Experts partner to unlock the power of language for learning

Oxford University Press’ Oxford Children’s Language Australia (OCLA) partners with leading Australian literacy and language research experts to unlock the power of language for learning.
Feb 23, 2021
Research group to advise educators of findings on improving literacy

Literacy is essential to learning and a team of experts has joined to implement language research initiatives, share insights with the education community, and support teachers with developing students’ language and literacy development.

Oxford University Press’ Oxford Children’s Language Australia (OCLA) partners with leading Australian literacy and language research experts to unlock the power of language for learning.

The OCLA will support the education community by sharing best-practice teaching resources and tools based on evidence-based pedagogies to help transform children’s language and literacy skills. Oxford Children’s Language Australia also supports children’s language analysis that informs the Oxford Australian Children’s Word of the Year and the Oxford Wordlist.

Oxford Children’s Language Australia monitors children’s language through the Oxford Children’s Language Australia Corpus, the largest active database of Australian children’s writing. To date, the Corpus has amassed more than 20 million words from Australian students' writing in years F–8.

Oxford’s research partners: New South Wales
Dr Tessa Daffern: Dr Tessa Daffern is the Director and Principal Literacy Education Consultant at Literacy Education Solutions, and she is appointed as a Senior Honorary Fellow at the University of Wollongong. Tessa has previously held academic positions at the University of Wollongong, University of Canberra and Charles Sturt University. She has contributed to education in many capacities for over 20 years: as a classroom teacher in schools, teaching and learning specialist, literacy coordinator, academic and education consultant. Tessa is a recipient of the Australian Literacy Educators’ Association (ALEA) Doctoral Thesis Award and her published books include The Components of Spelling: Instruction and Assessment for the Linguistic Inquirer (Literacy Education Solutions, 2018) and Teaching Writing: Effective Approaches for the Middle Years (Allen & Unwin, 2020). Tessa has also been engaged as a literacy expert advisor for the Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), and the New South Wales (NSW) Education Standards Authority (NESA). She is also an accredited provider of professional learning in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.

Shane  Hill: Shane  is   founder   and   creator   of   Mathletics, Spellodrome,   World   Math   Day, Skoolbo,   da   Vinci Declathlon, Storyathon and Writing Legends. Collectively, these learning communities have been used by tens  of millions of students worldwide. Prior to entering eLearning, Shane was a secondary school teacher in Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

Sharynne McLeod: Dr Sharynne McLeod is Professor of Speech and Language Acquisition at Charles Sturt University, Life Member of Speech Pathology Australia and Fellow of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. She was named Australia’s Research Field Leader in Audiology, Speech and Language Pathology in 2018, 2019 and 2020, and Best in the World in 2019 based on the ‘quality, volume and impact of her research. Sharynne has co-authored 11 books and over 200 journal articles and chapters focusing on children’s speech acquisition, speech sound disorders, and multilingualism. She has won Editors’ Awards from the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing (2018) and American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology (2019). Sharynne was editor-in- chief for the International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology (2005–2013) and edited a special issue on Communication Rights, which she presented at the United Nations in 2019. Sharynne also provided expertise for the
World Health Organization's children and youth version of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health.

Susan Taylor: Susan Taylor has worked as a primary school teacher for 25 years and is currently co-teaching a class in a public primary school in Sydney. She also teaches pre-service teachers at Macquarie University. Susan has a master’s degree in Children’s Literature and Diploma in Book Editing and Publishing, and is author of a several educational publications for teachers and students, including co-author of Write Ways (Oxford University Press, 2020) and the white paper Reading for meaning: A guide to the research on best practice teaching of comprehension in today’s world (Oxford University Press, 2018). Susan volunteers for a variety of not-for-profit organisations related to education; in 2019 she contributed to a literacy program for kindergarten students in Cambodia with See Beyond Borders, she also supports classroom literacy at Darkinjung Barker College for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island children.

Rosemary Johnston: Professor Rosemary Johnston AM is widely published both nationally and internationally and is the author of Australian Literature for Young People (Oxford University Press, 2017) and co-author of Literacy: Reading, Writing and Children’s Literature (Oxford University Press, 2020). She is an active researcher and has held key leadership roles at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). Rosemary is a Member of the Order of Australia for services to higher education and to children’s literature.


Damon Thomas: Damon Thomas is a senior lecturer in English education in the College of Arts, Law and Education at the University of Tasmania. His research interests include writing development and pedagogy, social semiotics, theories of persuasive communication, methods of assessment, and assessment literacy. His undergraduate teaching focuses on theories of language and literacy, English curriculum, and pedagogy. His research has appeared in journals such as the British Educational Research Journal, Linguistics and Education, and Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education.

South Australia

Anne Bayetto: Anne lectures in inclusive and specialised education, at Flinders University where she teaches undergraduate and postgraduate topics focused on school students who have literacy and numeracy difficulties. Since 1989 she has worked closely with the Specific Learning Difficulties Association of South Australia (SpeldSA) as an academic mentor to its directors. Anne has been a teacher in both mainstream and special classes, an adaptive education teacher, and a district-wide disability coordinator. Anne was the founding member of the South Australian Education Department's Learning Difficulties Support Team and has managed literacy and numeracy action research projects.

She has been the reading expert for the Principals as Literacy Leaders (PALL) program, offered in every state of Australia. Anne offers professional learning sessions for teachers, leaders, and managers in education sectors across Australia with a particular focus on using evidence-based research to inform practical and sustainable planning and programming.


Emina McLean: Emina McLean’s background is in speech-language pathology, education, child and adolescent psychiatry, and public health. She is a lecturer in literacy at La Trobe University and leads literacy assessment, instruction and intervention at a Victorian Primary School. Emina also works as a literacy professional learning provider and coach in schools across Australia. Emina is a research member of La Trobe University’s Science of Language and Reading (SOLAR) Lab. Her research interests are evidence-based practice in education, language and literacy instruction, cognition, mental health, pedagogy, professional learning, and the speech pathology-teaching interface in schools.

Lee Walker: Lee Walker is Director of Publishing, Editorial and Design at Oxford University Press Australia & New Zealand. She is also President of the Australian Publishers Association.

Western Australia

Janet Fellowes: Janet Fellowes is an educational consultant specialising in early childhood and primary language and literacy learning and development. She conducts professional learning sessions and coaching, and curriculum writing, and contributes to literacy planning and change management. Janet spent many years as a Senior Lecturer in the School of Education at Edith Cowan University where she taught early childhood and primary language and literacy education to pre-service teachers. Janet continues to contribute to the development of pre-service early childhood and primary teachers through her work at different Western Australian universities. Janet is the co-author  of Language, Literacy and Early Childhood Education (Oxford University Press, 2019). She has also co-authored A
Closer Look at Spelling in the Primary Classroom (PETAA, 2015) and Small Group Teaching in the Literacy Classroom (2005, Pearson Education).

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