Literacy is an essential foundation skill that allows young people to achieve at school, go on to further learning, and participate fully in society and work. With today’s learners faced with a myriad of traditional and digital literacies, there is an increased need for students to develop the skills to effectively navigate and decipher the constant information stream that surrounds them.
The digital age has facilitated the development of innovative literacy practices within the classroom, equipping students with the skills to tackle the outside world. Gone are the days where students are seen as passive recipients of knowledge and teachers are viewed as static transmitters of facts. Today’s pioneering classroom is all about knowledge construction, probing students to independently and collaboratively learn through the process of exploration, investigation, research, pursuit and study.
The past decade has seen students’ literacy repertoire extend beyond the traditional pillars of reading, comprehension, grammar and writing, to include digital and interactive applications. The Australian curriculum has explicitly addressed this shift, with specific curriculum strands now targeted at new literacies such as ‘multi-modal texts’ and ‘visual literacy’. Evidently, the teaching of literacy has and will continue to adapt and progress in line with the evolving mediums that students encounter.
It is imperative that we maintain the strong standard of Australian student literacy, which has been shown by independent and government studies to be amongst the highest in the world. In Australia we are fortunate to have access to high quality teaching and learning resources, and as such we have the capabilities to ensure that all students progress to higher literacy standards. As quality teaching is a key factor contributing to students’ literacy outcomes, teachers have and will continue to play a key role in ensuring students develop the skills
needed to lead literate lives in the 21st century.