ASFLA Conference 2013 – Pre-Conference Workshop

Today saw the 2013 Australian Systemic Functional Linguistics Association Conference 2013 kick off with the pre-conference workshops. Given the work colleagues and I have been doing with Catholic Education Office, it was fantastic to hear Dr David Rose speak about his pedagogy.

David began by talking about the background of Reading to Learn, before focusing on the Detailed Reading step of the teaching and learning cycle, running participants through how to plan a detailed reading lesson and implement it in the classroom.

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The afternoon saw a simulation of a joint reconstruction of a sample text. Participants were positioned as students and recreated a passage from a narrative using the same language patterns. Students love this part of the cycle because it gives them the opportunity to imagine and play with language. They can also share their ideas and build on them and those of others prior to completing their independent construction.

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Finally, David took participants through a detailed reading of factual texts, which can be rich in language features that make it difficult for students to access content. These include metaphorical language, unfamiliar technical terms and abstract concepts. The Reading to Learn scaffolding helps students to decode such a text, but also to practise using these language features in their own writing.

The workshop was full of discussion and questions from people from Australia, Scandinavia and the United States with a range of experience in Reading to Learn. For some it was an introduction to David’s approach, for others it was useful to clarify understandings and be challenged to extend their prior professional learning and to network.

Throughout the day there were whispers of building more formal partnerships between the education systems in Melbourne, where Reading to Learn has been used for a decade, and Adelaide and Brisbane who have been working with the pedagogy for the past few years. With delegates from Scandinavia and the United States also in attendance, the potential for individual teachers, educator trainers and educational consultants to network and share ideas about and experience with the pedagogy is exciting!

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