Head of Curriculum, Chris McNamara explained that Melbourne Girls’ Grammar School (MGGS) sets literacy goals across the curriculum which compel all teachers to make literacy a priority in their classrooms. In the Senior School, subject vocabularies are emphasised and genre-specific writing skills are formally taught. Girls are equipped with the skills for self-expression through enrichment activities e.g.debating, public speaking and philosophy. The school is all too aware of the need to respond to the increasing digitisation of ‘factual’ learning and have established a literacy enhancement action group, which is looking at ways in which visual thinking skills can be used to stretch and deepen thinking skills in classroom activities, where teacher input can be most valuable in helping to facilitate high level engagement with the implications of knowledge. This approach foregrounds the development of critical skills and requires teachers to be competent in guiding and managing such discussions in a competent and confident way. The school is currently working with external specialists and educational training providers to support staff in this area of professional development.
The school’s ethos is based on cultivating global citizens with a strong moral compass who take action for the betterment of society. If the girls are to do so, they must leave school with more than an ATAR score (like UCAS points in the UK): they must be capable of making informed decisions, behaving ethically and representing themselves in an articulate way. This is the role of all teachers, not just those teaching English language.