Merle Braithwaite
Merle is a registered teacher and published writer. In 2000, she established The Speech and Learning Centre, which offers a variety of communication and literacy courses. The Centre caters for students of various age groups, ability levels and cultural backgrounds and publishes educational resources. Merle is a member of TESOLANZ and the Speech Communication Association (NZ) and an accredited examiner of the Speech New Zealand OCESOL exams.

Merle has developed and presented professional development courses for teachers at various centres in New Zealand. Her most recent presentations include: Improving Intelligibility / Scaffolding for the ESOL Learner / Supporting the ESOL Learner / Strategies for Speaking / Teaching students with limited English in mainstream classes.

Merle also publishes SLC Resources, a range of publications for ESOL teachers. These include English Sounds, Speaking English and the Setting the Standard series (eighteen assessment guides for providers of ESOL Unit Standards). Her new series is entitled Sounds Right! and is published by Curriculum Concepts.

Sample workshops:

Language for Effective Thinking - Full-day course for teachers

The importance of language is emphasized in the key competencies identified in the revised curriculum. The competencies Using Language, symbols and text, and Thinking, require all students to have a vocabulary of `thinking words’ and well-developed language skills, to allow full participation in the learning process.

Effective thinkers are able to categorise, compare, discuss, explain, justify and express new ideas. They use to language to link ideas and show that one idea causes another, or depends on another.

This workshop aims to help teachers to be more aware of aspects of language used in higher order thinking and explores practical strategies to develop CALP (Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency).

Aspects covered include:
  • Implications of CALP/BICS theory
  • Language features used in higher order thinking
  • The need to make features explicit
  • Strategies to develop language skills required for effective thinking.
Participants are invited to bring a textbook or unit of work, to use during the workshop. A comprehensive handout will be provided.

Sound and Symbol - Full-day workshop for teachers of all levels interested in the relationship between the sounds of English and the symbols that represent them.

The revised curriculum document emphasizes the importance of using language, symbols and texts. Literacy involves learning the code of the written language, which includes phonological awareness, and understanding the relationship between the sounds of spoken English (phonemes) and the letters used in written English (graphemes).
This workshop explores the relationship between sound and symbol, and will be useful to teachers of literacy at all levels.

Aspects covered include:
  • The phonemes of English
  • Grapheme-phoneme correspondence
  • Strategies to develop phonological awareness
  • Spicy spelling stuff such as: the combinations which represent vowel sounds; the versatile letter c; sound swapping s, the strange effect of the letter h, and the mysterious disappearance of the silent letters.
A handout will be provided.

Should you wish to request Professional Development with this facilitator, please complete the below form: