Inclusive Principles and Practices in Literacy Education: Volume 11

Cover of Inclusive Principles and Practices in Literacy Education

Table of contents

(17 chapters)

Prelims

Pages i-xvi
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Part I Literacy, Inclusion and Access to the Curriculum: International Insights

Abstract

This chapter addresses the concept of Literacy for all under a broadened view of inclusion in education. Definitions of inclusion, literacy and inclusive literacy are provided prior to consideration of some of the issues associated with developing and improving the literacy of every student in regular classroom contexts. It presents a brief overview of theory and international research, and as an example, provides some insights into current educational policies, practices and provision in Australia in relation to literacy education.

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Changes in digital communication technologies have impacted on society so rapidly that educational researchers, policy makers and teachers are challenged by the application of these changes for curriculum design, pedagogy and assessment. The multimedia facilities of digital technologies, particularly mobile hand held devices and touch pads, encourage the processing of several modes simultaneously. Thus the traditional concept of literacy as reading and writing has changed as these rarely occur in isolation within digital communication. Many students are engaged in more sophisticated use of technologies outside school than they experience at school. Moreover, participation in gaming and social networking has created significant social and cultural change.

At the same time there have been many initiatives in classrooms to adapt to the learning potential of new technologies with schools introducing laptops, iPads, or students’ own devices. While issues such as pedagogy and equity offer challenges there are new and exciting ways forward for literacy education in an inclusive learning environment. This chapter will examine attempts to re-define literacy with theories such as ‘multiliteracies’, ‘multimodality’ and ‘new literacies’. These have developed to explain the changes in communication and to offer educators ways to balance the incorporation of new modes of communication with those skills of reading and writing that are seen as core for a literate person.

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Abstract

Being numerate involves the ability to use mathematical knowledge meaningfully across multiple contexts allowing us to order our day, optimise our health and well-being, and function in technology rich environments. Addressing numeracy from the early years of learning, and across all areas of the education curriculum, is key to lifelong learning and quality of life. Being numerate, however, is more than mathematical knowledge; the language that underpins it heavily impacts how we become numerate. This chapter examines numeracy, or mathematical literacy, investigating how literacy can include, and exclude, students from opportunities to learn at school and beyond. This chapter will also examine how numeracy can be used to provide access to educational curricula and personalised goals for students with diverse learning needs in ways that many have ignored.

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While national policies generally support the development of inclusive learning environments, schools can struggle to implement these policies in practice. This longitudinal study offers a unique opportunity to examine at ground level the strengths and limitations of school attempts to implement inclusive practices in relation to children and young people who have special educational needs. This chapter will address the following: government and school policies addressing provision for children and young people with special educational needs; school leaders and implementing policies in practice; types of support provision developed to support those who have literacy difficulties.

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Large-Scale Assessments in Germany have shown that language-minority students as well as students with special educational needs (SEN) perform significantly less well than language-majority students or students without SEN. This performance gap may be related to a limited accessibility of the tests. One way to test whether assessments allow all students to demonstrate their knowledge in a comparable way is the analysis of differential item functioning (DIF). In this chapter, we evaluate DIF coefficients in order to examine group-specific difficulties in reading comprehension for language-minority students and students with SEN in the German National Educational Assessment.

In the first study, we investigate the assessment of reading literacy of language-minority learners and German monolinguals from low-SES families. We found only a few items with moderate DIF and no items with large DIF. This indicates that the reading assessment was equally valid for second-language learners and German monolingual students.

In our second study, we report about the psychometrically successful development of easy and more accessible reading tasks for students with SEN. Further analyses showed that DIF predominantly occurred in items that captured contents that are not necessarily covered in literacy instruction targeted at students with SEN.

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This chapter employs multiple frameworks to establish the need for and the promise of culturally inclusive science literacy strategies for urban United States contexts. Relevant frameworks for inclusive science education include (but are not limited to) science literacy by discourse norms found in Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and National Research Council (NRC) reform documents and Culturally Responsive Pedagogy. Science education research has demonstrated that traditional notions of literacy have historically led to exclusion of diversity among successful science students. In part, an assessment driven narrow representation of science in schools has led to a growing opportunity gap for children of colour, particularly in urban settings in the United States. Culturally based best practices in teaching science literacy can aid in the achievement of underrepresented science students as research continues to demonstrate the need for culturally relevant curriculum materials which recognise diverse cultural perspectives and contributions in science.

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Literacy instruction for children with a disability is not highlighted as a priority in South Africa. This can be attributed to numerous reasons, amongst others: the focus on care of children with disability to the detriment of learning; the high number of children with disabilities who are currently out of school; the gradual change and movement towards inclusion despite policies being in place, poorly qualified teachers with limited knowledge regarding best teaching practices and limited experience of teachers in teaching functional literacy. However, the National Department of Education is attempting to address these factors by, for example introducing a compulsory year of schooling before Grade 1 commences (Grade R), developing work books for all learners in the foundation phase and making them available across the country as well as introducing a new national curriculum – Curriculum Assessment Policy Statement CAPS – with a stronger emphasis on literacy.

