CSC & Wikwemikong: Rethinking Adolescent Literacy

Earlier this month, I attended the World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education in support of Curriculum Service Canada’s (CSC’s) presentation. CSC’s consultant Brian Weishar, together with Mick Staruck from the Wikwemikong Board of Education, presented a reflection on their recent co-teaching project, entitled “Rethinking Adolescent Literacy: An Innovative Instructional Coaching Model.”

co-teaching adolescent literacy

Brian and Mick’s unique initiative involved placing a coach on-site in a First Nation school to work with the teaching staff in building on the knowledge teachers already have. It involved a collaborative approach in co-learning, co-planning, co-developing, co-assessing, and co-reflecting: truly the power of “co.”

With a sustained focus on adolescent literacy, teachers not only developed shared knowledge, skills, and understanding about reading and how to teach reading, but also learned to track and monitor learning goals, observations, interpretations, and implications. This kind of monitoring of learning tools and observations enables teachers across grades to consult about short- and long-term next steps. It has had a huge impact overall on student achievement for the Wikwemikong Board of Education as well as other results that lead to shared responsibility for supporting adolescent literacy as a team of teachers across all subject areas.

In the presentation, we heard about the power of the collaborative process and the positive impact that it had on both teachers and students. Through this process, they also engaged members of the community and students to develop their capacity to interview and create content by working with their elders which was positively received by students, teachers and community members.

Some of the critical success factors of this project were the embedded nature of the CSC coach and the ongoing relationship they had with local teachers to support deeper learning and practice change over time. This built both trust and a deep understanding that teachers were able to share and work on together. It also created a high degree of accountability to continue moving forward on a co-created agenda which continues to this day.

To discover more about this project’s success, download the free case study here.

By Amy Coupal

Amy Coupal I am CEO of Learnography and have been with the organization since 2006. I have a M.Ed. and have worked with the Toronto District School Board, Japan’s Osaka School Board, and the Learning Disabilities Association of Ontario before joining Learnography in 2006. I champion the role of the learner in the training process and advocate for all learning levels. From working closely with My Class Needs, to allocating resources to create free adult courses, I believe in true learning advocacy. I live in Toronto with my husband and children.

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