Applying the theory of variation in teaching reading

Siu Yin Annie TONG

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13 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents a model of collaborative and reflective professional development for teachers that focuses on student learning. The model comprises a cyclical series of lessons that were carried out in Hong Kong with three classes of Secondary Four (Grade 10) students (94 students. The lessons were designed to develop the reading skill of inferring characters’ traits from the events of a story—a skill that presents difficulties for many secondary school students of English as a second language. The learning activities incorporated in the research lessons were underpinned by the Theory of Variation proposed by Marton and Booth (1997), which allows students to discern the critical features of the particular skill to be learnt. Findings indicate that the lessons were successful in helping the students to develop the skill. Teachers also benefitted from the collaborative reflections and investigations. The paper suggests that this model may enhance both student learning and teacher professional development. Copyright © 2012 Edith Cowan University.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1
JournalAustralian Journal of Teacher Education
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012


Tong, S. Y. A. (2012). Applying the theory of variation in teaching reading. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 37(10), Article 1.


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