Students just beginning to learn English in our schools are under great pressure to become literate in English, even before they can speak English at the level required for full competency in literacy. This is especially so for those EAL/D students from oral cultures. Teachers are under greater pressure to teach 'literacy' rather than the full repertiore of LANGUAGE teaching, due to the assessment and testing requirements in schools. Until we have a culture of equity in teaching and assessing ENGLISH LANGUAGE learning for EAL/D students, the cultural behaviours around literacy for school learning are likely to remain lost in the 'forest of pen and paper' expectations. I wrote the PETAL PLANNER as a result of teaching in an Aboriginal remote Bilingual Classroom where the focus was on literacy in first language and oracy in English. As the children are from oral cultures in this context, the process of literate behaviours remained a mystery. More often than not, competent literacy was not achieved even in first language. The PETAL PLANNER is a text-based approach to teaching oral language and, as such, can be used in Bilingual Biliteracy Classrooms to teach the 'culture of literacy' in the first year/s of school or of engaging with English learning.
The Petal Planner has been used successfully with Migrant and Refugee students in the initial stages of English Language Learning. The type of texts need to be appropriate to the interest levels of the age of the students.
Students who are already literate in L1 transfer their knowledge of literate behaviours to Englsh and don't have to learn to read and write again. Thus the Petal Planner works best for students from oral cultures. Nevertheless is still useful for students from literate cultures in the initial stages of English learning. Students from literate cultures will be extended through the WTT COLUMN PLANNER that provides for practice in independent writing after the production of group-negotiated modelled texts.