With regards to literacy, what questions should we ask every teacher?
I started off writing this blog, to provide thoughtful questions for new teachers entering the classroom this year. However, on reflection, the following questions are applicable for every teacher who works with students in any school.
Demonstrate good subject and curriculum knowledge … and an understanding of and take responsibility for promoting high standards of literacy, articulacy and the correct use of standard English, whatever the teacher’s specialist subject. If teaching early reading, demonstrate a clear understanding of systematic synthetic phonics.” (Teachers’ Standards)
These questions are written for readers to ask of themselves:
- Why is literacy central to teaching?
- Why could learning and literacy be considered very closely related?
- Why is learning, which takes no account of literacy, never going to be better than poor teaching?
- What role can language play in the development of children’s learning?
- Why might specialist language be critical to securing a teacher’s long-term subject confidence?
- How could literacy link to your subject?
- How well do you know your students’ literacy levels/reading ages?
- Is there an expectation that every child has a reading book?
- Is there an expectation that every teacher shares ‘what I’m reading?’ with their students?
- What opportunities do you give for extended pieces of writing in your subject?
- Do you model written answers with your students? When and how do you do this?
- Which aspects of writing help your students to be clear communicators?
- How might classroom displays support literacy?
- How might visual images improve students’ writing?
- What obstacles to teaching reading, writing, speaking and listening in your subject, do students face?
- Why is it critical to a student’s self-esteem, that they are protected from failing, particularly if they are reluctant learners?
- If students are reluctant, at what point should the teacher step back?
- How could you encourage students to take inspiration from great writers?
- How should assessment in your subject link to literacy? What do you currently do? What’s missing?
- As a teacher, what are your own literacy areas for development?
We are all teachers of literacy.