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The Year 9 – Ecosystems teaching unit from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority [GBRMPA] (2011), hereafter referred to as ‘the unit’, utilises a variety of resources which promote scientific literacy. Each of these can be examined for its position within the multiliteracies framework and the four resources model. In many cases, resources and strategies incorporate multiple components of these models.

The unit addresses indicators to achieve literacy in “speaking and listening”, “reading and viewing” and “writing and designing” (GBRMPA, 2011, p26). Overall, scientific literacy is well considered, however, suggestions for additional resources and strategies provide options to further enhance the literacy capabilities of this unit of work.

Teaching unit

In this work, we will look at the literacy instruction that one may employ in a teaching unit on waste that has been set   for the 2nd-grade student. It has been analyzed using the four resources model society as well as the multiliteracy framework. Several strategies have been proposed to enhance the student's literacy development as well as the development of specific literacy in this teaching unit. (McIlvenny, 2013)

Cool Australia has advanced the unit of instruction for the grade 2 students on waste. The unit was chosen to examine how an interactive unit can operate to discourse particular out come as well as the needs of the student. Guidelines were followed in the preparation of the teaching unit. (Table 1)  (Loughland, 2016).

Activity  number

Activity name


Australian curriculum description


What is waste What waste do I make

30 minutes

Man created the waste and it is everywhere. He created  the plastic bags,  the cans, disposable  bottlers among others. This was  good as  it helped man while  shopping   but  later  the earth was  covered with litter if plastic bags, bottles with nowhere to sit   or walk.

2( Tuning in)

Snappy science – make a lava lamp

45 minutes in  classroom

15 minutes in the  field

Recycling of waste

3( tuning in )

Snappy  science – make  your own plastic bags

100 minutes

Develop questions and  hypothesis on waste

Recycling of waste


Compost  cycle

Waste  breakdown

What happens  to our waste

100 minutes

Use  the scientific knowledge  to come up with conclusion that is related  to the evidence.


Classroom waste  plan


Students describe various  ideas or opinions  on  how to  cut  down waste .


Cutting waste in classroom and  local community

120 minutes

Application of the students learning in real life  in the community  and classroom on how to deal with waste

The new London group formulated the multi literacy framework because of the different languages as well as cultural differences. The multi literacy pedagogy has four components namely the overt instruction, critical farming, situated practice as well as the transformed practice. Below is the description of the four elements of the multi literacy framework. (Cope, 2009).

In creating the teaching unit one need to incorporate situated practice so that the students can get the opportunity to contribute to the knowledge. The situated practice is whereby the children are given the opportunity to take part in the investigation of individual projects giving them new opportunities. For instance, in my teaching unit of waste in the second and third step, I used situated practice whereby students came up with various things such as making the lava lamp. It gives the student the chance to build on his understanding of reducing waste by recycling it to products that are more useful. The situated practice was also used in the fourth activity whereby the students are given the opportunity to bring their experience as well as knowledge in the class by researching. The student demonstrates both the knowledge and what they have added to it in coming up with the conclusions.( Cope, 2009).

When one uses the overt instruction in teaching, he allows the student to conceptualize various generalizations as well as learn the technical points. In my teaching unit, the overt instruction has been used in guiding the students in the research as well as teaching the Meta language on waste. (Cope, 2009).

In the first activity, the learner gathers various definitions on the meaning of waste and then goes further to discuss how waste comes up in the society as well as the social understanding of waste. By giving the learner, the opportunity to search information the student gets the chance to conceptualize on the topic.  The student theorizes on the theme without the teacher directly telling her the meaning of waste or the misconceptions on waste giving him a clear understanding.  The student carries on the knowledge of this concept to the subsequent activities in the teaching unit.

In critical farming, the learner gets the opportunity to question various perspectives, Interests as well as relationships within the text. The student gets to know the reason behind something for instance in the first activity the learner gets to analyze the information on waste formation critically. They get to know how waste is formed and understand various issues on waste. In the fourth activity, there is the incorporation of critical farming in the teaching unit where the student has to search how waste breaks down as well as the compost cycle. The students must search for evidence on this question to come up with concrete conclusions surrounding these issues as well as various solutions that have been suggested. They have to be cautious of the texts that have been produced with consigned interest. After understanding the context, the learner will come up with concrete conclusions.( Cope, 2009).

Prior learning

In this, the student applies what they have learned in the existing or the new situations. In this stage, the student can show case what they have learned in the teaching unit as well as build on their problem-solving skill. The student uses what they have learned to find solutions to the issues in the environment or create programs. The activity 5 and 6 are examples of transformed practice in the teaching unit. The student transfers knowledge into real life scenario by coming up with the classroom waste plan as well as the project of cutting waste in the local community. (Cope, 2009).

This teaching uses all the four stages of the multi literacy framework, but other strategies may be incorporated for efficient learning.   In the transformed practice, one may use additional strategies such as integration of ICT. The ICT will enable the students to Google search various creations, Google sketch up among others and they will come up with an incredible classroom waste plan.

One can also employ additional strategy in critical farming by incorporating shared writing where the students explain their understanding of the concepts they have searched and critically thought of inactivity one and 4. The students can also pitch their knowledge to various audiences in the local community and educate them on these issues on waste.

