Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Diversity, Inclusion & Engagement

Students with Literacy Difficulties

Earlier this year I published a chapter in "Diversity, Inclusion & Engagement". In the chapter I contend that readers process written text at three levels of cognition. Below I have reprinted a copy of the chapter summary.

"Students with learning difficulties in literacy are affected by a range of factors within themselves and also by other factors outside themselves. These factors interact in a number of ways that will often lead to disengagement from literacy learning. This then becomes a cycle of failure that is often quite difficult to overcome. To reverse this trend students should be shown how to develop self-regulation strategies leading to independence and academic success. For this to be effective teachers need to develop broader assessment practices by looking beyond the notion of learning difficulties residing solely within the learner. Thus, teachers should also consider other factors outside the learner such as texts, tasks and instructional practices within the social context of the classroom and community.

Assessment should acknowledge students’ strengths and consider their educational needs in response to instructional practices. A thorough and responsive assessment should lead to appropriate accommodations and adjustments to the curriculum that focus on three levels of engagement: surface, cognitive and behavioural. Most accommodations and adjustments not only help individuals but also benefit the wider community of learners. Literacy is a social activity and there are cooperative methods that can support students with learning difficulties within the classroom and beyond. Family-literacy programs, for example, extend learning beyond the classroom walls and give impetus to the literacy development of students who may be at risk of academic failure."

Woolley, G. (2014). Students with Literacy Difficulties. In M. Hyde, L. Carpenter, & R. Conway (Eds.), Diversity, inclusion and engagement (2nd ed., pp. 107-127). Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

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