The past and future of literacy training for teachers

Year: 2002

Author: Wyatt-Smith, Claire, Sim, Cheryl, Dempster, Neil

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

In this discussion, we present data on teacher knowledge in literacy education. The data were collected through the Teachers in Australian Schools Study of 1999. This is a census-style study funded by the Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs (DETYA). It repeated and extended three previous studies (in 1963, 1979 and 1989) sponsored by the Australian College of Education. For the 1999 study, the College carried out the research with the assistance of researchers connected with the Griffith University Centre for Leadership and Management in Education and the University of Queensland. The research questions included in the study were negotiated with officers of DETYA, on the basis of the survey instrument used in earlier studies. Consistent with those studies, certain core items were retained and other items that addressed issues or information needs pertinent to today's context were added.

As a result of Commonwealth priorities in recent years several questions in the survey related to teachers' experiences of pre-service and in-service literacy training. In our paper we present and discuss the data on the literacy in-service education experiences of teachers and we argue that the results suggest deficiencies, which need to be addressed both at the policy level and in professional development practice. This situation is of considerable significance given other recent research findings concerning the ways in which literacy demands present barriers to student success in schooling, having implications for student retention rates beyond the compulsory years and their life trajectories.