What is the Big Picture for 21stC English teaching?

JeanC says: Obviously we need to take the generation gap between students and their teachers into account; this is really the first generation of truly digital learners and this is the key feature that needs to be taken into account in developing curriculum and especially in designing activities and tasks to engage them and selecting appropriate resources to support the teaching and learning. What research articles and helpful hints can you glean from the Web to offer your colleagues under the following headings? Just click in the relevant space and add your own annotated links and comments and questions. Remember to put your name before your contribution eg JeanC suggests/says/asks... and to click SAVE and log out afterwards.
  • New tools and toys for English and literacy development raise implications as to how ICT will be integrated into the English curriculum.
    See the Toolbox page in this wiki which is developing some lists of these.And case studies of ICT in use in classrooms are really useful to investigate, such as this one from the Apple Educators network

  • Shifting role of the teacher from "sage on the stage" to something more like co-learner-mentor or learning facilitator.
    • This is most clearly seen in experimental schools,such as the Australian Science & Mathematics School, based nearby on the Flinders campus, where ICT is everywhere in the classroom; teachers are called by their first names, working in open space interdisciplinary learning in integrated teams.
    • IB schools and Steiner and Montessori schools are also exploring alternative pathways to the SACE, based on international models of accreditation. Organisations such as the Khan Academy and universities involved in MOOCS are setting up their own huge educational networks online, where students can [[#|choose]] their own learning activities and work with teachers and community mentors worldwide. It is worth considering the relevance of this TedTalk about Maths for how we use texts and instruction in English: http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_meyer_math_curriculum_makeover.html

  • “If you can crack the problem of engagement, not just ‘are you paying attention?’, but ‘are you fascinated by this?’, then you’ve cracked 21st century schooling.’ Mike Berrill, Executive Principal, Biddenham International School. from http://www.decd.sa.gov.au/aboutdept/files/links/RD_ARD_day_11_May_12.pdf

  • Community expectations about learning outcomes from English at senior school level and for entry to the workforce? Articles in the media and national educational research reports provide ongoing updates as to the latest thinking. What responsibility and potential does the English teacher have for sustaining and monitoring young people’s language development across the curriculum? *See the separate wiki page for this and add your comments and questions.

  • What R&D for “the English teacher” is available to support us? eg in Aust Curric, TeFL, UbD? The employing bodies such as DECD, Independent Schools Board and Catholic Education Office offer PD each year, and many schools engage in action research, some in conjunction with uni researchers. Teacher organisations such as CEASA, SAETA, ESLTA and AATE should also be active in supporting us in our work in middle schooling. Here is the link to South Australian English Teachers Association: http://www.saeta.org.au/. Jean can provide a login to explore their resources if you email her.

How do we begin grappling with curriculum frameworks in SA schools?

The Australian Curriculum for years 6-10 is the key area you need to explore from the links below. The preamble to the total framework is also important because it situates English as a subject area in the bigger picture of education and life beyond. Notice the reference here to General Capabilities and the Cross-culrriculum perspectives that you need to build in to curriculum planning for English. These are part of the holistic intent of education to build informed global citizens and to acknowledge the importance of rich cultural perspectives within a multicultural country like Australia.

Below is an extract from the English segment to stimulate some thinking about why we teach a subject called English to students who already know "English" as their home language:

The study of English is central to the learning and development of all young Australians. It helps create confident communicators, imaginative thinkers and informed citizens. It is through the study of English that individuals learn to analyse, understand, communicate with and build relationships with others and with the world around them. The study of English helps young people develop the knowledge and skills needed for education, training and the workplace. It helps them become ethical, thoughtful, informed and active members of society. In this light it is clear that the Australian Curriculum: English plays an important part in developing the understanding, attitudes and capabilities of those who will take responsibility for Australia’s future.> Reference: Australian Curriculum: http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/English/Rationale

JeanC provides a range of links and more questions below to help with exploring this topic

What are the implications of the following curriculum frameworks in use?

Can you borrow curriculum plans from colleagues who are currently teaching in relevant curriculum-focus areas?

  • Flinders University Library online journals: http://www.lib.flinders.edu.au/ will offermany useful resources if you use the most precise keywords in your search.
  • Blogs by professionals in education may also provide links to expertise and resources around curriculum planning. In fact, the Dean of Education at Flinders has his own blog on curriculum leadership. Add more links below:
    • David Giles blog indicates a strengthening link between Flinders and IB schooling, for example.

What are the issues in transition for English from primary to secondary schooling?

