Planning literacy proved to be difficult. As the MT usually runs through the instruction phase of the lesson fairly quickly, it was hard to gauge what the student’s prior knowledge was, and at what level each student was at. My original literacy plan had to be edited three times. Apart from providing activities that the MT deemed were inappropriate for the students, it was not in the usual format used for the 3/4 grade. This graduate teacher had just started in the role and unfamiliar with the format required. So while I was ‘technically’ given autonomy to the planning process, the autonomy was limited and given with the condition that the format was to be the same. My previous planning process for reading was to provide one piece of reading, and then create three different worksheets based on each reading group’s reading capabilities. The MT had advised to change this to three separate pieces of reading and with an individual activity sheet. While Killen (2012) states that catering for diversity allows students the opportunity to learn, it is puzzling to identify which method would be closest to Killen’s ideals. By using one reading source, and questions based on this one reading source allows all students to experience the same piece of work, while using different sources for writing materials but the MT prefers to separate each student by learning ability and the activity will be individualised to their needs. However, this method gives each student a different experience when it comes to the activity. In my model, a student who has completed the lower level activity sheet can easily progress to the next activity sheet based on difficulty. Here the student can transition easily as the reading material does not change, however, if the MT’s method was employed, then the transition to the harder worksheet may take longer as the student has to read different story. The MT’s rationale for using different reading materials is that it would be difficult to find a piece of reading that is suitable for the whole class, and therefore it would be better for the students to have reading pieces for their activity. In my experience, the MT’s method would be applicable if the class was split into individual reading groups during the lesson, with the teaching taking turns hosting guided reading with each group, while the other groups were performing individual group tasks. In addition, there would be one main reading that the whole class was involved with, however, this class did not split into individual reading groups, nor was there guided reading by the teacher. The MT’s reasoning was that there was no time.
I did not challenge the MT’s rationale for the way he ran his class. The MT must believe that his way of running the reading lessons were ideal given the circumstances that he was in. In addition, as he has been their teacher for the year to date, he would have the best knowledge of his class’s needs and abilities.