In this chapter I will briefly provide a contextual background to the South African context; then provide a short discussion of the challenges faced in this context and finally focus on the best practices that have some evidence in this context.

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Part II Improving Student Literacy with Vulnerable Cohorts

Abstract

In this chapter we begin by discussing the concept of inclusion, with a particular focus on inclusion in literacy learning in the early years (birth to five) in Australia. We then consider the research evidence for the potential impact of home literacy practices in the early years on later school and life outcomes, and examine some early childhood family literacy initiatives that aim to help develop young children’s literacy learning. We describe how Better Beginnings, a universal family literacy programme, supports parents/carers and children to build their skills, knowledge and understandings of early literacy. We show how Better Beginnings has operated, adapted and expanded in response to longitudinal systematic evaluations and explain how new programmes have been created to address the specific needs of particular groups of families, with the long-term intent of maximising inclusion for all families of young children in Western Australia. We identify aspects of inclusion, through which diversity is constructed as the norm rather than the exception. We conclude by suggesting that establishing connections between family literacy practices and school literacy programmes which embrace inclusivity is one of the first steps towards ensuring that all children are able to reach their potential and become active participants in a literate society.

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In the United States, a significant number of primary grade students struggle to achieve fluency in reading. Research indicates that achieving proficiency in the foundational reading competencies is a common difficulty manifested in a majority of these students. We will explore approaches for helping younger students develop proficiency in word recognition, reading fluency, and ultimately comprehension. A number of the research-based strategies can be used with the whole class which creates a context for inclusive literacy education.

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This chapter explores how the creation of multimodal texts using digital technologies, including mobile devices, augmented reality and the World Wide Web can engage, support and reposition primary school-aged literacy learners who have diverse needs. There is emphasis on how the creation of such texts can assist literacy learners in attaining reading comprehension, fluency and motivation.

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This chapter explores inclusive approaches to reading instruction for Australian Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children. Drawing from the literature on effective reading instruction, culturally appropriate instructional practices, and the authors’ research on reading interventions in remote communities in Australia we assert that to be inclusive you must provide a learning environment that supports all students to learn. Further, that the approaches used in this learning environment should be evidence-based.

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This chapter narrows the focus of inclusive practices and principles in literacy education to find the role that science, combined with literature can play in helping children of all abilities. Through the use of implicit and explicit language with active, social, hands-on inquiry related to science concepts and procedures children can construct new knowledge that leads to a firmer understanding of the world in which they live. The chapter demonstrates how children of all backgrounds and needs can work with others through their own investigations, and the guidance of an educator to develop, implement and present findings of scientific investigations that also develop literacy skills. The chapter also addresses the professional responsibility of educators to acknowledge and respect individual curiosity, growth, culture and diversity to plan thoughtfully, to use science language that is acceptable and understandable for children of different abilities and enhance scientific knowledge and literacy through the use of literature that evokes the sense of wonder within the children.

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In this chapter, an overview is presented, related to complexities around transition to junior secondary schools for students who have experienced literacy difficulties in their primary school years. The personal and social consequences of ongoing literacy difficulties for those students is examined and the barriers to participation and engagement are identified. Then, current approaches to literacy teaching and learning in adolescence are considered, including specific references to personalised learning, strengths-based approaches differentiation and use of technology.

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The findings of this small-scale research project illustrate some of the challenges inherent in implementing an inclusive literacy approach (reciprocal teaching) across the curriculum in a secondary school. We gathered the perceptions of staff and students on the implementation of this literacy initiative and used these to reflect on the multiple and complex factors at play in this situation. The key findings that emerged from the research were, first, the influence of factors external to the school, particularly the focus on examination results produced by the dominance of the ‘standards agenda’ in English schools. Second, the importance of strong leadership in convincing staff of the need for this type of whole-school literacy approach and in creating a sense of shared purpose in its use. Finally, the need for sufficient training and on-going support for staff, so that they understand the theory and methods of the chosen approach and are confident in their pedagogical skills in delivering this to students.

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This chapter begins by identifying some of the difficulties experienced by students who speak English as an additional language or dialect (EAL/D), then discusses theories and research-based strategies for teaching. The implications for teachers in regular classes in primary and secondary schools include recognising the academic language demands of the subject and the texts, including abstract concepts, technical terms, genres and grammar. Further, understanding the literacy and language skills the students bring to the classroom and which strategies can be employed to assist student learning. Research and teaching strategies used internationally and Australian policies, curriculum documents and the Australian school context are discussed.

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Index

Pages 267-272
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Cover of Inclusive Principles and Practices in Literacy Education
DOI
10.1108/S1479-3636201711
Publication date
2017-07-07
Book series
International Perspectives on Inclusive Education
Editor
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
ISBN
978-1-78714-590-0
eISBN
978-1-78714-589-4
Book series ISSN
1479-3636