Academic journal article Literacy Learning: The Middle Years


Academic journal article Literacy Learning: The Middle Years


Article excerpt

Now that the school year for 2014 is underway, this seems like a good time to think about our own professional learning needs. As always, every new issue of Literacy Learning: the Middle Tears provides opportunities for readers to be refreshed by new ideas, to reflect on the practice of others--and to extend that thinking to their own practice--and to read about research that offers new understandings and insights. While the journal is always about teaching and learning, it seems that we often take for granted that we will be the ones focusing on teaching and it is our students who will be learning. Yet, our learning is also important.

As Kalantzis and Cope (2008) highlighted, 'learning simply happens as people engage with each other, interact with the natural world and move about in the world they have built' (p. 7). Literacy Learning: the Middle Tears, of course, is part of the world that we've created for those interested in literacy learning in the middle years. And professional associations like ALEA have an important role to play in the education, and learning more generally, of members. Each new issue is, of sorts, an 'intentional activity to promote learning' (Fenwick, Edwards, & Sawchuk, 2011). However, I don't for one minute think that every reader will take away the same learning from each issue. Indeed, one of my aims as editor is to offer a range of articles that will cater for diverse interests.

I recently heard someone say that singer-songwriter Phil Collins had supposedly said that 'in learning you will teach, and in teaching you will learn'. Indeed, I expect that most of us learn something every day. How boring it would be if we didn't! Yet we don't always take the time to reflect on what we've learnt and what that might mean long term, especially in today's climate of accountability which often seems to take us away from the things that we think are important. I hope that this issue gives all readers an opportunity to think about learning and to be informed and sometimes challenged to think differently about literacy, learning and the middle years.

The first article in this issue, by Sally Godinho, Marilyn Woolley, Jessie Webb and Kenneth Winkel, describes a middle school literacy intervention that was conducted in a remote Indigenous school in the Northern Territory. It describes the text production processes that were used to create a series of Pocket Books and highlights the importance of considering appropriate ways of learning for particular cultural contexts. The second article, by SuHua Huang and Melanie Kowalick, also focuses on the classroom and student learning. They describe an action research project that they implemented to investigate the use of multicultural literature to support literacy learning and to develop cultural literacy.

Harry Laing offers 'an atmosphere of possibility', providing some suggestions for how such an atmosphere might be created to foster students' creative writing. His ideas are drawn from his experience as a freelance writer working in schools. His article talks to teachers, sharing some of the things that he has tried. The three articles that follow are reflective pieces, where the authors share their experiences and thinking about aspects of literacy teaching. Each offers considerable food for thought.

Anna Soter outlines her reasons for wanting school students to learn about the metaphors of daily life. …

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