Receptivity of teachers to implementing new strategies for literacy teaching

Year: 2003

Author: Partington, Gary

Type of paper: Refereed paper

The teaching strategies that work with Anglo-Australian children in urban settings are not appropriate for all children. Indigenous children, in particular, are less amenable to the kinds of instruction used with other children. As a result, Indigenous children are more likely to demonstrate lower levels of learning and less commitment to school than other children. In rural and remote areas, these features are particularly noticeable. While part of the explanation for the failure of the usual range of strategies lies with the social and cultural characteristics of the students - partic ularly when there are language differences - the inability to achieve change among teachers is a significant contributing factor. Adaptation of teaching strategies to the particular needs of Indigenous students is more likely to bring about change in student learning and retention than attempting to change the students' culture and social backgrounds.

In this paper, a project designed to improve literacy acquisition among Indigenous students with conductive hearing loss is described. The professional development program used with teachers to get them to implement the appropriate strategies is outlined and the continuing impediments to effective utilisation of the strategies are discussed.