1. Why bother?
The Graz model is a dynamic framework that supports teachers design classes that foster deep learning. It invites teachers to reflect on their current practice, rethink it by becoming more aware of the role literacy development plays in learning, and will help them redesign their lessons. By so doing, the lessons’ potential for deep learning will increase significantly.
2. What are the practical implications of the model?
The model has not been tested yet. However, once it is trialled in a variety of contexts with different kinds of teachers, learners and subjects the results of this process will be made available. If you would like to collaborate in the trialling process by developing materials and activities based on the model and testing them in your context, please contact us. The results of the piloting phase will feed into a user manual.
3. How does the concept of competences tie in with the model?
It is widely acknowledged that competence models have a number of shortcomings due to their dissociation from content. This model can act as an alternative because it fuses the conceptual and communicative continua.
4. If we are asking subject teachers to address the literacy demands in their subject in L1 [which they are often resistant to in the initial instance], how do we convince them to introduce it in the L2 [particularly in a country where the L1 is English]?
If the final expected outcome of education is a fully-functioning citizen, then deeper learning becomes essential. This kind of learning will only occur through a process of increasingly refining understanding, and this process requires communicating emerging understanding, and thus language. This means that any teacher who wants to facilitate deep learning needs to keep students’ language development in mind.
Teachers who teach through a foreign language, or an L2, normally have a heightened awareness of language and its role, and students who study through a foreign language are normally more prepared to focus on language too. Therefore, a subject taught in a foreign or second language may be the most natural and helpful context in which to initiate the awareness raising about the importance of language necessary to create opportunities for deep learning.
5. How flexible/ rigid is the model?
Every context is specific and so the model has to be flexible. It’s a dynamic teaching and learning model that can be applied to any language and any subject because it’s deeper than subject and language as it’s a fusion of both. It’s a framework that premises five key principles that can be applied to all subjects.
6. How can the model be put into practice? What are the practical implications?
In order to put this model into practice, teachers need to
- be willing to foster deep learning and understand the importance of languaging to make this kind of learning possible
- become aware of the literacy demands of their subject
- become familiar and comfortable with meaningful formative assessment strategies
The final implementation of this approach to learning will depend on meaningful planning of teaching. In order to help make this change possible, it is suggested that a community of practice is formed in schools.