Whole class teaching: ICT and Literacy

Teaching strategies to develop literacy and ICT capability today.

By Michael Hilkemeijer

Whole-class teaching provides many benefits for the learning of literacy for students. Today, the use of ICT such as data projectors can aide in this strategy as it provides support and enhances learning in literacy lessons. Evidence shows that when teachers implement practical methods of using ICT for literacy lessons 21st century skills can also be developed.

ICT Capability and Literacy

The use of ICT in the teaching of literacy allows teachers to capitalise on its use in order to help students develop their ICT capability. One of the best ways to teach literacy to primary students in particularly, is through the interaction with generic software such as MS Word, MS PowerPoint and even MS Publisher. Such software is commonplace in schools, however, schools do have different choices to choose from when it comes to word processors, DTP and presentation software.  In the end, as long as these generic types of software are available in the classroom then ICT capability and literacy and be developed alongside each other.

Teachers who wish to help students develop this 21st century skill can boost the extent that students learn by becoming more confident in their use of generic software such as those mentioned. Research (Kennewell et al., 2000) has shown that the ICT capabilities of a teacher can have a significant impact on a student’s learning in a literacy-technology environment. It indicated that those with the more advanced capabilities are willing to explore teaching approaches that integrate their use of ICT with the spirit of structured literacy teaching (Kennewell et al., 2000, 105).

Students don’t always need to sit at a computer in order to develop their ICT capability. Whole-class teaching can be an effective way to help students develop conceptual understanding and higher order skills. Teachers can implement this strategy to question students, have group discussions of processes that will be carried out, and model the planning, evaluating and hypothesising to students.


Whole class teaching

There are a number of ways that ICT can be used for whole class teaching of literacy. These include the following:

  • Presentations;
  • Presenting text;
  • Demonstrations;
  • Explanations;
  • Giving instructions;
  • Linking ideas; and
  • Showing video clips.

In terms of developing student ICT capability, the top four points provide the best strategies for teachers. Along with MS Word, presentation software such as PowerPoint can be used in literacy teaching. Teachers can present information such as text and illustrations to the class. Its real power lies within the teacher’s ability to demonstrate throughout the teaching of literacy various skills that students can learn. For example, whilst presenting the information you could weave into the lesson a method in which you could introduce new skills to students.

ICT capability is an important 21st century skill that students need in order to participate and be empowered in life today. By planning for the progression of student capabilities in literacy lesssons this can be achieved.

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