What's in a Name? Literacy and Linguistic Awareness: knowledge, understanding and teaching reading

Morag Hunter-Carsch

University of Leicester, UK

This paper concerns linguistic awareness and teachers' perceptions of its relevance in teacher training for the teaching of reading. It relates to both initial and continuing professional development. It draws upon a range of sources in order to consider teachers' needs in addressing matters of the relationship between "knowing about the reading process" and "making it work" in the classroom and through home-school links.

The sources of evidence include:
1) results of studies (1980s-1990s) emplying Morris's Linguistics in Teacher Education (LITE) questionnaire and other surveys with teachers in Initial Teacher Training (ITT) and Continuing Professional Development (CPD),
2) recent exploratory investigations of teachers' knowledge about language (KAL),
3) discussions with teachers on a range of course in the UK and conferences in Europe and beyond.

The findings suggest a trend, in the UK, towards wider recognition of the need for teachers to have increased linguistic awareness, knowledge and understanding in relation to the teaching of basic literacy. This is illustrated by recent developments in the National Literacy Project in England and Wales and the Teacher Training Agency's work on Teachers' Literacy Needs Assessment. Additionally, a simple procedure for identifying initial teacher trainees' needs for basic KAL is recommended.