Literacy Seminar

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Literacy: developing high impact teaching and leadership strategies for improved student outcomes

Teacher Professional Development presented by the University of Auckland's Centre for Education Leadership and LENScience, in conjunction with the Woolf Fisher Research Centre, Faculty of Education, The University of Auckland.


Literacy - critical literacy questions for school leaders and teachers

  1. Why is subject area literacy important?

    Research tells us that knowing much more about the nature of literacy is important to not just English but to all curriculum areas. Literacy demands get more complex as students progress through their schooling, at the same time harder for teachers to address across classrooms.
  2. What do we need to know about effective literacy teaching?
    We now know that all teachers need to know much more than a set of generic literacy teaching activities. For example, the features of written text in their curriculum area, identifying misunderstandings that students have and which prevents their learning, how to identify what students need most to improve their reading and writing.
  3. What do we know about how to change?
    The ‘Learning Schools Model’ shows school leaders and teachers how to be more effective in developing literacy in curriculum areas. It helps schools to use evidence in solving teaching and learning problems, design structures that support student literacy learning, focus on variability within the school and across year groups both in and between schools.
  4. What don’t we yet know?
    There are areas where more research and development is needed to further support schools and their students in literacy. These include greater precision in what is ‘generic’ and what is ‘subject specific’, as well as optimising the transfer of teachers’ new professional knowledge about literacy to the classroom context for improving their students’ learning.

REGISTER NOW for this free and satellite broadcast to help students in your school and classrooms achieve better. It could be your most important professional learning decision this year!

Seminar Preparation 

The purpose of the preparation activity is to help you think about the changing demands of subject-literacy. It will be very useful to read the texts and consider the questions beforehand so that we can discuss concrete examples, and their implications, together at the seminar.  

1. What literacy knowledge and strategies do students need to read each text and complete subject-based tasks?

2. How are the texts similar and different in terms of the literacy challenges they might present for some students?

Text 1 - Year 11 English 

Text 2 - Year 11 Maths

Text 3 - Primary Science

Text 4 - Primary Science

Please feel free to discuss your thoughts on the text on the discussion page

Post a question for the seminar

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Live Stream of the Broadcast

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Seminar Chat

To enter the online live chat please click here. These questions will be answered during the seminar, either during the chat, or the broadcast.
Please use the School Login to enter the chat.  Please note that the chat room is only open on the day of the seminar.

Watch the Seminar

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You can also view the seminar by clicking on the play button below.


Professor Stuart McNaughton is Director of the Woolf Fisher Research Centre, a national and internationally recognised centre of research excellence on teaching, learning and development, in the Faculty of Education at The University of Auckland. His research focuses on literacy and language development, including the design of effective instruction and educational programmes for culturally and linguistically diverse populations. He has been a member of the New Zealand Government appointed Literacy Task Force and Chair of the New Zealand Literacy Experts Group. He has consulted with major policy agencies in New Zealand, Australia, Canada and Singapore on instructional change, curriculum design, and research and development collaborations with schools.
His publications include books on reading and instruction (Being Skilled: Socialisation of Learning to Read), emergent literacy (Patterns of Emergent Literacy: Processes of Development and Transition), papers and presentations on many aspects of teaching, learning and development in family and school settings. His most recent book Meeting of Minds develops theory about and extensive examples of effective literacy instruction for culturally and linguistically diverse children. His current research focuses on the properties of effective teaching of literacy and language in the context of research-based interventions with clusters of schools.

Aaron Wilson is a researcher at the Woolf Fisher Research Centre and National Coordinator for the Secondary Literacy Project. He is currently completing a PhD in subject area literacy and professional development. Before joining the Woolf Fisher Research Centre in 2009, Aaron was Team Leader of Secondary Literacy at Team Solutions in the Faculty of Education, where he managed professional development facilitators in English, cross-curricular literacy, and English for Speakers of Other Languages. Aaron was one of the writers of the Best Evidence Synthesis: Teacher Professional Learning and Development which investigated key attributes of effective professional development programmes. He recently wrote a series of online learning materials about leading effective literacy teaching in secondary schools for the Ministry of Education.


David Eddy is Executive Director of The University of Auckland Centre for Educational Leadership in the Faculty of Education. Prior, he was inaugural Director of the First-time Principals Programme, Principal of Glendowie College (Auckland), Assistant Director at the International School of Amsterdam (The Netherlands), Head of Humanities at the United World College of the Adriatic (Italy), and New Zealand’s representative teacher at the United Nations International School (New York).
David teaches and gives national and international presentations about educational leadership, co-authored journal articles and a chapter on developing educational leaders, and lectured in the educational leadership postgraduate programme. At The University of Auckland he has been responsible for educational leadership projects of approximately $14 million. Currently, he is Governance Facilitator of the new Ormiston Senior College (Auckland), Strategic Director of the First-time Principals Programme and Experienced Principals Development Programme. For service to international education he is the recipient of a UNICEF Award (Italy) and the Prince of Wales Medallion. For service to New Zealand education he is the recipient of a Sir Woolf Fisher Fellowship, an Auckland Citizens Award, the Secondary Principals Association of New Zealand Leadership in Education Award and Honorary Life Member of The University of Auckland Centre for Educational Leadership.