Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Master of Education


School of Education


Faculty of Education and Arts

First Supervisor

Dr Deslea Konza


The purpose of the study was to explore secondary teachers’ understandings of their responsibilities towards students who demonstrate poor literacy skills with regard to the Reading Outcome in the Western Australian English Courses of Study. As an experienced secondary English teacher, the researcher was aware that the reading demands of senior secondary classrooms were challenging for some students and that many teachers were unsure of how they should respond to the needs of the students. Since the education reforms which began in Western Australia in the late 1990s and the subsequent introduction of Courses of Study in 2006, a great deal of debate has arisen over the delivery of curriculum that addresses literacy in senior school classes. As reading is considered to be a key action of learning in the senior school context, the introduction of the Courses of Study in Western Australia has forced a review of the role of English teachers in terms of their key responsibilities. Through the methods of a survey and follow-­‐up interview, this investigation has explored what teachers regard as their core responsibility in the classroom with regard to reading. The participants were from Western Australian rural and metropolitan schools across the sectors of Department of Education and Training, Catholic Education Commission schools and the Association of Independent Schools of Western Australia. The study showed that teachers are primarily concerned with engaging students in the reading process when they deliver the curriculum. They acknowledge the existence in their classes of students who cannot access the texts set for study, but they do not know how to diagnose specific reading problems, nor how to support their students in what are essentially reading acquisition skills. It is concluded that teachers acknowledge their responsibility to ensure students are able to access the texts used in these classes, but do not have the skills to do this.