In the second and third activity, the situated practice is used to examine what the students have understood. An additional strategy can be employed in this step, which involves the comparison of their initial understanding and what they found while searching.  It gives the learners to see the various opinions of people as well as highlights numerous misconceptions in the classroom context.

In the overt instruction, the student tries to conceptualize different concepts such as the meaning of waste as well as the waste formation. One can use an additional strategy such as forming small groups in the classroom and assigning them various roles. The primary responsibility of the team is to ensure that each member understands the concept by teaching each other the concepts. One may also conduct an excursion for instance in a place where people throw garbage to create a better understanding of the concept to the student.

The four resources model enhances the student’s literacy learning and helps the student to participate in a well-educated society actively. It involves the text use, the text analysis, text participation as well as code breaking.

It involves  having the required resources that  produces a text meaning hence one is said to participate in the text. In the teaching unit, the prior experiences and knowledge are the basis for text participation. For instance, the students can produce meaning of waste as well as how the human beings make waste and present it to the local community. One uses  various  resources to make the significance of these concepts  as well as make use of  individual  experiences. (Luke, 1999)

One is said to be able to use the text by understanding the social context, as well as the texts,  purpose then transfers it to use. In this teaching unit, the learners get a lot of information on the waste formation and other concepts on waste, and  in the end, they get to understand how to use the correct texts for a particular purpose. The  students get to figure out why the text  was used and whom it was produced  for  as well as the context of its production. (Luke, 1999)

Multi literacies framework

In this, the student needs to use the gestural, auditory, spatial, visual as well as the linguistic systems. The code breaking has been used by the student in this teaching unit in the interpretation of various texts. The students used the word cloud, reports, presentations as well as videos to obtain the meanings from different texts in this teaching unit. They used software in word cloud as well as in making promotional material on the cutting of waste, and they had to make predictions on how it will respond to the activities. (Luke, 1999)

It involves critically examining the texts to identify the author’s point of view as well as bias information. In the first activity of the teaching unit, the learner needed to understand the meaning of waste as well as the waste formation. The student needed to analyze a variety of resources to come up with unbiased information, which he later transferred to the subsequent activities. (Luke, 1999)

The electronic technologies that have been incorporated in education and learning process have enhanced learning among the students. They include virtual learning, active participation in the online platforms, accessing the digital content, game based learning as well as the use of technology to collaborate, curate and create. (Henderson,2017)

In this teaching unit,   the students will be involved in using the online platforms to educate the local community as well as the international community on the importance and how to cut down waste.  The students can do these in small groups as well as make use of the computers to come up with attractive educative posters on waste reduction. The students can also use the electronic devices to search for various concepts on waste as well as ideas on the classroom waste plan. (Vivian, 2014)

In this teaching unit, the students in my classroom context are from different backgrounds as well as culture. Hence, it is vital to value their diversity. I did this by taking a community approach to supporting the learning of the students.  I involved the parent's participation where I gave them assignments to inquire from their parent’s various ways of cutting down waste and then discussed with them the most appropriate means. (Spivak, 2015).

I also value the diversity of these students by valuing everything that these learners convey to the classroom. I do this without discrimination of culture, language, relationships or the student’s profile. At activity 5 the students were given the opportunity to develop scientific literacy in the activity of coming up with a classroom waste plan.  They developed various skills and understanding from the activities that will assist them in understanding the effect of waste in subsequent years. (Henderson, 2012).

Avery, L. M. (2013). Rural science education: Valuing local knowledge. Theory Into Practice, 52(1), 28-35.

Barnett, R. (2012). Learning for an unknown future. Higher Education, Research & Development, 31(1), pp.65-77.

Cope, B. &. (2012). “Multiliteracies”: New literacies, new learning. Pedagogies:. An International Journal, 4 (3), 164-195, DOI: 10.1080/15544800903076044.

Gee, J. P. (n.d.). A situated-socio cultural approach to literacy and technology. In E. A. Baker (Ed.), The new literacies: Multiple perspectives on research and practice. New York, NY: London, : Eng: The Guildford Press.

Henderson, M. S. (2017). What works and why? Student perceptions of ‘useful’digital technology in university teaching and learning. Studies in Higher Education.

Henderson, R. (2012). Teaching literacies: Principles and practices. In R. Henderson( Ed.),Teaching literacies: Pedagogies and diversity in the middle years. . South Melbourne, Vic: .

Hutchison, A. &. (2014). A planning cycle for integrating digital technology into literacy instruction. The Reading Teacher, 67(6), 455-464.

Loughland, T. &. (2016). Using the instructional core to implement a professional learning programme for primary science teachers in Australia: teacher learning and student skill outcomes. Teacher Development, 20(4), 498-520.

Luke, A. &. (2013). Further notes on the four resources model. Retrieved from

McIlvenny, L. (2013). Critical and creative thinking in the new Australian curriculum part one. Access, 27(1), 18.

Spivak, A. L. (2015). Correlates of prosocial behaviors of students in ethnically and racially diverse middle schools. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly,, 61(2), 236-263.

Vivian, R. F. (2014). Addressing the challenges of a new digital technologies curriculum: MOOCs as a scalable solution for teacher professional development. Research in Learning Technology, 22(1), 24691.

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