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From a local to international client base. . A story outlining the development of the first year of The literacy project at Canning College, Bentley, WA. Erica, the narrator. Preamble. At the end of 2008, literacy identified as a Canning College priority.

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from a local to international client base

From a local to international client base.

A story outlining the development of the first year of The literacy project at Canning College, Bentley, WA.


the narrator

  • At the end of 2008, literacy identified as a Canning College priority.
  • Literacy Priority Committee established *.
  • “The literacy priority committee will require teacher representation from across College curriculum areas.”
  • (Each College Learning Area (LA) and is represented as is Management.)
  • Two BROAD FOCUS AREAS for the Literacy Priority Committee in 2009:
  • Teaching and learning
  • College processes and structures that affect the placement, transition and achievement of students in the areas of literacy and language acquisition.
  • 0.6 job advertised for adult literacy specialist.

MODEL : AT JOB INTERVIEW 4. Referral system(for severely ‘at risk’ students)

3. Workshop series (week 6 +)

(for both remediation and extension.

2 Six week, academic skills workshop


1 ORIENTATION program for students*

(including academic and library skills workshops)

What do I need to know?

What do I already know?

What don’t I know? Where/how can I find/develop the

knowledge and skills I need? (Where to next?)

* Run by Library, and literacy specialists.


1 Orientation

    • 2 – 3 hour session for all students – run by literacy specialists
    • choice of many session days and times (continuing into weeks 2 or 3)
    • separate sessions designed and delivered for first language English speakers and those for whom English is not their first language
    • diagnostic tasks included (eg: reading for main idea, writing sentences/paragraphs…..)
    • self assessment options with ‘Where to next?’ options (on-line and workshops)
    • student academic handbook
    • some sort of passport/stamp… to show student has attended sessions
3. Workshops – to further develop academic skills (from weeks 1-6) and to improve literacy

Remediation (term 1)

Extension (term 2)

4. Literacy referrals – for severely at risk students (identified after first assessment tasks)

A referred student is managed by a team comprising:

Literacy Project Manager

All that student’s lecturers

Psychologists (where appropriate)

the introduction
The introduction
  • Yes, I have set up and run things for students:
  • orientation sessions (beginning of 2009),
  • workshop series (weeks 1-6),
  • Power learning website on StudentNet,
  • established “English speaking zones” throughout the College and
  • referral system* (pp.4,5 on pink handout)
  • (* more about this later)
but between early december 2008 and late january 2009 i changed my focus
but, between early December, 2008 and late January, 2009, I changed my focus.
  • ….and so, by the beginning of February, this story, involving all College staff, began.
staff a peer mentoring and modelling good practice existing models mentors identified
Staff :A) Peer mentoring and modelling good practice (existing models/mentors identified)
  • Some topics covered to date:
  • topic/task analysis (to also help students) (me),
  • how to design and write documents/resources to enhance their readability (me),
  • encouraging student participation inclass discussion (Social Science),
  • creating glossaries for students (Maths),
creating annotated answers using tools on the computer,

using rubrics effectively (Science),

Nings and other things (English),

modifying set content to better suit learner needs (Computing),

effective preparation and practice for setting research assignments (Library) and

ESL strategies in mainstream classes


These sessions were part of each general staff meeting during terms 1 and 2 (semester 1) and are available on StaffNet.

and between these whole staff pd sessions
..and between these whole staff PD sessions…
  • I mentored staff one: one or in small groups.
  • They then mentored and shared work in progress with others.
  • The mentoring network was expanding and getting stronger.
  • Staff were gaining confidence re their literacy skills.
b professional development pd needs analysis survey preparation for future orientations embedded
B) Professional development (PD) needs analysis survey(preparation for future orientations – embedded)
  • Versions for teaching and non-teaching staff (need to all be on ‘same page’).
  • Aim to build staff literacy skills to help day to day and to prepare for orientation 2010.
  • (pp.1,2 on pink handout)
b professional development pd needs analysis survey
B) Professional development (PD) needs analysis survey
  • Informed:
  • PD program (at staff meetings) for semester 2 (terms 3 & 4)
  • Programfor ‘Lens on literacy’ mini conference, at the College, on 12 Oct, 2009.
so have i lost the plot
So, have I lost the plot?
  • Didn’t I say that this was about International students?
  • Have I confused literacy and language?
i spoke to students too
I spoke to students too.
  • They identified barriers to their success.
  • Yes, language is a major issue.
  • However:
  • a) inconsistent/inappropriate teaching practices,
  • b) poorly designed and written resources,
  • c) inappropriate/difficult texts etc
  • create extra barriers to learning.
  • (LA discourses/sets of literacies).
and b) being addressed, to a degree, by PD and mentoring

All LAs:

making better informed choices about texts and their readability

redesigning print and on-line documents

Library is:

purchasing a range of texts (for subjects) with easier to harder options

redesigning on-line resources

using virtual tours and Ipod downloads more

(students can do/redo in own time – not tied to classes or workshops)

preparation for 2010 some
Preparation for 2010 (some)
  • Flying Start orientation survey (semester 2) (p.3 on pink handout) (Inform/plan)
  • Focus on entry testing for all programs
  • (international and local) – some changes needed
  • Student transition between programs reviewed
  • Counselling and advising of students
  • student placement more appropriate → fewer ‘at risk’ students
the model now 1 at enrolment
The model now: 1. At enrolment
  • Diagnostic tasks, eg:
  • - reading for the main idea
  • - paragraph structure
  • - using a library data base
  • Answers given for student self-evaluation
  • If can’t do/need help – Where to next?
  • Some print resources in back of diagnostic booklet, most on-line (interactive sites)
2 before classes start and during first few weeks
2. Before classes start(and during first few weeks)
  • Academic orientation program in addition to usual College orientation sessions
  • Academic skills
  • Library and
  • Confidence building workshops
  • BUT… the students who need this most probably won’t self diagnose
3 embedded la programs
3. Embedded, LA programs
  • First 4 - 6 weeks of term in every class
  • All teaching staff involved
  • Key skills/knowledge focus (currently being trialled and discussed)
  • Each course has ‘Course booklet’*(a reference text) to aid transition
  • *Common content, layout (Q & A, columns…) and format to enhance student navigation and comprehension.
  • (Much discussion has occurred here.)
4 review of student progress week 6
4. Review of student progress – week 6
  • 5.Remediation offered weeks 7+
  • individual teachers
  • workshops (based on identified needs)
  • 6. Referral system
the end
The end?
  • This project is a ‘work in progress’
  • 2010 will see changes and modifications
  • Staff empowerment and collaboration will continue
  • More focus will be on groups of students who are at risk (What is happening in these programs? What can be done to address common issues?)
  • The referral system (for individuals) will continue