In April 2013 DECD released a new Literacy and Numeracy strategy that poses challenges for all teachers, but English and Maths teachers in particular in mapping and monitoring progress against expected gains:

So far we have trained 400 school based facilitators for Literacy for Learning and 1600 teachers are currently doing it through a school-based course with these facilitators (upper primary and lower secondary). It is aligned to the AusCurriculum and by far the best course for your student teachers. Unfortunately, they can only do it at a school where it is being run by a school-based facilitator. Let me know if you need any contacts for it. See the relevant page on the DECD website http://www.decd.sa.gov.au/literacy

Jean also asks: What responsibility and potential does the English teacher have for sustaining and monitoring young people’s language development across the curriculum? *See the separate wiki page for this and add your comments and questions.
  • International Baccalaureat Middle Years Program (IB MYP) is an alternative pathway into senior school being offered in quite a few schools, such as
    Here is a link exploring connections between Australian Curriculum and the IB

  • What opportunities and challenges are posed by integrated/interdisciplinary curriculum in middle schooling eg Open Access College; Australian Science & Mathematics School ... and you can add other schools to look at with your own comments on the structure and implications.

  • What R&D for “the English teacher” is available to support us? eg in Aust Curric, TeFL, UbD?

Why use Understanding by Design to plan units of work?

Look at its implications and add your comments and exemplars in regard to
  • Conceptual understandings that English should develop including those relating to the development of personal Capabilities such as Identity and Citizenship
  • Transferable skills (including research skills and organisational skills) and mapping these across year level progress
  • Scope at each year level
  • Sequencing of activities so that there is a logical flow and scaffolded building process towards final assignments
  • Content worthiness and resources, in terms of interest, reading levels, intellectual challenge and depth, cultural range...
  • Assessment appropriateness in terms of range, differentiation, performance indicators

Lauren T says: I was unsure as to where to put this section, I have recently started my 4th year practicum and been discussing some things with other prac teachers and teachers that have just started out and have been able to grab a few resources they have used and recommend. I thought I would share these with the rest of you.
  • This is a Blog written by a Middle School Teacher, although this is not from Australia some of the websites listed within this blog are helpful, and not just for English these could also be used for other subject areas.http://www.edutopia.org/blog/middle-school-resources-elena-aguilar
  • This is an amazing website and I would recommend everyone to join it, it helps student teachers and graduating teachers with unit plans etc. It could help you build your resources.http://www.tes.co.uk/

Brionie Zilm says:
I wasn't sure if this is the most appropriate place to insert information about the Premiers Reading Challenge. However, I think it can be included while we plan for our students within the curriculum, or maybe just as an extra challenge for our students.

Premiers Reading Challenge
We all hear about the Premiers Reading Challenge, but I never understood what it entitled so I thought I would share my findings and thoughts.
The South Australian Premiers Reading Challenge was introduced in 2004. It was developed for two main reasons:
  1. Encourage students to read more books and enjoy reading
  2. Improve literacy levels
The challenge asks students to read 12 books from the beginning of the school year until early September.
For every level the students complete they receive a certificate. As the site states there are no rewards for reading the most books read, but you could challenge your classmates.
This would be an excellent idea to place in your classroom as an English teacher. This would encourage students to read books. You could suggest that they could read books on their iPad to make it more technologically engaging. The website links to cross curricular priorities for teachers which develops and includes:
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and culture
- Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia, &
- Sustainability.
The website contains a link for students to see their name in the hall of fame, as well as giving them a chance to rate a suggest books for other students to read.
The website contains a ‘book list’ in which students can look through a variety of genres and can an insight to what the book is about.
By having these resources at the teachers and students fingertips, it makes it easy for teachers to join and for students to participate. Although this activity may not be included in the curriculum, the Premiers Reading Challenge would be an excellent way to get students talking about books and reading. Teachers could create in class competitions to strive students to read a variety of books. Maybe an award could be a book of the student’s choice.
I’d suggest that everyone has a quick browse through the website to see how simple and easy it could be to implicate one day in your own class.
The link is http://www.premiersreadingchallenge.sa.edu.au/prc/pages/books/RateaRead2013/
The Herald Sun also had an article on the 24th of March (http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/parents-being-encouraged-to-embrace-premiers-reading-challenge/story-e6frf7jo-1226604141010) stating that 1 in 4 South Australian parents of children aged 6-12 months reads for no longer than an hour a week. The Premiers Reading Challenge now allows for both parents and teachers to submit online of books for both adults and children.
I believe it is important to get parents involved with their child’s reading. I do understand that in today’s society, majority families have 2 working parents, however, taking just 15 minutes to read before the child goes to bed can help develop their literacy skills, as well as form a bond with their parent. Could teachers also form a bond with their students through individual or whole group reading?
I hope this entry helps other students develop the idea of the Premiers Reading Challenge and hopefully encourages them to include it as a part of their classroom activities.

Ben Lodge says:

Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) is a fundamental learning to being successful in the modern technological society.
We must ensure that students are ICT literate and are always developing new and up to date skills.
We must successfully integrate ICT into both the English curriculum and English pedagogical practice to ensure the life long learning of ICT for students.
As you can see in the mind map to the right, there are many positive outcomes for integrating ICT into the English classroom.

The following quote comes from the English Teachers Association of NSW:
Link – ICTs in English
“ICT is a valuable tool to enhance teaching and learning. For teachers ICT is a professional resource, a mode of classroom delivery, and a source of valid and valuable text types. For students, ICT provides opportunities to communicate more effectively and to develop literacy skills including skills in critical literacy. It is a valuable tool for researching, composing and responding, and viewing and representing in English.”

