Details of Thesis

TitleA Case Study of the Implementation of Children’s Literacy Success Strategy: The perceptions of principals, literacy co-ordinators and teachers
Author Lovelock, Mary Therese
Institution Australian Catholic University
Date 2008
Abstract The aim of this research was to examine the perceptions of principals, literacy co-ordinators and teachers on the implementation of Children’s Literacy Success Strategy (CLaSS) as a literacy and professional development strategy and their insights for future literacy innovation. CLaSS is a whole-school and sector approach to literacy for the early years of schooling. Introduced in 1998 to Catholic primary schools in the Archdiocese of Melbourne, schools implementing CLaSS were supported by a professional development model throughout the implementation. CLaSS introduced to many schools a two-hour daily literacy block, data-driven instruction and the incorporation of professional learning teams within the professional development model. Eleven participants from two Catholic primary schools in the Archdiocese of Melbourne formed a case study for this research. The participants’ perceptions were captured qualitatively and viewed interpretively based on a phenomenological approach. The research had significant findings. Participants endorsed the literacy strategy and the professional development model as an effective approach. In particular, the findings identified that the professional learning teams played a key role in developing and maintaining a culture of learning within the literacy team. This culture of learning assisted in improving learning outcomes for their students. While there was an endorsement of CLaSS, the findings also showed that there were some significant issues raised by participants. This included issues in professional development and student achievement in the areas of comprehension and writing. The findings indicated that professional understanding and student improvement in these areas were not as developed as those for decoding words in reading. Participants also indicated that assessment of student writing was limited by the absence of sector-wide assessment of different genres and, therefore, they were not confident in measuring student improvement in writing. The findings also identified some areas of difficulty within the professional development model, such as catering for individual learning styles and the addition of new team members to the literacy team. The findings indicated that for future literacy innovation, participants would prefer an approach that encompassed literacy and teacher development across the whole school. Based on the participants’ responses, the research also provided recommendations and suggestions for further research in literacy. The recommendations included examining ways in which oral language and new literacies could have more prominence in the literacy block and providing a sector approach to assessment and specific professional development on comprehension and writing. The recommendations also suggested further research could be conducted as to ascertain the extent to which teachers require further professional development in comprehension and writing, how oral language is developed in other schools, and whether leadership has been the significant factor in sustaining the success of the literacy strategy.
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