Journal of Academic Language and Learning, Vol 10, No 2 (2016)

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Collaborating to embed the teaching and assessment of literacy in Education: A targeted unit approach

Sarah Veitch, Stephen Johnson, Caroline Mansfield


This paper discusses collaborations at an Australian university between lecturers from the Centre for University Teaching and Learning (CUTL) and lecturers in the School of Education. These collaborations focus on embedding the teaching and assessment of literacy in the undergraduate teacher education curriculum. The paper describes collaborative practices and outcomes intended to make literacy more explicit in teaching, learning and assessment in two compulsory Education units: a new transitional first year unit and an established foundational second year unit. Central to these collaborations is the strategy of embedding literacy through targeted units – core, compulsory units that mark a major step in students’ progress through the course. The targeted unit approach signals a change in the CUTL focus from working with at-risk students adjacent to their studies, to embedding and integrating academic language and learning (ALL) knowledge and capacities within the curriculum. This strategy reflects the broad shift in ALL practice from adjunct support of some students to an integrated curriculum that benefits all students. The underlying rationale for this practice is the inter-relationship of curriculum content and the skills and capacities required to successfully engage with it. The targeted unit approach focuses on integration with curriculum through a focus on the place and function of core units within courses of study. The implications for collaboration between disciplinary lecturers and ALL practitioners to embed literacy are discussed in terms of literacy in assessment, and a sustainable, targeted approach to the development of literacy across the curriculum.

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