Australian Journal of Middle Years of Schooling - Supported by the New Zealand Association of Intermediate and Middle Schooling - Adolescent Success

 
Australian Journal of Middle Years of Schooling - Supported by the New Zealand Association of Intermediate and Middle Schooling - Adolescent Success
Volume 15 – Number 2 – November 2015

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Australian Journal of Middle Years of Schooling
Supported by the New Zealand Association of Intermediate and Middle Schooling
Australian Journal of Middle Years of Schooling - Supported by the New Zealand Association of Intermediate and Middle Schooling - Adolescent Success
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                                                                                                                                                                     HINT
                                               Editorial
                                               It is incredible to believe that this       to share these with your teachers              our Adolescent Success Awards and
                                               year is almost over. For those of           now and then to utilise them in                we congratulated a number of schools
                                               us who live in Queensland and for           professional learning circles, staff           and colleges for their dedication
                                               some educators in Western Australia,        meetings and other forums during               to working with and for young
                                               2015 saw the introduction of Year 7         2016. The research presented through           adolescents.
                                               into secondary. I trust that it went        all of the refereed articles is pertinent.
                                               as smoothly as it did in my college,        The three articles that appear in the          We hosted our very first Twitter Chat
                                               where through the incorporation of          non-refereed section of this edition;          with #satchatoc in October. This
                                               many middle years philosophies and          “The maker movement”, “Student-led             proved to be an extremely successful
                                               strategies, we were able to welcome,        conferences” and “Building teacher             forum for deep discussion and I
                                               work with and see success for our           capacity through action research” pose         urge you to keep a look out for our
                                               young adolescent learners and their         very concrete ideas for embedding              Adolescent Succcess Twitter Chats in
                                               teachers alike. I know I look back on       innovative and engaging strategies and         2016. Our website hosts a number
                                               the year and reflect upon the processes     practices within your school settings.         of forums, so please ensure that you
                                               and structures we put into place, the                                                      as our valued members engage with
                                               curriculum we developed, the systems        It is interesting to note that I wrote         these and connect with those like-
                                               we implemented and can envisage             the last editorial with the view that          minded educators, nationally and
                                               how we will build upon what we have         that was my last; however, situations          internationally. There are so many
                                               begun for the coming years. Bringing        occur, and now, as the President of            more events and activities in the
                                               Year 7 into our College most certainly      Adolescent Success, I am introducing           pipeline and as such, I look forward
                                               reinvigorated all of our middle years’      this journal, our final for 2015. This         to collaborating with you in 2016 and
                                               practices. The refereed article by          provides me the opportunity to recap           beyond.
                                               Pendergastet et al most certainly           some of the highlights for Adolescent
                                               highlights many of our findings and I       Success over the past year. For those          To all who have contributed to this
                                               am sure will resonate with our entire       of you who were able to attend our             very comprehensive edition of the
                                               readership whether or not you have          International Conference in August             Australian Journal of Middle Years
                                               been involved in this change during         of this year, we thank your for your           of Schooling, I thank you and look
                                               2015.                                       attendance and trust that you gained           forward to working with you again
                                                                                           a great deal from the event. The               into the future. Have a relaxing and
                                               This final edition presents some very       feedback was extremely positive and            well-earned break and very safe and
                                               relevant articles that will provide food    we now move towards our second                 happy Christmas and New Year.
                                               for thought and practical ideas that        conference in Singapore (APCAS) in
                                               can be undertaken in any middle             September of 2016.                             Debra Evans
                                               school classroom or setting at this                                                        Journal Editor (for the last time)
                                               time in education. I encourage you          This year also saw the introduction of         Adolescent Success

                                               Journal Sub-committee
                                               Katherine Main                              Susan Korrell
                                                                                                                                            Acknowledgements:
                                                                                                                                            Photographs from the
                                               Angela White                                Dr Tony Dowden
                                                                                                                                            following
                                                                                                                                            Christian Outreach College, Toowoomba,
                                                                                                                                            QLD
                                               The views expressed in this journal are those of the individual contributor
                                                                                                                                            Brighton Grammar School, Brighton, VIC
                                               and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Publications Sub-committee
                                                                                                                                            Brisbane Boys College, QLD
                                               or Adolescent Success - the Association dedicated to the education,                          Glennie School, Toowoomba, QLD
                                               development and growth of young adolescents. For further information                         John Paul College, Daisy Hill, QLD
                                               about Adolescent Success refer to www.adolescentsuccess.org.au                               Mount Alvernia College, Kedron, QLD
                                                                                                                                            Riverside Christian College, Maryborough,
                                               Contact:                                                                                     QLD
                                               Adolescent Success. PO Box 2175 Toowong Q 4066 Australia                                     St Mary’s College, Ipswich, QLD
                                                                                                                                            St Peter’s Lutheran College, Indooroopilly,
                                               Ph: +61 4 5247 5184                                                                          QLD
                                               angela@adolescentsuccess.org.au                                                              St Philip’s Christian College, New Castle,
                                               Executive Officer: Angela White                                                              NSW

                                               Adolescent Success – Volume 15 – Number 2 – November 2015 – www.adolescentsuccess.org.au                                                   1
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                                                      CONTENTS                                                                                   HINT

                                                                             Editorial          1

                                                                Refereed Articles               4       The Educational change model as a vehicle for reform: Shifting
                                                                                                        year 7 and implementing junior secondary in Queensland
                                                                                                                Prof Donna Pendergast, Dr Katherine Main, Dr Georgina
                                                                                                                Barton, Dr Harry Kanasa, Dr David Geelan & Dr Tony
                                                                                                                Dowden

                                                                                               20       Towards sustainable language and literacy practices for teacher
                                                                                                        learning in a secondary context: A focus on writing
                                                                                                               Dr Nina Maadad & Ms Beverley White

                                                                                              38        RIOT radio: Showcasing multiliteracies in a Reggio-inspired
                                                                                                        middle school
                                                                                                               Dr Sandra Hesterman

                                                         Non-refereed Articles 52                       The maker movement — A learning revolution capturing the
                                                                                                        hearts and minds of middle years
                                                                                                                Jill Margerison & Andrew Stark

                                                                                              58        Building teacher capacity through action research
                                                                                                               David Ralph & Louise Swanson

                                                                                              66        Student-led conferences: Empowering students as active
                                                                                                        participants in the learning process
                                                                                                                Robyn McCarthy

                                                                Focus on Schools 72                     Growing good men: Positive psychology and service learning
                                                                                                              James Nelson

                                                                                               74       Achieving intercultural understanding in schools
                                                                                                               Rhiannen Gimpel

                                                                      Information for 78
                                                                         Contributors

                                                      Adolescent Success – Volume 15 – Number 2 – November 2015 – www.adolescentsuccess.org.au                        3
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      The education change
      model as a vehicle for
      reform: Shifting year 7                                                                                                       Abstract
                                                                                                                                    Queensland schools are engaged in change as they shift Year 7 from primary to high school settings from

      and implementing junior                                                                                                       the start of 2015 and implement junior secondary in all public schools in Years 7, 8, and 9. This agenda
                                                                                                                                    signals one of the most significant reforms undertaken in Queensland education. It is accompanied
                                                                                                                                    by a systemic policy commitment, including resource allocation, to ensure it is supported at the

      secondary in Queensland
                                                                                                                                    individual school level and in the wider schooling system. In this paper, we outline the Leading Change
                                                                                                                                    Development Program undertaken in 2014, which was designed to enable school leaders to facilitate
                                                                                                                                    these reforms in their unique school contexts. The program—conceptualised around the Education
                                                                                                                                    Change Model—is outlined and data are presented that indicate school leaders’ assessment of the stage
                                                                                                                                    of reform their school was located at, according to the reform model.
           Professor Donna Pendergast, Dr Katherine Main, Dr Georgina Barton,
                        Dr Harry Kanasa, Dr David Geelan & Dr Tony Dowden                                                           Keywords: educational change, middle years, junior secondary, reform