Acara – ICT in English
The above link is the Australian Curriculum's perception on the use of ICT in English. It is an expectation that a large amount of ICT use will be in the English curriculum.

Below are ACARA's views on ICT and the outcome of critical and creative thinking:
Critical and creative thinking are essential to developing understanding in English. Students employ critical and creative thinking assisted by ICT through:
  • Discussions
  • analysis of texts
  • written, visual and multimodal
  • texts that require logic, imagination and innovation
Students use creative thinking when they imagine possibilities, plan, explore and create ideas and texts.Through listening, reading, viewing, creating and presenting texts and interacting with others, students develop their ability to see existing situations in new ways, and explore the creative possibilities of the English language. In discussion students develop critical thinking as they state and justify a point of view and respond to the views of others. Through reading, viewing and listening students critically analyse the opinions, points of view and unstated assumptions embedded in texts.The following diagram shows the use of ICT in the classroom. It show the effectiveness, satisfaction, efficiency and motivation gained from using ICT in the English Classroom.


Motivation is a key result of implementing ICT into the classroom. We know that students will love using ICT, but we need to be careful not to overload students or to use ICT just for the sake of it or as a fill inlesson. We need to always be learning and using new skills and tools. One great tool that you can use in the English class is a blog. Blogsare a great tool to use. They create a 24/7 learning environment for students and are a great tool for sharing resource. See the picture attached for the several advantages of using a blog. Another great positive is that you can monitor students’ involvement and use for assessment.


These outcomes are achieved very effectively through the use of ICT. To achieve all of the outcomes above we need to be smart about how we use ICT and make sure that there is necessary supervision and instruction involved. Students can often get off task, especially when using the internet so it is important that there are guidelines to using the internet at schools. Most schools will have a form that needs to be signed by the students' parents before the students can use the internet and all students must read a code of conduct. Once all these are in place, then you have a great resource available to you!

Tamsin Hillier says: During Prac this year I have been placed in an IB school. Prior to this I had limited exposure to what an IB entailed and what the differences from a mainstream school were. I have gained some really useful resources from my English Prac teacher on designing a unit of English with an IB focus. He described IB as the way we teach and ACARA as the guidelines of what we teach. At the school they use IB and ACARA together to help them plan their unit of work. There is also a sheet on how to plan a semesters worth of work, which I was yet to see prior to this. I hope these help, I know they helped me a lot, he also mentioned to get familiar with the term TFEL, Which is teaching for effective learning.

I hoping this gives everyone the basic idea of IB schools and how the assessment component is conducted compared to mainstream schools.

Chloe H says,
Curriculum Planning, Higher Order Thinking: Bloom’s Taxonomy

Bloom’s Taxonomy is an educational pedagogy for teachers that describe the relationship between student’s levels of knowledge. These areas are focused on the factual, conceptual, procedural and met cognitive development of students. Bloom’s Taxonomy classifies the different objectives that education sets for students. The taxonomy is divided into three major sections that include two smaller sections for teachers to focus on in the classroom. These classifications include, Cognitive (mental skills), affective (growth in feelings and emotions) and psychomotor (manual and physical skills). The design of the triangle that is the layout for Bloom’s Taxonomy can be seen using the link:
Google Images, Mr. Bright Box, Bloom’smybrightbox.co.za

The diagram focuses on areas of that allow students to focus their learning areas on and develop their skillsin domains as,

- Cognitive, which revolves around critical thinkingon particular topics

- Knowledge, shows them memory from previously learnt knowledge and materials such as terminology, dealing with specific topics, principals and generalisations

- Comprehension, the understanding of facts, ideas, argueing ideas and translating, interpreting and describing language

- Application, the ability to solve problems and consider arguements and conclusions

- Analysis, the breaking of information apart and using knowledge and evidence to solve equations and create answers

- Synthesis, the ability to compile information and coherently organise it

- Evaluation, putting into practice the ability to defend opinions and consider different areas, methods and options of knowledge that is given to you

It is important especially for pre-service teachers to be aware of the different pedagogies and areas of effective learning that is required to meet the needs of our students in the classroom. When creating lesson plans, planning units and developing student’s skills it is considered important for teachers to create a learning environment that encourages higher order thinking for their students in order to develop their numeracy and literacy skills. Instead of simply remembering knowledge and regurgitating it in the classroom, Bloom’s Taxonomy asks students to know, comprehend, apply, analyse, synthesis and evaluate the knowledge that they have learnt. This makes students fully become aware of the knowledge that they are being given and apply it into daily life activities. That way student’s discourses are being developed and can be applied within the social community.
It is up to teachers to apply educational pedagogies in the classroom that develops and reaches the learning needs and abilities of their students. This can be developed from a range of different educational pedagogies whether from Bloom or Vygostky the most important part is for teachers to know about these pedagogies and know how to apply them in a direct and enriching learning environment for their students.
Bloom’s Taxonomy is a great teaching pedagogy that should be a focus in the classroom to read a higher order thinking for students.