School Case Study
List of Contents
2. The literacy strengths and weaknesses of the student
3. Strategies to use
In the modern education literacy is extremely important and
the lack of knowledge and sills in literacy can affect dramatically
other subjects which are not directly linked to the language
competency. This is why it is extremely important to pay a
particular attention to the development of students’
literacy which in actuality is the basis of the successful
learning in modern schools. Nevertheless, many students face
serious problems in this respect and they cannot really afford
the demands that many subject impose on them because of their
problems related to poor literacy. In fact, this was the major
problem William faced in the given case study. At the same
time, it should be said that similar problems are typical
for many other students. This is why it is necessary to develop
effective strategies that could really help solve the problem
of the lack of literacy skills and knowledge which threaten
to the further academic progress and successes of students.
The literacy strengths and weaknesses of the student
On analyzing the case of William, it should be pointed out
that the boy is not totally hopeless. In stark contrast, he
has not only literacy weakness but strengths as well. In this
respect, it is necessary to say that William has problems
with Science and Geography mainly, while he is quite strong
in all the other subjects since he has no such problems as
he has with the two subjects mentioned above. To put it more
precisely, his major weakness is the inability to adequately
understand terms that are used in Science and Geography. This
means that he is not very strong in the perception of complicated
scientific terms which he does not come across in his everyday
life. Moreover, he obviously needs to get used to the new
conditions of his life and learning since, as he spent a lot
of time in Asia, he could not fail to get used to a different
teaching style and where his literacy knowledge were probably
At the present moment, the boy has to get used to a new social
environment and new teaching style and learning process that
is naturally quite difficult and it is quite natural that
he turns to be quite weak in the process of adaptation to
the new demands, rules and norms, including not only learning
process at large, but also literacy since the demands in this
respect are obviously higher and more strict in Australia
than in Asian countries he used to study at.
In general, it should be said that the change of socio-cultural
environment inevitably affects the student’s literacy,
especially at such a young age as 10. The situation is complicated
by the situation within his family because the problems in
his relations with his parents and step-father also negatively
affect his learning and literacy.
Nonetheless, it is necessary to underline that William obviously
have certain strengths, regardless his current problems. For
instance, it is possible to estimate that he is quite good
in the subjects other but Geography and Science that means
that he can normally and successfully learn as long as there
are no complicated terms introduced. Furthermore, it is obvious
that the boy can be potentially a creative person since he
loves music that naturally contributes to his aesthetic development.
At the same time, music can enlarge his literacy skills if
the boy extrapolates what he listens into a written form and
attempt to analyze it in depth. In such a way, his love to
music may be a strong tool that can be used to overcome his
Also, it should be said that the boy is learning in a private
and very respectable school where he receives a lot of attention
that means that potentially he has all essential opportunities
to close his gaps in literacy and catch up other students
and be successful enough in such subjects as Science and Geography.
Moreover, William has even got a mentor who is supposed to
help him in overcoming his difficulties.
Anyway, it is necessary to remember that William is just a
10 years old boy and his knowedge and skills in literacy cannot
be fully formed yet and, thus, he has a serious potential
for the further development and growth. In this respect, his
past experience may be quite helpful since the years spent
in Asia could help not simply get acquainted with different
cultures but also with different languages and, probably,
he has acquired certain skills in foreign language or even
languages so that he just lacks the experience to extrapolate
them on his native language and improve his literacy.
Strategies to use
Taking into consideration the current problems of William,
it should be said that he mainly faces the problem of the
lack of comprehension of certain terms in Science and Geography.
Naturally, the strategies that should be applied in his case
should be focused on the elimination of any sort of incomprehension
and, consequently, be concentrated on the development of skills
of comprehension of new texts regardless certain problems
with understanding of terms that William has at the moment.
Obviously, the comprehension is really important since it
is not a secret that the essence of any successful learning
is comprehension because, if a student cannot understand some
important terms or interpret them correctly in a plausible
form, than he will hardly be able to understand the text or
the subject at large.
At the same time, it is worthy of mention that the essence
of reading comprehension is creating meaning and this is exactly
what William needs to learn. Obviously, on coming across an
abundance of complicated terms he simply stumbles and cannot
fully understand the meaning of the entire text or learning
material. Naturally, it is impossible to learn effectively
the subjects William has problems with if he cannot understand
the meaning of texts or learning materials because of the
lack of understanding of those terms.