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      The context                              experienced the shift to a junior            the shift of Year 7 to secondary                                  Guiding Principles
                                               secondary model for Years 7–9,               for the best ever results in reading,
      In Queensland, where this project                                                                                                                        Guiding Principle             Explanation
                                               which demands a more defined                 spelling and numeracy—all
      is based, a progressive approach
                                               approach to teaching and learning            experienced by these year levels for                               Distinct identity             Junior secondary students will be encouraged
      has been taken to reforming the
                                               for young people.                            the first time with Year 7s at the                                                               and supported to develop their own group
      middle years with the shift from
                                                                                            vanguard (Wordsworth, 2015).                                                                     identity within the wider high school. This
      2015 of Year 7 from primary to
                                               For the first time from 2015                 In addition, Year 5 students were                                                                can involve dedicated school areas and events.
      secondary setting across all sectors.
                                               onwards, national analyses that              reported as third in the nation in                                 Quality teaching              Teachers working with students in the
      Prior to this, Year 7 was typically
                                               compare year level data will be of           reading and numeracy and Year 3                                                                  junior secondary years will be given the skills
      located in primary schools. This
                                               students at the same age as well             third for grammar, punctuation                                                                   they need through additional professional
      shift occurred, in part, because of
                                               as year level across the nation. In          and numeracy. This is a dramatic                                                                 development, so they can support young teens
      the introduction of a voluntary
                                               the past, this has not been the case         shift from the usual tail end placing                                                            through these crucial early high school years.
      Preparatory year in 2007 followed
                                               for Queensland students in high              of Queensland in many of these
      by a lift in the entry age of                                                                                                                            Student wellbeing             We will meet the social and emotional needs
                                               stakes data analyses of student              domains.
      schooling in 2008. Year 1 entry                                                                                                                                                        of junior secondary students with a strong
                                               performance, such as the National
      age was raised by six months. The                                                                                                                                                      focus on pastoral care. For example, schools
                                               Assessment Program: Literacy and             Junior Secondary
      cut-off moved from the end of the                                                                                                                                                      could provide a home room to support
                                               Numeracy (NAPLAN), which is                  Concomitant with the shift of Year
      calendar year to the middle of the                                                                                                                                                     students as they adjust to new routines and
                                               an annual assessment for students            7, from 2015 Queensland public
      year. This aligned Queensland with                                                                                                                                                     greater academic demands.
                                               in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9. NAPLAN               schools must ensure alignment
      other states across Australia. The                                                                                                                       Parent and community          We want parents to stay connected with
                                               is comprised of tests in the four            to new guidelines for the delivery
      overall effect of lifting the school                                                                                                                     involvement                   their students’ learning when they enter high
                                               domains of reading, writing,                 of Years 7, 8 and 9; the approach
      commencing age is that students,                                                                                                                                                       school. Parent involvement in assemblies,
                                               language conventions (spelling,              being known as junior secondary
      on average, are six months older                                                                                                                                                       special events, award ceremonies and
                                               grammar and punctuation), and                (ACER, 2012). This approach is
      in each year level. The first cohort                                                                                                                                                   leadership presentations will be welcomed.
                                               numeracy (ACARA, 2013). Until                based on much of the middle years
      who experienced this change is                                                                                                                           Leadership                    Schools will be encouraged to create
                                               2015, students in Queensland                 literature over recent decades. It
      undertaking Year 7 in 2015; hence                                                                                                                                                      leadership roles for students in Years 7, 8
                                               compared to other jurisdictions in           involves intentional structural
      the timing of the shift to secondary                                                                                                                                                   and 9. Dedicated teachers experienced with
                                               Australia were approximately six             arrangements and a philosophical
      school.                                                                                                                                                                                teaching young adolescents will lead junior
                                               months younger; an explanation               commitment that aim to provide
                                               confirmed by researchers to be                                                                                                                secondary supported by the principal and
           The implications of this major                                                   optimal learning opportunities
                                               an influence on student scores                                                                                                                administration team.
           change in school education                                                       for young adolescents. The focus
                                               (Daraganova, Edwards, & Sipthorp,            on young adolescent experiences                                    Local decision-making         The needs of each school community
           are significant. Most students
                                               2013).                                       of schooling and the role teachers                                                               will influence how junior secondary is
           will complete seven years
           in primary and six years in                                                      play is critical, because it locates                                                             implemented in each school.
                                               An early indicator of the possible
           secondary school settings,                                                       educational policy and practice in
                                               benefits of the major reforms is                                                                               (ACER, 2012)
           adding a net extra year of                                                       ways that move beyond taken-for-
                                               the 2015 NAPLAN results for
           schooling.                                                                       granted notions of adolescents and
                                               Queensland. In a press release                                                                                 There is some contestation of the appropriateness of these Guiding
                                                                                            adolescence (Vagle, 2012).
                                               announcing the state as the most                                                                               Principles and a challenge that there is a negligible evidence base of the
      Students will be six months older
                                               improved nationally with leaps               The introduction of the new junior                                effectiveness of specific approaches to teaching and learning for young
      when they complete each year level
                                               in Years 3, 5 and 7 scores, the              secondary phase of education in                                   adolescents (Dinham & Rowe, 2007). The purpose of this paper; however,
      from 2015 and half will turn 18
                                               Minister for Education credited              Queensland is based on the six                                    is not to explore this consideration, but to focus on the implementation
      during their final year of school.
                                               the introduction of the Preparatory          ‘Guiding Principles’ developed                                    of the Leading Change Development Program (the Program) (Pendergast
      In government schools, many have
                                               year; older school starting age; and         by the Australian Council for                                     et al., 2014) underpinned by the Education Change Model (ECM).
                                                                                            Educational Research (ACER,                                       The reform was supported by a systemic policy commitment, including
                                                                                            2012) as described in Table                                       resource allocation. This ensures it is supported both at the individual
                                                                                            1. These principles provide                                       school level and in the wider schooling system, and provides optimal
                                                                                            challenging educational offerings                                 conditions for effective reform.
                                                                                            that engage young adolescents,
                                                                                                                                                              When taken together, shifting Year 7 to secondary and implementing
                                                                                            while giving them a sense of
                                                                                                                                                              the Guiding Principles represent one of the most significant reforms
                                                                                            belonging and support during the
                                                                                                                                                              undertaken in Queensland education. In fact, all 259 unique public
                                                                                            changes they face.
                                                                                                                                                              schools with Year 7 in 2015 have been engaged in reforming their middle
                                                                                                                                                              years. These schools have been familiarised with the Guiding Principles
                                                                                            Table 1: Junior Secondary

