Facing literacy issues in your multicultural school environment
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Facing Literacy Issues in YOUR Multicultural School Environment. Teaching strategies to help prepare Southern Rise Primary School students for secondary education. . By Lisa Clothier and Christina Phan. School Context. South-Western Sydney 635 students

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Facing Literacy Issues in YOUR Multicultural School Environment

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Facing Literacy Issues in YOUR Multicultural School Environment

Teaching strategies to help prepare Southern Rise Primary School students for secondary education.

By Lisa Clothier and Christina Phan

School Context

  • South-Western Sydney

  • 635 students

  • 94% Culturally and Linguistically Diverse

  • EAL/D

  • Index of Community Socio-Educational Advantage (ICSEA) value 949 –below national average of 1000

Existing Programs

Community Liaison Officer

Adult English literacy programs

Community language programs

There needs to be a focus on

Helping Stage 3 students acquire the literacy skills required for successful learning in the secondary school environment where they become more independent learners.

“an intellectually challenging curriculum may be described as one where students are afforded the opportunities to engage in higher order thinking, transform information, engage in inquiry-oriented activity, and construct their own understandings through participating in substantive conversations with others.”

(Gibbons, 2008)

Current Concerns

Lack of acknowledgement towards link between home and school literacies.

Guidance and facilitation for parental assistance towards students’ learning.

Programs need to be more inclusive of new influx of children from other language backgrounds besides the dominant backgrounds of that community

More acknowledgment of diversity within the classroom

Teaching Through ICT for the Multiliteracies Approach

“the term ‘multiliteracies approach’ is used to encompass the teaching and learning of the processes and textual practices associated with learning how to create a multimodal text in an electronic environment.”

(Zammit, 2011)

“the multimodality of digital information and communication technologies is eroding the absolute dominance of [the traditional form of schooling] … students of EAL might bring to the classroom epistemological preferences and capabilities from their digital and popular culture life-worlds that do not match those of more traditional forms of school literacy education.”

(Dooley, 2008)

Note: ICT tools can be effective, they should always be part of good pedagogy and tailored to student needs.

“Immigrant families identification with the values of pedagogies of mainstream schools is dependant on the schools’ sensitivity to and inclusion of the culturally defined pedagogies of migrant communities.”

(Markose, Symes &Helsten, 2011)


  • Online community for teachers, students, parents and other relevant identities

  • Sense of belonging

  • Share information and real tasks

  • Allow use of home languages for easier and more meaningful transferral of teaching




Apology to Australian Indigenous PeoplesWordle


A program which provides a blank canvas for design.


Wall based on Kevin Rudd’s ‘Sorry Speech’






Henry Parkes Resource Equity Centre


Sydney Region Equity


Sydney Region Primary ESL Teachers Wiki



Crossley, L. (1995)Explore Antarctica, Melbourne, Cambridge University Press

Dooley, K. (2008). Multiliteracies and pedagogies of New Learning for Students of English as an additional language. In Healy, A., Multiliteraciesand Diversity in Education. Oxford: Oxford University press (Chapter 5)

Gibbons, P. (2008). “It was taught good and I learned a lot”. Intercultural practices and ESL games in the middle years. Australian Journal of Language and Literacy, 31(2), 155-173.

Markose, S., Symes, C., & Hellsten, M. (2011). (in press) ‘In this country education happen at the home’: two families in search of the instruments of appropriation for school success. Language and Intercultural Communication, 11(3), 247-267.

NSW Department of Education and Training (2004)ESL Steps: ESL Curriculum Framework K–6, NSW DET, Sydney.

The Sydney Morning Herald. (2008). Kevin Rudd’s sorry speech. http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2008/02/13/1202760379056.html

Zammit, K. P. (2011). Connecting multiliteracies and engagement of students from low socio-economic backgrounds: using Berstein’s pedagogic discourse as a bridge. Language and Education, 25(3), 203-220.

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