In such a situation, the logical step to overcome the difficulties
in the learning process for William would be the development
of effective strategies targeting at the development of skills
and abilities to think for meaning. In this respect, it is
possible to develop different strategies and approaches to
develop these skills and abilities.
First of all, it is necessary to focus on predicting. It is
not a secret that many good readers start with quick glances
over the text and making some type of prediction about what
they are going to read. These strategies may be applied to
William’s learning and work with texts on Science and
Geography and the boy can be asked to make a prediction about
a text before he starts to work directly with the body of
the text. For instance, it is possible to look for familiar
words or topics that they boy knows well and that may be found
in a text. On perceiving these words, he will easier read
and understand the entire text since from the first glance
he can realize that this is not a total nonsense full of strange
terms but, in contrast, a text with well known words and topics
he perfectly understands. This approach is important in overcoming
William’s unwillingness or fear to learn Science and
Geography and work with the texts on these subjects. The familiar
words and topics William may encounter in such texts may trigger
thoughts from his own background knowledge about the topic
at large. Also this strategy may stimulate his desire to go
further just simply glancing and scheming of the text in search
for familiar words and topics. Being interested by familiar
words and topics William will be naturally interested in the
further reading of the entire text and its comprehension.
Furthermore, another strategy that may be recommended to use
after predicting, is monitoring. It should be said that, as
the reading process occurs, good readers are actively self
monitoring their understanding of the text. Normally, they
continue reading if the text makes sense and, what is more
important, if they do not understand the text they stop and
self-correct. In fact, this is what William has to learn or
to be taught to do. Obviously, his problems arise from the
fact that different terms he does not understand gradually
become more and more frequent or concentrated in his mind
as he reads a text to the extent that he eventually cannot
adequately perceive it. On the other hand, the root of this
problem ma y be found in the moment when the boy meet a term
that deteriorates his comprehension of the text but, as the
boy do not monitor himself, he skips this moment and keeps
reading till he encounters another term, and than more and
more such terms, while, if he applied the strategy of monitoring
he would rather stop reading when he encountered the first
term and he would more likely to understand its meaning from
the context. Similarly he could interpret all the other terms.
As a result, he would adequately perceive the entire text
and could understand it, or its basic points.
Also, it is possible to use such a strategy as confirming
which is very important. It should be said that good readers
are almost always aware of the goal of the reading, and at
certain points, they stop to confirm whether their earlier
predictions concerning the text are correct and whether the
reading meets its goals. At the same time, they may find that
the text corresponds to their similar thoughts about the topic
from their own background knowledge. William also should acquire
such skills of confirming since this will make sense of the
two previously discussed strategies and will keep the boy’s
interest to the learning material he attempts to understand.
Obviously, this approach can increase the effectiveness of
reading since the boy will be aware of what he actually reads
and what he reads for.
At the same time, it is equally obvious that the reading and
comprehension of the text are not self-sufficient. In stark
contrast, the basic goal of reading and learning of new material
is traditionally larger and implies that the reading will
stimulate the students’ further thinking. In such a
situation, it is necessary to underline that the use of reflection
may be also of a paramount importance to William’s improvement
of his literacy. In fact, reflecting targets at the constant
revisiting the text or learning material the student learns
or reads in the classroom. It proves beyond a doubt that William
does not pay much attention to reflection on Science and Geography
materials he learns in the classroom after classes. In such
a situation, it will be necessary to change such an attitude
to all the subjects and Science and Geography in particular.
It means that the comprehension of the texts and learning
materials on Science and Geography will be ineffective for
William because of his problems with their understanding.
In such a situation, if the boy manages to understand a text
or learning material in the classroom he will easily forget
it without revisiting. This is why he needs to revise what
he learns even after the classes.
Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is possible
to conclude that the problems of William are obvious and quite
serious but basically they are caused by certain gaps in his
literacy. To put it more precisely, he lacks the understanding
of specific terms which he cannot adequately perceive and
interpret and which make him unwilling to keep working on
learning materials. In such a situation, the strategies described
above could be effectively applied to William’s learning
since they contribute to the better comprehension of texts
and learning materials and, what is even more important, they
help develop essential skills of working with new texts and
learning material that can facilitate their comprehension.
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