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      since their release in 2012. For        including the principal, participated        conceptually built around a distinct                             Leaders face multiple choices and               transition to high school                  student learning outcomes,
      20 pilot schools, Year 7 moved          in the Program. This Program                 model, the ECM, which is detailed                                combinations of decisions along the             is ‘a time when students                   particularly in the middle years.
      to the secondary setting in 2013.       aimed to build school leadership             later in this paper. Importantly,                                reform path (Mourshed, Chijioke,                are at the greatest risk
      Importantly, some schools are           capacity to direct effective change          it was informed by the education                                 & Barber, 2010). This was the case              of disengagement from                      In their analysis of twenty
      configured as P–10 or P–12, and         processes in schools, specifically           reform literature, to which this                                 in this reform moment.                          learning.                                  education systems around the
      hence Year 7 has always been co-        for transitioning Year 7 and                 paper now turns.                                                                                                                                            world, Mourshed et al. (2010)
      located. For the vast majority of       consolidating the intentional                                                                                 In Australia, education systems             Student motivation and                         revealed there are eight predictable
      schools, Year 7 students shifted        approach to teaching Years 7–9                                                                                are undergoing rapid change in              engagement in these years is                   elements that contribute to reform
      to secondary school settings from       through the full implementation              Reforming schools and                                            education policy and practice.              critical, and can be influenced by             improvements. These range from
      the beginning of the 2015 school        of the junior secondary model.               school systems                                                   For many Australian schools, the            tailoring approaches to teaching’              understanding where the system is
      year. For the first time, the junior    The role of leadership teams in              There is a growing field of                                      overarching framework guiding               (MCEETYA, 2008, p. 10). In line                in regard to a range of features, to
      secondary model became fully            guiding school communities                   knowledge about the effectiveness                                this change is The Melbourne                with this focus on teacher practice            specific leadership, classroom, and
      operational. The question then          through this reform required a               of change processes, especially in                               Declaration on Educational Goals            for young adolescents, the recently            structural factors. Importantly, they
      is, how do schools implement            planned and deliberate approach              reforming education systems, which                               for Young Australians (MCEETYA,             released Action now: Classroom                 note that a ‘spark’ is often required
      such a reform, remain mindful of        to enabling change that reflected            have at their core the imperative to                             2008). The declaration is connected         ready teachers (TEMAG, 2014)                   to trigger major change and that
      their unique contexts, and ensure       the needs of each school context.            improve student learning outcomes                                to this project as it identifies            sets out 39 recommendations that               a ‘system can make significant
      consistency and alignment to the        There was no ‘one-size-fits-all’             (OECD, 2015). The complexity of                                  enhancing middle years teaching             seek to improve teacher readiness              gains from wherever it starts and
      core expectations of the Guiding        approach. The Program was                    educational change is exacerbated                                and learning practices as a priority.       for classroom work. The current                a timeline of six years or less is
      Principles?                             developed by a team of academics             by a range of national, state, and                                                                           focus on teacher effectiveness is              achievable’ (p. 14). This spark can
                                              from Griffith University, along              local reform agendas. Schools                                        The need for attention                  also affirmed by Dinham and                    result from a crisis or a major
      In 2014, all 259 public high school     with several external partners, and          often attempt to implement                                           to a middle years’ policy               Rowe (2007) and Hattie (2003),                 reform initiative. They also note
      leadership teams, represented by        consulted various officers of the            several reforms simultaneously                                       recognises that early                   who argued that this is one of the             that for reform to be sustained over
      three people from each school           state education authority. It was            and from different starting points.                                  adolescence and the                     most important factors influencing             the long term, improvements must

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      be integrated into the ‘very fabric of    to change individual practices,              the improvement objectives, and                                   The Education Change                        mapped onto any major reform initiative, and feature indications of time
      the system pedagogy’ (Mourshed et         and agents, who implement                    3) facilitating and encouraging                                                                               taken to achieve each phase. The Initiation phase occupies the first year
      al., 2010, p. 71).                        reform, of this change (Main,                the collaboration between schools.
                                                                                                                                                               Model                                       or two, the Development phase consumes the next two to five years, and
                                                2013). Providing opportunities               Including a research team to                                      At the core of the Program is               the Consolidation phase can last over a further five to ten years. The time
      The initial ‘spark’ for the reform        for individuals to work together             drive the Program in this scenario                                the ECM, which was developed                periods associated with each of the three phases are indicative only and
      in Queensland was clear evidence          and have collective responsibility           served as a middle layer, mediating                               originally for reform processes             can be accelerated through the alignment of enablers. Similarly, inhibitors
      of relatively mediocre teaching           to improve practice is a positive.           between the schools and the                                       in Australian middle schooling              can lead to dips in the progress of the reform program, adding extra time
      quality (Goos et al., 2008; Luke          On the other hand, lack of                   systems in which they operate.                                    (Pendergast et al., 2005;                   to the overall reform process. It is important to note the duration of the
      et al., 2003; Masters, 2009) over         agency has been recognised as a                                                                                Pendergast, 2006) and later used to         reform journey is consistent with the six year duration that Mourshed et
      several years, along with growing         problem in school development.               In order for reform to be sustained                               facilitate state-wide reform of the         al. (2010) indicated. The core components for each phase are presented in
      evidence that certain pedagogical         The importance of enabling                   in the longer term, the shaping of                                early childhood sector in Victoria          Table 2.
      approaches appeared to be more            collaborative practices to properly          leadership is the third imperative                                (Garvis et al., 2013). The model has
      suited to young adolescent learners       develop and become established               (Mourshed et al., 2010). For junior                               been derived from an educational            Table 2: Core components of Education Change Model for
      (MYSA, 2008; Pendergast et                is highlighted by Hattie (2003) in           secondary reform in Queensland,                                   scenario; however, the principles
                                                                                                                                                               underpinning the reform model
                                                                                                                                                                                                           junior secondary
      al., 2005). Concerns had also             his synthesis of over 50,000 studies         the leaders and teachers were
      been raised around Queensland             and 800 meta-analyses of student             identified as both the subjects and                               are equally applicable to business,
                                                                                                                                                               industry and community reform                Initiation Phase             Development Phase          Consolidation Phase
      students’ literacy and numeracy           achievement.                                 agents of change (ACER, 2012).
                                                                                                                                                               settings. The ECM has value for              1–2 years                    2–5 years                  5–10 years
      scores against national and                                                            In order for this change to be
      international benchmarks (Luke                He drew the major conclusion             sustainable the leaders needed to                                 an individual, a site or setting, and        • Introducing new            • Implement and            • Refine quality
      et al., 2003; Masters, 2009).                 that ‘the remarkable feature             be provided with opportunities                                    the systemic level. At the individual            language and                refine junior              teaching practice
      This spark eventually led to                  of the evidence is that the              for professional learning and                                     level it can be used to assist people            philosophy                  secondary Quality
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    •   Lead and support
      developing the ACER theoretical               biggest effects on student               to enable others to take risks.                                   to determine the stage of reform                                             Teaching model
                                                                                                                                                                                                            •    Focus on                                               others
      framework underpinning the                    learning occur when teachers             The National Middle School                                        they are operating at by reflecting               transition              •    Encourage
                                                                                                                                                               on their own understandings and                                                                      •   Build capacity,
      reform entitled Junior secondary              become learners of their own             Association (NMSA) argued that                                                                                                                   emerging
                                                                                                                                                               practices. Similarly, in a specific          •    Establish quality                                      ownership and
      – Theory and practice (ACER,                  teaching’ (Hattie, 2003, p.              leaders must be ‘committed to                                                                                                                    leadership
                                                                                                                                                               site, the phase of reform can                     teaching model                                         sustainable
      2012). This framework specifies               86). To achieve collaborative            and knowledgeable about this age
                                                                                                                                                               be determined by auditing the                     – structures,           •    Plan and                  practices
      both a structural arrangement                 practices, teachers need                 group, education research and best
                                                                                                                                                               evidence presented across the                     protocols &                  implement, revise
      to incorporate the final year of              time to reach a common                   practice’ and be ‘courageous and
                                                                                                                                                               site. At the systemic level, the                  practices                    and renew
      primary school into the lower                 understanding and establish              collaborative’ (2001, p. 28).
      years of secondary school, and a              a shared commitment.                                                                                       components of the phases outlined            •    Establish               •    Facilitate learning
      philosophical approach involving                                                           Being courageous as a                                         in the ECM support further                        leadership model             communities for
      the use of age-appropriate                This sets up the conditions for                  leader embarking on a junior                                  progress in implementation. Hence,                                             teachers
                                                                                                                                                                                                            •    Plan and
      pedagogies and approaches in              embedding a shift in the fabric                  secondary reform means                                        adopting the ECM is applicable
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 establish evidence      •    Use and extend
      response to the identified needs of       of the teaching and learning in a                being willing to break down                                   to the innovative change in school
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 principles                   evidence sources
      early adolescence.                        school or system (Fullan, 2001).                 strongly held historical                                      reform in this project.
                                                In junior secondary reform in                    traditions pertaining to                                                                                   •    Develop            •         Develop support
           In relation to the Queensland        Queensland, a focus to move from                 education for adolescents.                                        Typically, the ECM proposes                   knowledge base               structures
           reform, three key features           the student to the teacher as the                Sustaining such reforms                                           that programs of reform are                   around junior                to enable
           to success should be                 subject and agent of implementing                requires leaders who support                                      established in three phases,                  secondary learners           sustainability of
           considered: 1) the teacher           the reform is necessary (ACER,                   teachers within their school                                      gradually introducing                                                      reform
           as an active agent; 2) an            2012).                                           by providing explicit training                                    particular core component
           intermediary between the                                                              in the pedagogies associated                                      changes, and spanning
           school and the system;               Developing a middle layer between                with the reform and ensuring                                      seven years, depending upon             Where these core components are not satisfactorily achieved within a
           and 3) strong leadership             the school and the system is also                that continuity for those                                         circumstances.                          particular phase, there may be a dip in the pace and rate of progress
           (Mourshed et al., 2010).             critical for effective reform. The               practices is then implicit                                                                                being made. Enablers to reform include: clarity of vision and philosophy;
                                                form that this middle layer takes                within the school context.                                    These phases are the Initiation             existence of a risk taking culture; leadership at systemic, school and teacher
      The concept of a teacher as an            can vary and depends on the                                                                                    phase, the Development phase and            levels of operation; encouraging a collaborative culture with an emphasis
      active agent of school reform             context and type of reform being             Within these various layers of                                    the Consolidation phase. Both the           on teachers as members of a learning community; provision of support for
      and development is central to             implemented. For example, in                 education reform, the need to                                     ECM and the relevant literature             teacher professional development; and resource commitment, including
      educational practices and policies.       Mourshed et al.’s (2010) work,               identify a model that would be                                    recognise that educational reform           time and finances. Inhibitors to reform leading to downward dips in
      Teachers must be active and               this mediating layer typically               useful for this Program was crucial.                              often takes longer than expected or         progress include: lack of leadership, lack of funding, lack of vision and
      effective agents of the intended          performed three tasks: 1) providing          This paper now describes the model                                typically allowed for in schedules.         philosophy, poor evidence base, and lack of commitment (Pendergast,
      change. In fact, teachers then act        targeted support to schools, 2)              selected.                                                         The three broad phases can be               2006).
      as both the subjects, who need            interpreting and communicating

