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The Foundation for Learning and Literacy has collaborated with the Australian Literacy Educators’ Association, the Primary English Teachers Association Australia, and the Australian Council of TESOL Associations to bring our combined membership, friends, and broader audiences this series of videos that create a space for professional conversations between teachers, school leaders and researchers.  Each video demonstrates the high levels of professionalism of our teachers and their commitment to draw on contemporary, valid, rigorously conducted and school-tested research to inform their judgements when targeting their teaching to support all children and young people they work with.  The important partnership between those in the classroom and those conducting and drawing together the research is highlighted. 

Episode 1

Australian Literacy Educators Association (ALEA)

Title: Inquiry into teaching spelling

Background: Two teachers at Unley Primary School researched a meaning-based approach to teaching spelling through structured inquiry informed by the work of Peter Bowers, Christine Topfer and Misty Adoniou. The evidence-based approach to teaching spelling has now been adopted across the whole school through a process of practitioner inquiry and sharing good practice. 

Researcher mentor: Dr Jill Colton, University of South Australia

Teacher researchers: Amy Reid and Tam Jarowyj, Unley Primary School 

Guest Researcher: Lyn Wilkinson, Flinders University (retired) 

Episode 2

Foundation for Learning and Literacy (FFLL)

Title: Teaching Writing- High Expectations in the Early Years Classroom

Part 1- Leading Change

Part 2- Implementing Change - The work in the classroom

Background: Associate Professor Misty Adoniou has been working with teachers and leaders at Strathmore North Primary School in Melbourne for 3 years around a focus on improving student’s writing. In these two videos she firstly chats with Assistant Principal Clare Spillane about the strategic planning the leadership team has undertaken to manage the change and improvement process each year and how the staff have been supported and empowered through targeted professional learning and year level PLCs to collaboratively work with new strategies.

In the second video, Misty chats with classroom teacher Emily Dropuljic about the shifts in student writing outcomes that have been achieved using high expectation, high support strategies and quality literature. 

Researcher: Associate Professor Misty Adoniou - Adjunct, University of Canberra, Principal Fellow, Melbourne Graduate School of Education

Teacher: Emily Dropuljic

School Leader: Clare Spillane

Part 1 - Leading Change 

Part 2 - Implementing Change - The work in the classroom

The following FFLL resources on Writing support the conversations in these videos:

Episode 3

Primary English Teaching Association Australia (PETAA)

Title: Literacy for climate change science

Background: What happens when you focus as much on the language, as the science of climate change? In this interview, year 6/7 teachers, Michael Cannavan and Louise Kelly talk about working with PETAA researchers to teach students the technical language needed to explain the enhanced greenhouse effect. Understanding the greenhouse effect and how human activity contributes to the enhanced greenhouse effect, is central to understanding climate change. Louise and Michael discuss how they strategically develop the language students need to talk and write about what’s happening in the atmosphere and how that’s warming our planet. The discussion highlights the language and literacy demands of the primary science curriculum.

Researcher mentors: Ms Julie Hayes and Dr Bronwyn Parkin PETAA

Teacher researchers: Michael Cannavan and Louise Kelly, Cowandilla Primary School

The following is an FFLL resource linked to this conversation:

Episode 4

Australian Council of TESOL Associations (ACTA)

Title: Learning through languages: Plurilingual pedagogy in the English classroom

Background:  The research project developed resources and a professional learning program in order to create capacity for primary school teachers to implement the plurilingual strand of the new EAL curriculum in Victoria. The resources and professional learning were designed to align with the English curriculum. The project supported the learning of a range of students in diverse classrooms ‒ including EAL students and students proficient in English. The approach taken also supported teachers’ and students’ use of digital technologies and literacies. The professional experience teachers brought from different teaching and learning contexts was invaluable in making this initiative a success. In the project, student and teacher engagement was investigated through lesson documentation, teachers’ written reflections, group discussions, students’ work samples and interviews. The project was funded by the Department of Education and Training, Victoria.

Research Team: Dr Marianne Turner, Dr. Anne Keary and Dr. Katrina Tour

Teachers: Michelle Andrews, Dan Thomas, Ryoki Fukaya and Hien Webb