ACSA Webinars

Misty Adoniou, Associate Professor, Adjunct University of Canberra, ACT, Australia and Principal Fellow Melbourne Graduate School of Education, VIC, Australia

How can we (re) engage secondary students in the writing process?

Tuesday 17 May 2022 7-8pm AEST

Misty Adoniou

This session addresses the key question: How can we (re) engage secondary students in the writing process? Australia's NAPLAN data indicates that more than 50 per cent of secondary school students are achieving below the national standard in Writing. Is this because they can't write, or because they don't want to write?

The transition from primary to secondary school is a particularly high risk point for students who are already underachieving, but there is also a concurrent decline in students performing above benchmarks. What is going on?
Texts become more complex as the ideas they communicate become more abstract, and the content more technical and specialized. This means that writing instruction becomes increasingly important, yet paradoxically writing instruction declines in secondary school.

Crucially, this text complexity differs within each of the discipline areas, therefore generic whole school literacy initiatives are unlikely to have the impact school leaders would hope for. These fundamental discipline language differences occur because each discipline has developed from specific ways of thinking about, and therefore communicating about the world. Thus, not only are discipline teachers the best placed to teach the language of their discipline, they are arguably the only teachers able to teach the language of their discipline.

The answer to the question 'How can we (re) engage secondary students in the writing process?' may lay in allowing disciplinary teachers to share with students their expertise and passion for their content areas, and supporting those teachers to show their students how to write like historians or scientists or mathematicians or poets or artists.

AITSL Standards Addressed:
1. Know students and how they learn: Webinar will address learning characteristics specific to the millenial student, and how the literacy learning needs of adolescents differ to primary school students.
2. Know the content and how to teach it: Webinar will provide content knowledge on how language demands grow in complexity in the transition from primary to secondary school, and how that complexity changes according to the discipline

Session complete. Recording available via ACSA Webinars on Demand.