SFL in Solomon Islands: A Framework for Improving Literacy Practices in Primary School
Assessing and reforming classroom literacy has become a preoccupation of nations worldwide, not the least in the Pacific where countries are often working toward literacy in English within multilingual contexts. In Solomon Islands, in 2013, the poor results in regional and local literacy testing precipitated a review of how the English language was taught in primary schools across this multilingual nation. In the subsequent reform of classroom literacy materials and associated training for teachers, a principled approach was taken using a Systemic Functional Linguistics framework. Such an approach uses a model of language instruction based on language strata together with explicit teaching within a learning cycle to support reading and writing. This article describes how such principles from sfl were embedded into new teaching materials for the early years of primary school and the accompanying training for teachers and principals that took place from 2014–2016. The work offers a potential model of reform for other settings where the development of literacy in a non-community language is critical to students’ success in schooling.
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