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      There are three key features              establishing junior secondary, are           successfully achieved before a                                          The ECM was applied in a context            develop their junior secondary program. The ECM, as outlined earlier, was
      necessary for reform: establishing        profound and will significantly              strong focus on building capacity,                                      where the junior secondary                  used as the underpinning framework. The Program involved three stages,
      collaborative practices, developing a     change the schooling of young                ownership and sustainable practices                                     framework had first been                    as presented in Table 4.
      mediating layer between the schools       adolescents in Queensland. The               is embedded into the system                                             introduced in 2012, with variable
      and the centre, and architecting          change will take several years to be         and genuine consolidation can                                           uptake by 2014, when the Program            Table 4: Leading Change Development Program project
      tomorrow’s leadership (Mourshed           normalised within the system. By             be achieved. Table 3 provides a                                         was underway. It was expected               stage
      et al., 2010). The ECM was used           using the ECM, it is apparent that           mapping tool of the six Guiding                                         that the 259 schools would be at
      as the overarching framework              sustaining change will be achieved           Principles within the context of the                                    varied stages within the ECM.                Stage      Activity                                   Timeline (2014)
      to ensure these elements were             only in the final phase of reform,           three phases of the ECM, closely                                        The tool became useful to identify
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1          Two-day professional learning conference   April–June
      achieved. The changes associated          that is, the Consolidation phase.            linking the two for the purposes of                                     which of the core components
                                                                                                                                                                                                                             for school leaders
      with implementing junior                  Hence, the core components within            reflecting on each phase of junior                                      had been addressed and which
      secondary, through relocating             the Initiation and Development               secondary reform.                                                       required more attention to ensure            2          Implementation with coaching support,      May–September
      Year 7 into secondary schools and         phases of reform should be                                                                                           a smooth transition to the next                         including development and/or further
                                                                                                                                                                     stage. Initially, this information was                  refinement of action plan
                                                                                                                                                                     relevant at a school level, then for         3          One-day workshop for school leaders        September–October
      Table 3: Tool for mapping Education Change Model phases and the Guiding Principles                                                                             the regions, and finally more widely
                                                                                                                                                                     at the system level to determine            Stage 1
                                                                 Guiding Principles                                                                                  the overall progress of the reform
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 In Stage 1, school leaders engaged in intensive professional learning where
                                                                                                                                                                     and to predict and plan what was

                                                                                                      involvement
                                                                                                      community
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 they were asked to determine their school’s current phase of reform.

                                                                                                                    Leadership
                                                                                                      Parent and
       Education Change Model phases and core                                                                                                                        needed to achieve sustainable

                                                                                          wellbeing

                                                                                                                                 decision-
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Integral to this process was engaging with the resources to assist them to
                                                                              teaching
                                                                   Distinct
                                                                   identity

       components

                                                                                          Student
                                                                              Quality

                                                                                                                                 making
                                                                                                                                                                     reform.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 move forward through the change process. Central to this stage was the

                                                                                                                                 Local
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 ECM (Pendergast et al., 2005), used in conjunction with John Kotter’s
       Initiation                                                                                                                                                    The Leading Change                          (1996) Eight step Leading Change Model and strongly guided by the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 principles garnered from the report, How the world’s most improved
       Introducing new language, philosophy
                                                                                                                                                                     Development Program
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 school systems keep getting better (Mourshed et al., 2010). Two hundred
       Focus on transition                                                                                                                                           The Program was designed for                and fifty-nine (259) schools were involved in the two-day conferences held
                                                                                                                                                                     schools just commencing this                in the seven regions around the state.
       Establish leadership model
                                                                                                                                                                     journey, as well as for other
       Develop knowledge base around junior secondary                                                                                                                purpose-designed schools,                   For the two-day conferences, the delivery team developed a comprehensive
       learners                                                                                                                                                      including those that had been pilot         suite of resources. These were made available to all schools via a USB
       Establish quality teaching model: structures,                                                                                                                 schools. The Program aimed to               device for each school and access to a purpose-built interactive website.
       protocols and practices                                                                                                                                       work with all schools to further            Resources provided theoretical information and evidence-based research
       Plan and establish evidence principles
       Development
       Implement and refine junior secondary quality
       teaching model
       Encourage emerging leadership
       Facilitate learning communities for teachers
       Use and extend evidence sources
       Develop support structures to enable sustainability
       of reform
       Plan and implement, revise and renew
       Consolidation
       Refine quality teaching practice
       Lead and support others
       Build capacity, ownership and sustainable practices

