Adam Monnington is a Year 4 class teacher at Britannica International School in Shanghai where he has worked for the past 5 years. Adam also has responsibility for English as a cross phase co-ordinator from EYFS to Secondary. Part of this position is what initially led him towards the Literacy for Learning (LfL) course with Lexis Education. The course provides effective intervention strategies for supporting all students through explicit teaching practices that will build their repertoires of language and visual resources so that they can be successful readers and writers across all learning areas.
Why did your school decide to implement the Literacy for Learning course?
With my new role within the subject of English across the school, the Senior Leadership Team decided that in order to further our in-house professional development opportunities for staff it would be great to implement the LfL course. Going on the course meant that I was then able to complete the tutor training and then be able to use this qualification to train other teachers.
Did you enjoy the tutor training? How has it impacted your own teaching and your professional development?
Yes, I thoroughly enjoyed the training with one of the course creators John Polias. I was able to come straight back to school and immediately start to trial different aspects of things that we evaluated, discussed and were introduced to on the 5 day course itself. I was able to come away with a bank of resources and ideas, but also with the enthusiasm to want to draw upon the Literacy for Learning course and all that it had to offer. It was with this excitement that drove the course forward within my current school environment.
Who participated in the Teacher Course you delivered? How did you attract interest amongst your colleagues?
There were 8 participants ranging from KS1 teachers up to Secondary Art and English teachers. The main participants came from KS2. Once the course had been introduced and outlined to all staff via email, there was lots of interest in being a part of the course training. To scale it down to 8 people was a conscious choice to keep the group relatively small and I feel that this greatly benefited everyone with a closer course community. With having the group small it made sure that everyone was involved and that our reflections and evaluative moments were detailed and open-nobody could get lost or not need to contribute.
What are the long term affects you expect to see in students achievement from implementing the course on a whole-school level?
Throughout the duration of the course, all participants were keen and eager to be able to trial different ideas and with the between module activities, they then needed to be able to discuss and talk about things they had used from the LfL course in between each individual module. With the driven and enthusiastic staff I would expect to see that pupils are becoming even more evaluative when it comes to their own reading and writing and that they are whole heartedly questioning every aspect of ‘meaning making’ in order to further develop their own reading and writing skills.
Do you find the program to be sustainable and cost effective?
Yes definitely – 100% so – we will be implementing this as we begin the next academic year and have already begun planning and organising this to maximise the opportunities that completing the course will give to teachers.
Quotes from participants
The Learning for Literacy course provided me with both a reflection and a collaborative way to improved my practise. I have been teaching for almost 9 years and it is still vital that I reflect on how I engage, support and develop all of my students. Working in a school with so many students who are EAL learners makes this even more important. The course enabled me to view learning from a different perspective and gave me practical skills and techniques which I could take into the classroom. The readings and course related tasks were relevant to my practise and the discussions with my peers, thoroughly helpful. I would definitely recommend this course to teachers of all backgrounds no matter their experience. Amy Mayes-Secondary English Teacher
The course provided an opportunity to share best practice for teaching EAL students in a whole-class setting. The course incorporates readings, discussions and the opportunity to trial different teaching strategies. Adam delivered the course effectively and has helped to improve my classroom teaching practice. Simon Lamming, Year 1 Class Teacher
The LfL course contained some really useful theory about how to best improve language development in the classroom. As well as that, there were many hands on activities, putting the teachers in the shoes of children. I was able to adapt and implement many of the activities into my every day practice. David Hunter, Year 5 Class Teacher
The LfL course has not only given me new teaching methods in my lessons (such as the dictogloss activity), but it has changed my whole approach and thinking when it comes to planning my approach towards teaching a particular type of genre. Doing this course has taught me to never take for granted just how much the students may not know about a genre and it has really helped structure my lessons to help guide the children through reading and writing a genre step by step. Daniel Cooke, Year 5 Class Teacher