Below are excerpts from an essay that discusses the various types of literacy that are required to be learned in NSW secondary schools. Literacy is an often debated topic, and with the additional of digital literacies to the curriculum, new methods are needed to teach the new types of literacies.


The question arises as to how the theories of social discourse and literacy can be implemented in the classroom. The Board of Studies NSW (2012, p. 25) states that English Stage 4 students “must study examples of spoken texts, print texts, visual texts, media, multimedia and digital texts”. In view of literacy, and multiliteracies, there are a wide choice of texts to meet the needs of the students in the classroom (Board of Studies NSW, 2012, p. 26). Various strategies will also help meet the needs of students. Strategies vary from ‘flipped classroom’, think-pair-share, see-think- wonder, use of prompt cards for spelling words, visual timeline to illustrate the plot of a story, brainstorming, graphic organisers, jigsaw, and modelling the construction of a text.

In regard to speaking and listening, an effective literacy-based strategy is the ‘flipped classroom’ where students are required to present information to their peers. For example, a Stage 4, Year 7 English class who are studying a unit on Sustainability might view an artist’s impression of a trash-filled scene and discussing it in class using the see-think-wonder strategy. The year 7 students are then encouraged to create their own trash scene with a caption that promotes a sustainable lifestyle. The literacy

tool for this task is Minecraft which is popular with young people, has an emphasis on problem-solving, and is a highly visual environment. Students will be asked to write down what they know about Minecraft and how it relates to creating a trash scene. Students will to teach their peers about the capabilities of Minecraft – the images will appear on the Interactive White Board – in order to create images that are a product of critical analysis of a previous visual text. As the students lead the class by teaching about the gaming program, the classroom is effectively ‘flipped’. This method allows students to research, write, speak, and it accesses the higher-order thinking in Blooms Taxonomy (Krathwohl, 2002, p. 215) through analysing, evaluating and creating.

In conclusion, being literate “is more than the acquisition of technical skills” (NSW English Syllabus K-10, 2012, p. 29). Literacy arouses public debate regarding its meaning, purpose, and implementation in the classroom. With this in mind, teachers of English focus on speaking and listening, reading and viewing, and writing and composing, in order to “develop personal and social capability” (ACARA, n.d., para. 6) in their students. Many strategies can be used to implement the areas discussed, and the flipped classroom, tapered spelling list, and think-aloud model have been highlighted in this paper. Multiliteracies are becoming increasingly relevant and a powerful learning tool, while traditional forms of literacy are changing in order to meet the literacy demands of our future leaders.






Australian, Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), (n.d.). English: Overview. Retrieved from creative-thinking

Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), (2013). Literacy. Retrieved from

Board of Studies NSW, (2012). English K-10 Syllabus. Retrieved from

Callow, J. (2011) When image and text meet: teaching students with visual and multimodal texts. PETAA paper, no. 181, 2011, pp. 1-8

Cornish, L. & Garner, J. (2009) Language in the classroom. In: Promoting student learning / by Linley Cornish and John Garner. 2nd ed. Frenchs Forest, NSW : Pearson Education Australia, 2009. Chapter 7, pp. 242-281

Derewianka, B. & Jones, P. (2012). Teaching Language in Context. Oxford University Press, Australia.

Freebody, P. & Luke, A. (c2003) Literacy as Engaging with new forms of Life : The ‘ Four Roles ‘ Model In: The Literacy Lexicon / Edited by Geoff Bull and Michèle Anstey. 2nd ed. Frenchs Forest, N.S.W.: Prentice Hall, c2003, Chapter 4, pp.51-65

Gee, J. (2003) Literacy and Social Minds In: The Literacy Lexicon / Edited by Geoff Bull and Michèle Anstey. 2nd ed. Frenchs Forest, N.S.W.: Pearson Education, 2003, Chapter 1, pp. 3-14

Kalantzis, M. & Cope, B. (n.d.). New Learning. Retrieved from

Knapp, P. & Watkins, M. (2005). Genre, text, grammar: Technologies for teaching and assessing writing. UNSW Press

Krathwohl, D. (2002). Revising Bloom’s Taxonomy. Retrieved from

Kress, G. (2010). Multimodality: A Social Semiotic Approach to Contemporary Communication. Routledge Press.

Lankshear, C. & Snyder, I. & Green, B. (2000) Understanding the changing world of literacy, technology and learning In: Teachers and Technoliteracy: Managing literacy, technology and learning in schools / Colin Lankshear and Ilana Snyder with Bill Green. St Leonards, N.S.W.: Allen & Unwin, 2000, Chapter 2, pp. 23-47

Macken-Horarik, M. (1996) Literacy and learning across the curriculum : towards a model of register for secondary school teachers In: Literacy in society / [edited by] Ruqaiya Hasan and Geoff Williams. London ; New York : Longman, 1996. Chapter 8, pp. 232-278

Macken-Horarik, M. & Adoniou, M. (2008). Genre and Register in Multiliteracies, In: B. Spolsky and F. Hult (Eds. ) Handbook of Educational Linguistics, Blackwell, MA, Oxford, Victoria, pp. 367- 382.

Mojang, (2015). Minecraft. Retrieved from

NSW Department of Education and Training, (2007). Writing and Spelling Strategies. Retrieved from ms/lrngdificulties/writespell.pdf

Unsworth, L. (2001). Developing Multiliteracies in Content Area Teaching In:

Teaching Multiliteracies Across the Curriculum : Changing contexts of text and image in classroom practice / Len Unsworth. Buckingham, England; Philadelphia: Open University, 2001, Chapter 7, pp. 220-259

Winton, T. (2008). Blueback. Penguin Australia.