      KEY:          Commencing                Working towards increased complexity                       Achieved at complex level

      12                                      Adolescent Success – Volume 15 – Number 2 – November 2015 – www.adolescentsuccess.org.au                               Adolescent Success – Volume 15 – Number 2 – November 2015 – www.adolescentsuccess.org.au                             13
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      related to adolescent learners,           focused on a reflection tool for             readiness for the change in 2015.                                 approach had a clear focus on the           They worked through a discussion process to reach agreement on each
      the six Guiding Principles, the           schools to consider progress to date,        The one-day workshop delivered                                    school leaders. The objective was to        item to determine their response on a one to five point Likert scale for
      ECM and quality teaching                  revisit goals and responsibilities,          in seven regions constituted the                                  enable them to ensure that all high         each of the 15 core components in each of the three stages of the ECM.
      strategies. Information, PowerPoint       and seek feedback. The ECM data              final phase of the Program. The                                   schools were ready to accept Year 7         Participants were also asked to indicate their assessment of where they
      presentations, and activities were        collected in Stage 1 enabled school          one-day workshops were structured                                 students into their junior secondary        believed their school was located according to the stages of the ECM.
      developed for twenty-eight topics         Action Plans to be developed. These          around the concept of best practice,                              structure. It also aimed to enhance
      ranging from effective practices          plans were aimed to target areas             with a focus on three key themes:                                 and improve pre-existing junior             Findings
      for adolescent learners to building       that had the potential to inhibit            Transition, Quality Teaching, and                                 secondary models with sound                 Table 5 shows the number of respondents’ assessment of their school’s
      teams within schools. Leadership          reform.                                      Evidence-based Practice. Sessions                                 philosophical and educational               stage overall, combined for all regions. While the ECM has three defined
      teams were informed that they                                                          throughout the day were structured                                practices in place. This readiness          phases, respondents indicated on a Likert scale and hence many indicated
      could use or adapt these resources        Once schools uploaded their                  around best practice for the                                      was to be inclusive of preparing
                                                documents to the Leading Change                                                                                                                            being part way between stages, as indicated by the numbers in the second
      to best suit their contexts. During                                                    themes, followed by presentations                                 teachers for this significant shift,        and fourth columns (titled Cusp) of the ECM stage portion.
      the two-day conference, evaluation        website, coaches evaluated the               from selected schools in each                                     enabling them to be self-efficacious
      tools were administered to gather         documents and provided written               region to share effective practice                                and thereby better positioned
                                                feedback. This included comments,                                                                                                                          Table 5: Perceived Education Change Model phase for
      evidence regarding: each leadership                                                    on the themes. Following school                                   to improve student learning in
      team’s perceptions of (a) the efficacy    recommendations for future                   presentations, school leadership                                  general.
                                                                                                                                                                                                           school population
      of their teachers to teach in junior      direction, or additional resources.          teams engaged in activities that
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Education Change Model phase
      secondary, (b) their school’s stage of                                                 provided them with the structure
      reform based on the ECM, and (c)
                                                    Of the 259 schools, 114
                                                                                             and tools to reflect on different                                 Using the Education                                                                               Consoli-
                                                    (44%) engaged in Milestone                                                                                                                                      Initiation                Development
      the effectiveness of the conference                                                    aspects of their school’s progress                                Change Model as an                                                                                 dation     TOTAL
                                                    1 (developing an Action                                                                                                                                     Mid           Cusp           Mid          Cusp
      program as professional learning.
                                                    Plan); 71 (25%) in Milestone
                                                                                             in each area and to consider                                      evaluation tool
                                                                                             other strategies that could further                                                                                39             15            115           37      41          247
                                                    2 (refining the Action Plan);                                                                              During the Program, evaluation
      Stage 2                                       and 60 (23%) in Milestone 3
                                                                                             support or enhance their junior
                                                                                             secondary program. Schools were                                   tools were used to gather evidence
      Stage 2 involved a coaching                   (reflecting on the outcomes).
                                                                                             given opportunities to network                                    from school leaders about: (a) the          As can be seen in Table 5, 54 schools indicated they were in the Initiation
      program individualised around                 Regional engagement ranged
                                                                                             and to share their successes in their                             efficacy of their teachers to teach in      phase, 152 in the Development phase, and 41 in the Consolidation phase
      clusters of schools to provide                widely, from 71% to 10% for
                                                                                             program implementation efforts.                                   junior secondary, (b) their school’s        at the time the survey was administered. For each school, the process
      ongoing support over a period of              various milestones.                                                                                        stage of reform based on the ECM,           provided the opportunity to identify areas of strength and weakness
      months for each school leadership                                                      During the one-day workshops,                                     and (c) the effectiveness of the            for each of the 15 core components, thereby enabling a focus on these
      team. Each school had the                                                              evaluation tools used in the
                                                In addition to the coaching process,                                                                           conference program as professional          components at the appropriate stage of reform. In this way, plans to
      opportunity to participate in a                                                        two-day conferences were used
                                                four webinars were presented on                                                                                learning. This paper now discusses          address possible inhibitors and dips in the reform process could be
      coaching process, although the                                                         again to develop longitudinal
                                                topics that were most frequently                                                                               how the ECM was employed at                 initiated by the leadership team.
      original design was mandatory                                                          understandings of: (a) each
                                                requested by school leaders                                                                                    the end of the three stages of the
      participation. All 259 schools                                                         leadership team’s perceptions of the                                                                          The respondents were also asked why they chose the phase as indicated.
                                                during the two-day conferences.                                                                                Program as a reflection tool for
      were placed in 22 clusters that                                                        efficacy of their teachers to teach in                                                                        Figure 1 presents a concept map (generated through the use of Leximancer
                                                The overall satisfaction with the                                                                              school leaders.
      were negotiated with regional                                                          junior secondary; (b) their stage of                                                                          (Smith, 2006)) of a content analysis of the responses explaining how they
      representatives.                          coaching, from participants who
                                                                                             reform based on the ECM; and (c)                                                                              determined their school’s ECM phase. There are two main themes, each
                                                completed the survey administered                                                                              The participants
                                                                                             the effectiveness of the conference                                                                           represented by a circle, with the size of the circle indicating the number of
           Each cluster included                at the one-day workshops (88                                                                                   Each school had up to three school
                                                                                             program as professional learning.                                                                             comments related to the theme.
           approximately ten schools            responses), was an overall mean                                                                                leaders present. Two-hundred and
           and was allocated two                of 7.2 out of 10 and mode of                                                                                   forty-seven of the 259 school teams         The comments have been analysed according to the associated phase:
                                                8 out of 10. This indicates that                 Underpinning the Program
           professional coaches. For                                                                                                                           from seven regions across the state         Initiation, Development or Consolidation (shown in red). Two themes
                                                the most common response for                     design was clear evidence
           three to four months the                                                                                                                            completed a survey that asked               emerged from the data: ‘developing in some areas’ (100% connectivity)
                                                overall satisfaction was 8 out of 10,            that ‘purposeful professional
           coaches were available                                                                                                                              schools to consider the ECM core            being common of the comments from respondents identifying being
                                                indicating that most participants                learning for teachers and
           for direct support to assist                                                                                                                        elements and hence map their stage          in the Initiation and Development phases. The theme of ‘awaiting Year
                                                were very satisfied with the                     school leaders is one of the
           schools with their junior                                                                                                                           of reform.                                  7s’ was common to respondents identifying being in the Initiation and
                                                coaching program (Pendergast et                  most effective strategies for
           secondary ‘Action Plans’                                                                                                                                                                        Consolidation stages. In other words, the respondents indicated they are in
                                                al., 2014).                                      improving student outcomes
           and to provide feedback and                                                                                                                         The survey instrument                       this phase because Year 7s had not yet joined the school.
                                                                                                 in our schools’ (AITSL, 2012,
           advice on three structured                                                            p. 6).                                                        The survey instrument was an
           milestones.                          Stage 3                                                                                                        electronic or paper-based list of the
                                                Stage 3 provided an opportunity                                                                                15 core components for each stage
                                                for the school leadership teams to           With this Project, continuing and
      These documents were designed                                                                                                                            of the ECM. Respondents were
                                                reflect on and share their Action            targeted professional development
      around an action learning model                                                                                                                          invited to indicate the degree to
                                                Plan achievements and their                  was at the core of the strategy. This
                                                                                                                                                               which the component was in place.

