Academic literacies in the middle years: a framework for enhancing teacher knowledge and student achievement

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In this book, I report on the design and application of a framework to support teachers’ development of a functional metalanguage for middle years discipline literacy instruction. The framework is based on design-based studies conducted with 100 teachers in five schools over three years. In its focus on discipline literacy instruction in diverse sociocultural settings, the volume responds to contemporary international curricula for English and literacy and the need for a strong evidence base for professional learning design. The metalinguistic framework designed for these studies is a 16-cell organising matrix, informed by systemic functional linguistic (SFL) theory. The dimensions of the matrix include four meaning systems and four language levels, resulting in its conceptualisation for teachers as ‘a 4 × 4 toolkit’. The matrix is designed to be populated with specific language resources, selected for a particular literacy context. The volume describes the theoretical and pedagogic design of the framework and presents a number of speci fic frameworks for middle years discipline writing instruction. I include findings of how middle years teachers have applied these as ‘4 × 4 toolkits’ for instruction, assessment and feedback, resulting in substantial literacy growth for their students.


Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education

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