A whole school approach to closing the attainment gap
Firmly rooted in research evidence of what works within the classroom for our most disadvantaged students, Disciplinary Literacy and Explicit Vocabulary Teaching offers teachers and school leaders practical ways in which those students who are behind in their literacy capabilities can make excellent progress. Building on the work of Geoff Barton in his influential book Don’t Call it Literacy, Kathrine Mortimore outlines the unique literacy challenges posed by specific subject areas for those with weaker literacy skills, and more importantly how these challenges can be addressed and overcome.
A student’s GCSE results are vital in giving them the choices they deserve in order to go on to the next stage of their academic careers. This book draws on the success stories of schools and subjects that have made significant improvements in the outcomes of the children they teach, regardless of their starting points. From the inevitable success of Michaela Community school, to the gains made by the English department at Torquay Academy and the rapid reading improvements at Henley Bank, this book draws on both whole school initiatives and subject-specific strategies which have had proven success.
This book places a wide and balanced knowledge-rich curriculum at the centre of any school improvement strategy designed to improve literacy, and illustrates the role that all subjects must combine to play in building the vital background knowledge and vocabulary that young people need in order to read independently. This curriculum must then be delivered using those teaching methods that have had the greatest impact on disadvantaged learners, and this book sets out how the methodology of direct and explicit instruction can be adopted within each subject area. Alongside this is a useful summary of staff development and inset which offers practical ways in which teachers’ adoption of these effective strategies can be facilitated.
There are also useful sections on creating a whole school dictionary of essential vocabulary, creating a culture of reading and writing, and also those key literacy barriers experienced by those students with some of the most common special educational needs.
About the Author
Currently a lead practitioner for English at Torquay Academy, Kathrine Mortimore is particularly interested in tackling social inequalities through education and has blogged about practical ways to do that here: https://wordpress.com/view/kathrinemortimore.wordpress.com. She gained a Masters in Advanced Subject Teaching from the University of Cambridge where she researched how to narrow the attainment gap in 2012, and has used this research to inform whole school improvement projects ever since. She can be found on twitter @kathrine_28.
She has worked on specific school improvement literacy projects alongside outstanding colleagues for the last five years to take Torquay Academy, which serves a particularly deprived coastal community, out of ‘requires improvement’ and towards significant improvements in the results achieved which have received national recognition. This improvement has been as a result of the inspirational work of Steve Margetts, the principal, who had the foresight to see the power of coaching to improve teaching and learning, alongside the adoption of direct and explicit instruction and a knowledge-rich curriculum.
Alongside her teaching, she has worked with Neil Bowen to produce many of the well-regarded Art of Poetry, Prose and Drama study guides which are designed to support students to achieve the very highest grades through a series of critical essays. They have proved very popular with teachers looking to improve their subject knowledge.
'Disciplinary literacy matters because it offers the subtle and vital knowledge that subject teachers need to adapt their practice. It meets teachers where they are. It combines the disciplinary knowing with the doing.
'That is not to say this hasn't been tried before, or that it proves easy work. Despite lots of accessible research evidence attending disciplinary literacy, too often teachers struggle to apply that research in practical terms to their work in the classroom. Happily, Katherine Mortimore has produced a teacher-friendly account of disciplinary literacy that is stuffed full with useful worked examples and subject-specific perspectives to help teachers transform their work.
'Disciplinary literacy matters. And it matters to every teacher and pupil. Indeed, success in each and every classroom depends upon it.' Alex Quigley
|No of pages||200|
|Publication Date||4 Dec 2020|