      14                                       Adolescent Success – Volume 15 – Number 2 – November 2015 – www.adolescentsuccess.org.au                        Adolescent Success – Volume 15 – Number 2 – November 2015 – www.adolescentsuccess.org.au                               15
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      Figure 1: Thematic analysis of responses explaining stage of                         school reform literature and a                                        [O]nce new policies are adopted,
      the Education Change Model                                                           broadening understanding around                                       there is little follow-up. Only
                                                                                           adolescent development and state                                      10% of the policies considered in
                                                                                           and national education agendas                                        this dataset have been evaluated
                                                                                           focused on young adolescents.                                         for their impact. Measuring
                                                                                                                                                                 policy impact more rigorously and
                                                                                               Mourshed et al. (2010)                                            consistently will not only be cost
                                                                                               observed that major                                               effective in the long run, it is also
                                                                                               improvements in education                                         essential for developing the most
                                                                                               systems often have their                                          useful, practicable and successful
                                                                                               impetus grounded in a spark,                                      education policy options (OECD
                                                                                               typically being either a crisis                                   2015, p. 20).
                                                                                               or a major reform agenda, as
                                                                                               in this case.                                                 A key recommendation following
                                                                                                                                                             this major change in Queensland
                                                                                           Concerns had been raised around                                   state education is the need for
                                                                                           Queensland students’ literacy and                                 an appropriate evaluation of the
                                                                                           numeracy scores against national                                  reform. The timing of this should
                                                                                           and international benchmarks for                                  be informed by the ECM, which
                                                                                           more than a decade. There was also                                indicates a suitable timeline for
                                                                                           a national focus on the middle years                              evaluation is after most schools
                                                                                           of learning and state reform centred                              have located themselves in the
                                                                                           on creating junior secondary in                                   Consolidation phase, that is, three
                                                                                           Queensland government high                                        to five years after the major reform,
                                                                                           schools. Notable about this project                               in 2018–2020.
                                                                                           is the resource investment to ensure
                                                                                           congruence between implementing
                                                                                           the reform and the willingness                                    Acknowledgments
                                                                                           of leadership teams to drive it in                                The Program team thank the
                                                                                           a sustainable and consistent way                                  Department of Education, Training
                                                                                           across the state. Using the ECM                                   and Employment, Queensland
      With respect to the larger node         their school as being in the final           as the underpinning platform of                                   for the vision, commitment and
      ‘developing in some areas’,             Consolidation phase of reform.               the Program provided a framework                                  collaboration in undertaking this
      respondents indicated that they         Terms such as ‘waiting’ and                  that had emerged out of an                                        important work.
      had achieved some of the core           ‘planning’ were typically used by            evidence-based project (Pendergast
      components but on balance, were         respondents. While this group was            et al, 2005) and informed by the
      in the second stage of the ECM,         smaller (41 of 247 schools), it was          literature in the field.
      that is, some components were           noteworthy that these respondents
      still developing. Also in this node     generally considered their school to         Looking ahead to the future,
      were respondents who assessed           be at Consolidation, hence focusing          it is pertinent to consider the
      themselves to be in the Initiation      on sustaining the reforms. This              insights from a recent report
      phase. Comments typically related       is somewhat ironic as, in general,           presented by the OECD (2015)
      to being ‘involved in the pilot’,       these schools were absent of Year            entitled Education policy outlook
      which applied to 20 of the schools,     7 students, so their reforms were            2015: Making reforms happen.
      ‘the nature of the school’, along       more likely to be around Year 8 and          The authors reveal the scale and
      with ‘improvement’, ‘continue’,         Year 9 changes of practice.                  scope of education reforms being
      ‘developing’, ‘time’ and ‘progress’;                                                 undertaken in the 34 OECD
      all themes that captured the notion                                                  member countries and detail more
      of continuing on the journey of         Final thoughts                               than 450 separate initiatives in the
      reform.                                 The Program played an important              past seven years. One of the most
                                              role in this major reform agenda             important observations of this
      For the second node ‘awaiting Year                                                   collection is:
      7s’, there was a strong connection      in Queensland schools. It was
      with leadership teams who assessed      informed by the international

