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The Consolidated Literacy Working Group

Developing new teacher graduate’s ability to teach African languages and English First Additional language, with a special focus on reading
The set up and work of the Consolidated Literacy Working Group

The Consolidated Literacy Working Group (CLWG) was the result of a merger in late 2016 between two literacy working groups (both with a special focus on reading), one working on the teaching of literacy in African languages and the other working on the teaching of literacy in English First Additional language (FAL), together with some components that had originally been part of what became the Knowledge Management Working Group.

This merger has worked extremely well. Professor Kerryn Dixon was appointed as the authorised  Coordinator responsible for handling relationships with the host university – the University of the Witwatersrand. She worked intensively on the English FAL , and the work on African languages was led by Professor Elizabeth Pretorius. In mid-2018 Professor Dixon resigned as Coordinator and went on sabbatical and Ms Aneesha Mayet was appointed Project Manager for the group.

Activities of the group

Higher Education Institution audit
The group began its work with an attempt during 2016 and 2017 to collect information from the universities to enable analysis of the current and planned language and literacy components of their teacher training programmes. Unfortunately, this audit was badly hampered by the “Fees Must Fall” disruptions, but work has continued in 2018.
The Annotated bibliographies
An annotated bibliography Reading in the African Languages: An annotated bibliography 2004-2017 on research into early reading development (including decoding in languages with similar morphology and orthography) was completed by Professor Elizabeth Pretorius, placed on this website and launched at a workshop on 9 April 2018.

Follow up research will be done on the developing decoding strategies for African languages and a full literature review.

A similar annotated bibliography on Reading in English as an Additional Language is in preparation.

Developing Literacy teaching core competency standards
The brief for the Literacy teaching core competency standards sub-project was to do an Annotated list of readings on literacy teacher competencies and standards. This was completed in early 2018 and placed on the website.  This literature was then used for an analysis of language and literacy teaching  Consolidated Literacy Working Group (CLWG) competencies required by new teachers which would be compared with the presumed competencies developed in the actual courses/modules currently or about to be run by HEIs. From this analysis the CLWG engaged in an intensive process to develop its own draft of core competency standards that can be used to guide the development and delivery of components of teacher education programmes. A consultation was held on 4 May 2018 to examine these draft standards, a revision was made, and this second edition will be used in a wider consultation process.

Curriculum Framework
A sub-project to develop competency assessment items will then develop assessment of competency items for use by the Assessment Working group. Work will be done with this latter group to develop items and rubrics for assessing the achievement of core language and literacy teaching competencies. The CLWG will also consider where language items can be combined with literacy items.

A number of journal articles by Consolidated Literacy Working Group members have been placed on the website