deed, C., Edwards, D., Farrelly, C., Keeffe, M., et al. (2015). Personalising learning in open-plan schools. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Prain, V., & Tytler, R. (2017). Simplistic advice for teachers on how to teach won’t work. Science Education News, 66(4), 47–48.Google Scholar
  36. Schildkamp, K., & Kuiper, W. (2010). Data-informed curriculum reform: Which data, what purposes, and promoting and hindering factors. Teaching and Teacher Education, 26(3), 482–496.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Sebba, J., Brown, N., Steward, S., Galton, M., James, M., Celetano, N., & Doddy, P. (2007). An investigation of personalised learning approaches used by schools. Research Report RR843. Annesley, NG: DfES.Google Scholar
  38. Slee, R. (2014). Evolving theories of student disengagement: a new job for Durkheim’s children? Oxford Review of Education, 40(4), 446–465.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Snyder, I. (2008). The literacy wars: Why teaching children to read and write is a battleground in Australia. Crows Nest, New South Wales: Allen & Unwin.Google Scholar
  40. Stockard, J. (2010). Promoting reading achievement and countering the “fourth-grade slump”: The impact of direct instruction on reading achievement in fifth grade. Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk, 15(3), 218–240.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Thomas, D. P. (2017). Using SFL to personalise learning in early childhood classrooms. In P. Chappell & J. S. Knox (Eds.), Papers from the 44 th International Systemic Functional Congress (pp. 67–74). Wollongong, New South Wales: The Organising Committee of the 44th International Systemic Functional Congress, Wollongong.Google Scholar
  42. Thomas, D. P. (2018). Embracing change when writing for change: My PhD Journey. In D. Kember & M. Corbett (Eds.), Structuring the thesis: Matching method, paradigm, theories and findings (pp. 207–216). Singapore: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Thompson, S. C., Gregg, L., & Niska, J. M. (2004). Professional learning communities, leadership, and student learning. Research in Middle Level Education Online, 28(1), 1–15.Google Scholar
  44. Thomson, S., De Bortoli, L., & Underwood, C. (2017). PISA 2015: Reporting Australia’s results. Melbourne, VIC: ACER.Google Scholar
  45. Timperley, H. (2011). Realizing the power of professional learning. Berkshire, UK: McGraw-Hill Education.Google Scholar
  46. Topfer, C., & Arendt, D. (2010). Guiding thinking for effective spelling. Carlton South, Victoria: Cengage.Google Scholar
  47. Tuinamuana, K. (2011). Teacher Professional Standards, accountability and ideology: Alternative discourses. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 36(12), 72–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Vangrieken, K., Meredith, C., Packer, T., & Kyndt, E. (2017). Teacher communities as a context for professional development: A systematic review. Teaching and Teacher Education, 61, 47–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Vescio, V., Ross, D., & Adams, A. (2008). A review of research on the impact of professional learning communities on teaching practice and student learning. Teaching and Teacher Education, 24(1), 80–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Australian Association for Research in Education, Inc. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Arts, Law and EducationUniversity of TasmaniaLauncestonAustralia
  2. 2.Faculty of Arts and EducationDeakin UniversityGeelongAustralia
  3. 3.Learning Services Northern Region, Department of Education, TasmaniaLauncestonAustralia
  4. 4.Kings Meadows High SchoolKings MeadowsAustralia

Personalised recommendations