Inside the Literacy Hour: Learning from Classroom Experience

Inside the Literacy Hour: Learning from Classroom Experience

Inside the Literacy Hour: Learning from Classroom Experience

Inside the Literacy Hour: Learning from Classroom Experience

Synopsis

The National Literacy Strategy is at the heart of the government drive to raise the standards in literacy in schools. Based on a research project conducted in classrooms during the first year of the National Literacy Strategy (NLS), this book provides a practical analysis of the ways in which successful teachers have implemented the Literacy Hour. Taking a reflective approach, it chronicles how teachers have changed their attitudes and practice over the first year, and questions why these changes have occurred. With various descriptions of teachers' practice and examples of children's writing throughout, this is an in-depth, yet down-to-earth reflective analysis of effective literacy teaching. Ros Fisher looks in detail at issues such as; improving the teaching of literacy; researching classroom practice; children's learning in the Literacy Hour; changing practice at Key Stage One and Two and mixed age classes and literacy for four-year-olds.

Excerpt

The National Literacy Strategy (NLS) was introduced into most primary (4-11) schools in England in September 1998. This book follows the thoughts and teaching of a group of teachers over the first two years of the strategy. the data were collected in the first year as an Economic and Social Research Council-funded research project that studied the implementation of the literacy hour in small rural schools. Twenty teachers were observed teaching an hour of literacy each month in the first year of the NLS; they were interviewed at the beginning and end of this year; children in their classes were given a reading test at the beginning and end of the year and writing samples were collected from target children in each class. At the end of the second year, twelve of these teachers were interviewed again and a further literacy hour was observed.

The research did not set out to identify successful teachers from this small sample. Our intentions were to give a detailed picture of what individual teachers were doing in the classroom during this time of imposed changes in the teaching of literacy. the test data and writing samples provided some indication of progress in each class and were used to support (or challenge) the judgements of the research team. the research does not provide answers to questions about the best way to teach reading and writing but it does provide some insights into what teachers were trying to do and how they went about it. Although there are no definitive answers, I try to draw out from our observations and what teachers themselves said, advice for others who are teaching reading and writing to primary age children.

The first chapter reviews some of the recent literature about the effective teaching of literacy and raises some questions about the feasibility of changing the way teachers teach through a large-scale project such as the nls. the second chapter describes and evaluates the research itself, giving details of the design, methods, data collection and analysis. Questions about reliability, validity and ethical considerations are discussed. in Chapter 3, the way the teachers in our study went about introducing the literacy hour and how they integrated features of the nls into their teaching is described. Certain aspects of the literacy hour were welcomed and implemented quickly. Others appeared more difficult to manage and were introduced more slowly. Whereas some teachers made changes to the way

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