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Vision and mission 

The vision of Reading for Life is a society of equal opportunities where no person’s future success could be predicted by sex, ethnicity or social background.

 

The mission of Reading for Life is to ensure that all students are given the same opportunity to learn so that success in schooling is equitable. Reading for Life holds that the current distribution of success in schooling is undemocratic. Reading for Life believes that language plays an important role in learning and that all learners need to develop literacy skills to a high level to be successful learners, to achieve their goals in life and to be active and engaged members of society.  Currently there are groups of learners in all societies who are denied these literacy competencies because of inefficiencies in school organization and classroom pedagogies. Reading for Life aims to confront this issue by supporting and promoting democratic pedagogic change in schools. 

Principles and philosophy 

Reading for Life’s work is based upon the beliefs that:

  • knowledge is a social construct,
  • linguistic and cognitive development are inextricably linked and dependent on social interaction,
  • school learning depends on classroom interactions, so teacher–student interactions have a powerful impact on learning and the construction of learner identity,
  • learning is fostered through a range of different experiences and reflection from multiple perspectives so learning occurs best in heterogeneous groups,
  • powerful learning occurs by experiencing success in accomplishing challenging tasks. Therefore schools/teachers need to carefully plan how to support or “scaffold” learners so that they move through continuous cycles of success,
  • language is the most important tool for learning. Therefore schools/teachers not only need to teach explicitly through language but they must also teach how language operates to make meaning in all subject areas. Therefore chlidren/students learn language, learn through language and learn about language,
  • language is the most effective tool for self-expression, communication and exercising power and influence. Therefore, all children/students need to understand and learn to use language for a variety of purposes, so that everybody has equal opportunities to make an impact and influence the development of society,
  • while competence in the official language of any country is an essential goal for education, all languages are important, for the individual and for society at large. Therefore, students’ knowledge of any language must be encouraged and supported by schools as well as the learning of new languages
  • the role of the teacher is to scaffold student learning by modelling, guiding and joint work in students’ “Zone of Proximal Development” (Vygotsky). A socio-cultural, teaching-learning centred, model of learning supports the notion of scaffolding rather than dichotomies such as teacher-centred (traditional) or student-centred (progressive/constructivist) models of teaching and learning 
  • school development is best promoted in ”learning organisations” where ideas and pedagogies are critiqued and tested in the classroom through action research. Reading for Life does not believe that school improvement will be achieved by privatisation and competition.

Goals

Reading for Life's goals are to initiatie action, which will ultimately lead to truly democratic education, locally and globally. Reading for Life aims to make a significant contribution in disseminating knowledge about research and pedagogy, to promote change and to make an impact on the political agenda of education and pedagogy based on the principles described above. We will do this through written publications, giving seminars, workshops and presentations and professional devlopment for teachers and school leaders.