A Teaching and Learning Cycle: a systematic and explicit approach to literacy teaching
DECS (2007) Teaching ESL students in mainstream classrooms: Language in learning across the curriculum*
What is the Teaching & Learning Cycle?A framework for systematically and explicitly scaffolding students to access and produce texts.It provides for the gradual release of responsibility, toward a point where students can independently and confidently construct a text for a major assessment task.
A programming tool for planning and sequencing teaching and learning, with an explicit focus on language and literacy.It considers:pre teaching preparation the skills and understandings students bring how to take students through a series of activities that will support language and literacy learning while subject content is taught.
The TLC is based on understanding the central role of language in learningLev Vygotsky saw the central role language plays in learning recognised importance of interaction with a more expert otherdeveloped the notion of the zone of proximal development (ZPD) argued that learning is maximised when students are supported to work in the upper limits of their ZPDbelieved that what a student can do with help today, s/he can do independently tomorrow.
The TLC is a framework for effective scaffolding in the classroomJerome Bruner believed that a learner (even of a very young age) is capable of learning any material so long as the instruction is organized appropriatelydeveloped the notion of scaffolding:with high challenge and high support new learning takes placesupport is provided at point of need and gradually withdrawn as learners become increasingly independent
Effective scaffoldingEffective scaffolding requires that:the teacher has a specific aim for the student to achieve: a finite goal.the teacher backward plans from this goal and provides teaching and learning activities that support and step the student towards achieving the goal.the student is then able to take up increased responsibility for achieving the goal, demonstrating a greater level of independence at some later stage.The aim of scaffolding is to gradually withdraw the support and handover full responsibility to the student.
1. Setting the context Developing the context: genre & register
establish what the students already knowgenerate interest and purpose for studying topicdevelop knowledge and understandings about the cultural context, genre, topicactivities move from experiential/everyday to abstract/technicalstudent experience learning through activity, excursion, film, guest speaker, etc
2. Modelling / Deconstruction
Develop learners understandings of the purpose, structure and language features of the target genre by:
examining the texts social purposewriting/reading a model textdeconstructing the text, identifying its structure: the key stages of the textfocusing on particular language features: identifying them in text, developing a shared metalanguage and developing control in using language features*
3. Joint construction
Teachers and learners together construct a text in the same genre and related topic to that required in independent construction (the target genre/text)The teacher asks questions, makes suggestions and provides re-wording where necessary, revisiting features of the target genreTo maximise success, prior to the joint construction session prepare and have accessible to all:notes/plans of key contentsummary of structure and language features of focus genre.
4. Independent construction
Students now apply their new understandings of the topic and text. This may be a new related topic or another aspect of the topic of study. If so, students need first to build up knowledge of their topic with independent, group or class research before writing the target text.Assessment criteria can be developed with, or provided to, students.Teacher provides explicit feedback on plans, drafts and the final piece.
A process for planning using this Teaching & Learning Cycle 1. Consult relevant curriculum documents to identify required learning and determine the specific content/topic of the unit.2. Design an assessment task that allows students to demonstrate their understandings at the required level.- which genre is most relevant and the most appropriate for measuring student performance in this learning context?3. Develop an exemplar in response to the task.4. Identify the language and literacy demands of the task and develop assessment criteria for success:- what do I need to make explicit to students in teaching this genre?- what specific structure & language features do I need to teach? - how will I teach these?- what criteria will I use to assess these?
5. Determine prior knowledge/understanding.- what do my students bring to this task?- what gaps do my students have?- how can I move them from where they are to where they need to be?6. Design teaching/learning program that includes plans to:- build students knowledge of the field- explicitly scaffold the genre required - sequence the literacy teaching/learning - provide explicit criteria and feedback for successful independent construction.
A process for planning using this Teaching & Learning Cycle - continued
Why is the Teaching & Learning Cycle useful?
Provides a rationale and framework for sequencing of teaching &learning activitiesFocuses on language learning and learning about languageA pedagogy which explicitly scaffolds learners to independence