      16                                     Adolescent Success – Volume 15 – Number 2 – November 2015 – www.adolescentsuccess.org.au                        Adolescent Success – Volume 15 – Number 2 – November 2015 – www.adolescentsuccess.org.au   17
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           References                                              Main, K. (2013). Australian middle years’
                                                                   reform: A focus on teachers and leaders
                                                                                                                        Smith, A. E. (2006). Evaluation of
                                                                                                                        unsupervised semantic mapping of
                                                                   as the subjects and agents of change. In I.          natural language with Leximancer concept
           Australian Curriculum, Assessment and                   R. Haslam, M. S. Khine & S. I.M. (Eds.),             mapping. Behaviour Research Methods,
           Reporting Authority (ACARA). (2013).                    Large scale reform and social capital building:      38(2), 262–279.
           National assessment program: Literacy and               The professional development imperative (pp.
           numeracy. From http://www.nap.edu.au/                   180–197). London, UK: Routledge.                     Stevens, R. J. (2004). Why do educational
           naplan/naplan.html                                                                                           innovations come and go? What do we
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           Australian Council for Educational                      the middle years. In D. Pendergast &                 Teacher Education, 20(4), 389–396.
           Research (ACER). (2012). Junior secondary               N. Bahr (Eds.), Teaching middle years:
           – Theory and practice. Brisbane, Qld:                   Rethinking curriculum, pedagogy, and                 Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory
           Queensland Government, Department of                    assessment (pp. 88–99). Crows Nest, NSW:             Group (TEMAG). (2014). Action now:
           Education and Training.                                 Allen & Unwin.                                       Classroom ready teachers. From https://
                                                                                                                        docs.education.gov.au/system/files/doc/
           Australian Institute of Teaching and School             Masters, G. (2009). A shared challenge:              other/150212_ag_response_-_final.pdf
           Leadership (AITSL). (2012). The Australian              Improving literacy, numeracy and science
           charter for the professional learning of teachers       learning in Queensland primary schools.              Vagle, V. (2012). Not a stage! A critical
           and school leaders. Carlton South, VIC:                 Camberwell NSW: ACER.                                re-conception of young adolescent education.
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                                                                   Ministerial Council on Education,
           Daraganova, G., Edwards, B., & Sipthorp,                Employment, Training and Youth                       Wordsworth, M. (2015). Queensland
           M. (2013). Using National Assessment                    Affairs (MCEETYA). (2008). Melbourne                 students most improved NAPLAN test takers
           Program—Literacy and Numeracy                           declaration on educational goals for young           but remain behind national average. From
           (NAPLAN) data in the Longitudinal Study                 Australians. Melbourne: Commonwealth                 http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-05/
           of Australian Children (LSAC). Canberra,                of Australia (Ministerial Council on                 queensland-students-improved-naplan-but-
           ACT: Commonwealth of Australia.                         Education, Employment, Training and                  behind-national-average/6672436
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           Department of Education and Training
           (DET). (2010). A flying start for Queensland            Mourshed, M., Chijioke, C., & Barber,
           children. Brisbane, QLD: Department of
           Education and Training.
                                                                   M. (2010). How the world’s most improved
                                                                   school systems keep getting better. From http://
                                                                                                                      About the authors
                                                                   mckinseyonsociety.com/how-the-worlds-              Prof Donna Pendergast
           Dinham, S., & Rowe, K. (2007). Teaching                 most-improved-school-systems-keep-
           and learning in middle schools: A review of             getting-better/                                    Griffith University
           the literature. Camberwell, Vic: ACER.                                                                     Queensland
                                                                   Middle Years of Schooling Association
           Fullan, M. (2001). Leading in a culture of              (MYSA). (2008). MYSA position paper:               d.pendergast@griffith.edu.au
           change. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.                     Middle schooling people, practices and places.
                                                                   Brisbane: Middle Years of Schooling
           Garvis, S., Pendergast, D., Twigg, D.,                  Association.                                       Dr Katherine Main
           Fluckiger, B., Kanasa, H., Phillips, C.,                                                                   Griffith University
           . . . Leach, D. (2013). The Victorian                   National Middle School Association
           early years learning and development                    (NMSA). (2001). This we believe – and now
           framework: Managing change in a complex                 we must act. Westerville, OH: National             Dr Georgina Barton
           environment. Australasian Journal of Early              Middle School Association.
           Childhood, 38(2), 86–94.
                                                                                                                      Griffith University
                                                                   Organisation for Economic Cooperation
           Goos, M., Mills, M., Gilbert, R., Gowlett,              and Development (OECD). (2015).                    Dr Harold Kanasa
           C., T., W., Renshaw, P., . . . Honan, E.                Education policy outlook 2015: Making
           (2008). Longitudinal study of teaching and              reforms happen. From http://dx.doi.                Griffith University
           learning in Queensland state schools (Stage 1).         org/10.1787/9789264225442-en
           Brisbane, Qld: Department of Education,
           Training and the Arts.                                  Pendergast, D. (2006). Fast-tracking
                                                                                                                      Dr David Geelan
                                                                   middle schooling reform: A model for               Griffith University
           Hattie, J. (2003). Teachers make a difference,          sustainability. Australian Journal of Middle
           what is the research evidence? Paper presented          Schooling, 6(2), 13–18.
           at the Australian Council for Educational                                                                  Dr Tony Dowden
           Research Annual Conference, Building                    Pendergast, D., Flanagan, R., Land, R.,            University of Southern Queensland
           Teacher Quality Research Conference,                    Bahr, M., Mitchell, J., Weir, K., . . . Smith,
           Melbourne. http://research.acer.edu.au/                 J. (2005). Developing lifelong learners in the
           research_conference_2003/4                              middle years of schooling. Brisbane, Qld: The
                                                                   University of Queensland.
           Kotter, J. (1996). Leading change. Boston,
           MA: Harvard Business School Press.                      Pendergast, D., Main, K., Kanasa, H.,

           Kotter, J., & Cohen, D. (2002). The heart
                                                                   Barton, G., Hearfield, S., Geelan, D., &           Feel strongly about this?
                                                                   Dowden, T. (2014). An ongoing journey:
           of change. Boston, MA: Harvard Business                 Evaluation of the junior secondary leading         Why not share it with a
           School Press.                                           change development program. Brisbane, Qld:
                                                                   DET.                                               colleague.
           Luke, A., Elkins, J., Weir, K., Land, R.,
           Carrington, V., Dole, S., . . . Stevens, L.             Queensland Government. (2015). Year 7
           (2003). Beyond the middle: A report about               is moving to high school. From https://www.
           literacy and numeracy development of target             qld.gov.au/education/schools/programs/
           group students in the middle years of schooling
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           Group.

      18                                                       Adolescent Success – Volume 15 – Number 2 – November 2015 – www.adolescentsuccess.org.au                                       Adolescent Success – Volume 15 – Number 2 – November 2015 – www.adolescentsuccess.org.au   19
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      Towards sustainable
      language and literacy                                                                                                    Abstract

      practices for teacher                                                                                                    In response to the need for a sustainable language and literacy practice that ensures middle school
                                                                                                                               students’ success in writing, a co-educational, Roman Catholic college in South Australia engaged its
                                                                                                                               teachers and students in a three-year project known as The Writing Project. The project aimed to develop

      learning in a secondary                                                                                                  student skills and competence in writing to ensure all students met the language and literacy demands
                                                                                                                               of the curriculum. It also aimed to build the capacity of teachers across learning areas. This article
                                                                                                                               focuses on the capacity-building aspect of the project. It examines the teachers’ positive perceptions of
                                                                                                                               their own development as teachers of writing and the extent to which the project has impacted on their

      context: A focus on writing.                                                                                             practice. This article contributes to knowledge about sustainable teacher learning through a project
                                                                                                                               approach and creates an understanding of what constitutes successful pedagogical practices in middle
                                                                                                                               school writing classes.

                                           Dr Nina Maadad and Ms Beverley White                                                Keywords: literacy; language; sustainable practice; writing; secondary education

