Friday, 03 February 2017 12:11

Learning Communities in the Literacy Classroom by Andras Valezy and Suzanne Herbert

The session will explore how inquiry and creative thinking can be enhanced through a collaborative learning environment. Furthermore, it will showcase how learning communities can be built around a shared reading experiences.

This workshop focuses on how creating a community through shared reading and writing experiences fosters student learning. The presenters will focus on the strategies that create a classroom book club experience that moves beyond traditional literacy center roles.

The approach modeled by the presenters encourages the use of inquiry and research to promote in-depth discussion, critical thinking and shared accountability. The workshop will highlight the importance of differentiated reading groups, collaboration, and building on the ideas of others through a shared reading experience.

Andras Valezy

andras valezy

Andras Valezy graduated from York University in Canada with a B.Ed. and holds a Masters Degree in Curriculum Teaching and Learning from the University of Toronto.

He has taught in the public school system in Ontario, Canada and in the UK. Over the past 10 years he has held teaching and curriculum leadership positions at international schools in Germany and Hungary. In addition to fostering strong research, communication and critical thinking skills in the classroom, Andras Valezy’s work has focused on developing curriculum which cultivates students’ natural curiosity through inquiry. Most recently he has been working with students and teachers on developing practical approaches to using academic vocabulary drawn from standards and the IB command terms, as the foundation for learning which promotes inquiry and creativity.

His other recent action research work has focused on the implementation of standards based assessment and grading in middle schools. Through these projects he has developed accessible assessments and rubrics which serve as both tools for reflection and evaluation in context of standards based programs. Andras has extensive experience with the IB program, and teaching a variety of subjects in elementary and middle schools. He also has practical experience teaching the Common Core, Ontario and British National Curricula.


Suzanne Herbert

suzanne herbert

Suzanne Herbert has been involved in international education since 1992 and has worked in Asia and Europe.

She graduated from Deakin University in Australia with a Bachelor of Education, and then went on to complete a Master’s Degree in History from the University of New England, a Graduate Degree in School Counseling and is a Certified EAL teacher. Suzanne has worked extensively across the elementary and middle school in a number of different roles. In addition to her classroom teaching, Suzanne has been involved in university student education programs, has been a teacher graduate course developer and Adjunct Professor for SUNY, held positions in curriculum leadership and was an elementary principal.

Her interest and passion have been in helping students acquire strong literacy skills in the inquiry-based classroom. She is actively involved in action research based on how best students develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills in the context of a standard based school environment. Suzanne has worked in the Humanities area at the American International School of Budapest to develop a program that focuses on helping all students acquire the necessary vocabulary and literacy skills. Whilst working to maintain and develop the inquiry focus that fosters interest and engagement for students, she has been successful in helping students demonstrate their growth as learners in both schools-based and MAP assessments.