In this hidden gem of a PETAA resource, Joanne Rossbridge (Conversations About Text I and II, the Joint Construction professional learning course series) fosters a critical conversation with a Year 5/6 class to jointly construct a text.

As an additional demonstration model for PETAA Paper 196: The critical conversation about text - Joint construction, Rossbridge shows us the joint construction of text in action, modelling best practice with her students.

The text at the heart of the discussion was inspired by a video about first contact on the My Place website for teachers, in which the interaction is depicted between two children: a British marine and an Aboriginal girl.

In the paper, Jo describes joint construction's function: "The teacher is the expert, but the focus is on handing control over to the students at the site of the Zone of Proximal Development (Vygotsky, 1986). If you watch ballroom dancing, the dancers are modelling the dances for you, but it is only when you dance with an expert that you are participating in the way students should in a joint construction. They should take to the floor!"

"The students should be actively engaged in composing by sharing their ideas, words and the keyboard or pen. The teacher’s role is to support the composition of the text through the use of strategies which focus the students’ attention on their language choices when expressing their ideas. While the focus of the joint construction is on composing a written text it is spoken language which is central to the activity and in this scaffolded process, as Hammond (2001, page 4) explains, the goal is to provide a high level of both challenge and support."

Watch Jo and her class in action below.

> Read PETAA Paper 196: The critical conversation about text - joint construction (become a member to view)

About Joanne Rossbridge  

Joanne Rossbridge is an independent literacy consultant working in primary and secondary schools with teachers across Australia. Much of her experience has involved working with students from non-English speaking backgrounds. Joanne is particularly interested in classroom talk and how talk about language assists the development of literacy skills. 

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