      20       Adolescent Success – Volume 15 – Number 2 – November 2015 – www.adolescentsuccess.org.au                        Adolescent Success – Volume 15 – Number 2 – November 2015 – www.adolescentsuccess.org.au               21
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      Introduction                            The Australian Curriculum defines                improvement in Australia’s                                    students’ writing skills, whether           Context of study                               The last aim, building teacher
                                              students’ production of texts                    rate of Year 12 completion or                                 narrative or argument, relative to                                                         capacity, is directed at supporting
      Developing sustainable language                                                                                                                                                                    The context of this study is a
                                              as ‘composing texts’ (ACARA,                     equivalent.                                                   the demands of their year level;                                                           teachers to develop a deeper
      and literacy practices is essential                                                                                                                                                                metropolitan, co-educational,
                                              2013b). This capability is based                                                                               explicitly teaching the increasing                                                         understanding of the discourse
      to enable equitable access to the                                                                                                                                                                  pre-school to Year 12, Roman
                                              on a social model of language,               Consequently in 2008, the                                         complexity as students move to                                                             of their own subject areas with
      curriculum and successful senior                                                                                                                                                                   Catholic college in South Australia.
                                              requiring students to write for a            National Assessment Program –                                     higher levels. It has to be stressed                                                       scaffolding as a key pedagogical
      schooling years for all students.                                                                                                                                                                  The school has experienced rapidly
                                              range of purposes and contexts.              Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN)                                    that developed writing skills would                                                        approach. This will enable students
      Concerning both policy-makers                                                                                                                                                                      changing demographics in recent
                                                                                           was introduced for Years 3, 5, 7                                  be beneficial for students preparing                                                       to engage cognitively, affectively,
      and educators, the complex task                                                                                                                                                                    years. It has changed from single
                                              In middle schooling, this requires           and 9. This assessment program                                    for subsequent years as they work                                                          and skilfully with the required
      of improving literacy is one aim                                                                                                                                                                   sex to co-educational, and the
                                              students’ master various discourses          includes students’ ability to                                     towards achieving their South                                                              language demands.
      of national initiatives around the                                                                                                                                                                 proportion of English as Additional
                                              across a breadth of studies over             compose written texts. These                                      Australian Certificate of Education
      globe. For example,                                                                                                                                                                                Language or Dialect (EALD)
                                              several years. The texts, whether            tests provide data to ‘inform                                     (SACE), and further learning in
                                              web-based or text-based, become              the development of strategies to                                  either vocational or university
                                                                                                                                                                                                         students increased to 18% in                   Writing and the teaching
      •    the National Literacy Strategy                                                                                                                                                                2012. School surveys show that
           in the United Kingdom
                                              increasingly complex and                     improve literacy and numeracy                                     studies.                                                                                   of writing
                                                                                                                                                                                                         approximately 30% of parents did
                                              multimodal. Within this learning             skills of students in all schools                                                                                                                            Society expects that through
           (Literacy Taskforce, 2013;                                                                                                                                                                    not complete Year 12 and a further
                                              environment, there remains                   across Australia’ (ACARA, 2013b,                                  Since teaching students how to                                                             schooling, all children will learn
           Stannard & Huxford, 2007)                                                                                                                                                                     10% did not complete Year 10.
                                              considerable need for students to            p. 4).                                                            write can be considered a specialist                                                       to write. However, the challenges
                                                                                                                                                                                                         To ensure all students have access
      •    the No Child Left Behind Act       master written language skills to                                                                              skill, many teachers, across all                                                           for children are many as they
                                                                                                                                                                                                         to the curriculum, the secondary
           in the United States of America    demonstrate evidence of learning.            Data from the 2012 NAPLAN                                         curricular areas, require substantial                                                      learn the skills necessary for
                                                                                                                                                                                                         campus of the college embarked on
           (Federal Education Budget          Middle schooling demands written             persuasive writing task for Year 9                                professional education. Hence, the                                                         success with writing. Likewise,
                                                                                                                                                                                                         a three-year project to incorporate
           Project, 2013)                     language as a mode of assessment as          students (ACARA, 2012, p. 255)                                    relevance of The Writing Project                                                           ‘the challenges for teachers are
                                                                                                                                                                                                         the explicit teaching of writing in
                                              well as a mode of learning. Students         reported that:                                                    presented in this report.                                                                  equally daunting as they grapple
      •    The Melbourne Declaration                                                                                                                                                                     every subject from Year 8 to Year
                                              unable to meet this specific literacy                                                                                                                                                                     with trying to meet the diverse
           on Educational Goals for                                                            In Persuasive Writing, the                                                                                10. This endeavour was called The
                                              demand are disadvantaged and                                                                                                                                                                              needs of students, curriculum
           Young Australians of the           their progress through schooling                 percentage of students                                        Aim of this article                         Writing Project. The principal of
                                                                                                                                                                                                         the college expressed concern that             requirements and the expectations
           Australian Ministerial Council     may be hindered. Hence, this study               across Australia who                                          This article discusses part of              some students studying for their               of employers and the community’
           on Education, Employment,          focuses on developing teacher                    achieved at or above the                                      the results of implementing an              SACE could not compose written                 (Mackenzie, 2009, p.60). Writing
           Training, and Youth Affairs, or    capacity to explicitly teach the                 national minimum standard                                     intensive school-wide professional          assessment tasks without support.              has been defined as a means of
           MCEETYA (2008).                    written genres of their learning                 is low relative to the other                                  development program called The              The SACE represents choices for                expressing or communicating in
                                              areas, focusing on the grammar                   domains and other year                                        Writing Project. This article reports                                                      print (Mackenzie, Scull, & Munsie,
      Literacy currently includes                                                              levels (81.7%).                                                                                           students, be it academic study, a
                                              of written language. Continued                                                                                 on a particular segment of the                                                             2013). It is a complex cognitive,
      how learning is used beyond                                                                                                                                                                        vocational pathway or meaningful
                                              research in this area is essential as                                                                          program that focuses on teacher                                                            linguistic, and communicative
      the classroom in diverse social                                                      While this result has been                                                                                    employment, hence the principal’s
                                              many students in Australia are not                                                                             learning. It aims to describe, first,                                                      process that can be developed
      and cultural situations. Current                                                     consistent with the latest figures on                                                                         moral imperative that every student
                                              achieving the expected national                                                                                the teachers’ perceptions of their                                                         and nurtured (Whiteman, 2013).
      definitions of literacy encompass                                                    the persuasive writing component                                                                              achieved the SACE. In light of this,
                                              literacy rate. Concerns about this                                                                             own development as teachers of                                                             This requires both educators
      everything that students need to                                                     of the NAPLAN (ACARA 2014;                                                                                    the aims for The Writing Project
                                              cohort, commonly referred to as the                                                                            writing in their respective learning                                                       and students to understand the
      access the school curriculum and                                                     2013c) for the years 2013 (82.6%)                                                                             were:
                                              literacy tail, were reported to the                                                                            areas, and second, the extent to                                                           influence of the social context
      enjoy fully participating in life       Council of Australian Governments            and 2014 (81.8%), this does not
                                                                                                                                                             which professional learning has             1. develop skills and competence               on language choices for writing.
      beyond school. The Australian           (Love, 2010) and taken up in                 provide a complete picture of
                                                                                                                                                             impacted on their practice. This               in written language for all                 Students can then make informed
      Curriculum Literacy Capability          The Melbourne Declaration on                 students’ writing ability. NAPLAN
                                                                                                                                                             article will contribute knowledge              students across the curriculum              choices about the degree of
      prepared by the Australian              Educational Goals for Young                  is mainly assessed on the technical
                                                                                                                                                             about sustainable teacher learning                                                         technicality and the level of
      Curriculum, Assessment, and             Australians (MCEETYA, 2008, p.               side of writing and not on voice
                                                                                                                                                             and build an understanding                  2. improve SACE results for all                formality required for a topic,
      Reporting Authority or ACARA            5):                                          or style. The test is on-demand
                                                                                                                                                             of what constitutes successful                 senior students                             which is influenced by the roles
      (2013b, p.1) states that:                                                            and artificial, where some topics
                                                                                                                                                             pedagogical practices for lifelong                                                         and relationships between authors
                                                  … by comparison with the                 for writing are often not age-                                                                                3. support the language and                    and readers (Halliday, 1994).
      Literacy encompasses the                                                                                                                               learning, focusing on writing in
                                                  world’s highest performing               appropriate and confusing (Cox,                                                                                  literacy development for the                This knowledge not only equips
      knowledge and skills students                                                                                                                          middle school. Research adding to
                                                  school systems, Australian               2014). However, this outcome                                                                                     increasing number of EALD                   students in the middle school to
      need to access, understand,                                                                                                                            the collective knowledge of how
                                                  students from low                        suggests that work needs to be done                                                                              students, enabling equitable                make appropriate and powerful
      analyse and evaluate information,                                                                                                                      teachers can improve students’
                                                  socioeconomic backgrounds                for secondary schools to devise                                                                                  access to the curriculum                    language choices, it also develops
      make meaning, express thoughts                                                                                                                         literacy is important at both the
                                                  are under-represented                    strategies aimed at improving                                                                                                                                their abilities to become effective
      and emotions, present ideas and                                                                                                                        national and international levels.
                                                  among high achievers and                 student writing or student                                                                                    4. build teacher capacity and                  communicators as members of the
      opinions, interact with others and          overrepresented among low                attitudes towards writing. An ideal                                                                              expertise.                                  community in a range of social
      participate in activities at school         achievers... there is room for           situation would be to develop
      and in their lives beyond school.                                                                                                                                                                                                                 contexts.

      22                                     Adolescent Success – Volume 15 – Number 2 – November 2015 – www.adolescentsuccess.org.au                        Adolescent Success – Volume 15 – Number 2 – November 2015 – www.adolescentsuccess.org.au                                    23
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