Academic journal article Literacy Learning: The Middle Years

Introduction: Teachers Talking to Teachers

Academic journal article Literacy Learning: The Middle Years

Introduction: Teachers Talking to Teachers

Article excerpt

For some time, we have been heavily involved in many teachers' classrooms and have been working with them to share their practices with wider educational communities. The idea of the strand in our 2012 ALEA National Conference in Sydney, Teachers Talking to Teachers., emerged from a conversation held with early career teachers during the 2011 ALEA National Conference in Melbourne.

'I've got so much from this conference,' one teacher commented. 'But what was best of all was hearing teachers talking to us teachers; teachers who have similar classrooms like mine, sharing the exciting things they are doing. That's been awesome and I can't wait to get back to school.'

Her colleague and friend readily agreed, adding, 'I loved hearing what the whole school was doing to engage their kids in wanting to read! I have so many new ideas.'

These teachers had just listened to teachers from Whalan Public School situated in the western suburbs of Sydney. The Principal, Deputy Principal and class teachers shared the long and slow process of changing the culture of their school from one where students rarely read, to one where students and teachers were enjoying a love of reading. All had acknowledged the support from 'Academic Partner' Professor Brian Cambourne over several years. 'Brian is our friend, our mentor and certainly at times our questioning teacher,' the Principal had stated. 'He has made us reflect on why we do what we do in our classrooms in the name of literacy education, made us read articles and books even. We have become a professional learning community and we can't stop now!'

'The very opportunity to share with others at conferences like this is, in itself, a powerful professional learning experience', claimed one of the Whalan teachers.

And so the idea began to emerge. We were aware that there are many schools across Australia who are working with an 'academic partner' or a 'literacy coach' or 'mentor' or a key person in the school on specific language and literacy whole school plans. Our challenge was to find ways of encouraging these schools to submit a proposal to present at the National ALEA conference to be held in Sydney. One decision was to budget for six scholarships which would provide a selected school with the opportunity to register three teachers for a third of the cost. …

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