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Analysis and Comment (17)

Tony Abbott is looking for simple solutions to complex problems in Indigenous education. Tony Abbott is looking for simple solutions to complex problems in Indigenous education. AAP/Alan Porritt

Closing the gap on Indigenous literacy requires more than increased attendance

The sixth annual update on Closing the Gap provides an unsurprising picture of slow progress on addressing issues of Indigenous disadvantage. The update presents a mixed bag of small improvements in life…
Did your mother read too? Did your mother read too? shaggy359

Class drives equality gap in England’s adult skills

Adults in England have a very unequal spread of basic skills – some are highly skilled while others do poorly at literacy and numeracy tests. It’s likely that entrenched inequality in our education system…
The emphasis on grammar and language construction in the current national curriculum is stronger than in many previous state curricula. So why the attacks on it? The emphasis on grammar and language construction in the current national curriculum is stronger than in many previous state curricula. So why the attacks on it? AAP/Stefan Postles

Curriculum review set to reignite the ‘literacy wars’

Kevin Donnelly, the conservative education critic who is set to review Australia’s national curriculum, has a long history of partisan criticism of teachers, teaching subject associations, academics and…
Once you done that there’s plenty more to be getting on with. Once you done that there’s plenty more to be getting on with. stuartpilbrow

Shock or yawn, PISA just preps children for a global work race

The triennial jamboree that is the publication of the OECD PISA tests kicked off with the usual round of blaming and name calling among politicians. Both sides of the political debate naturally found ammunition…
Spelling tests aren’t teaching kids to spell. Spelling tests aren’t teaching kids to spell. Test image from www.shutterstock.com

Why some kids can’t spell and why spelling tests won’t help

A couple of years ago, early one morning, I received an SMS advising “resadents to stay indoors because of a nearby insadent”. I was shocked by the spelling, as much as the message. Surely, I thought…
We know what better literacy can do, so what would a more literate world look like? We know what better literacy can do, so what would a more literate world look like? World image from www.shutterstock.com

What would a more literate world look like?

Let us suppose for a moment that there is a magic bullet for curing illiteracy. In fact, what if we were able to take the global literacy rate from 84% worldwide to something closer to 90% or even 99…
Does poor literacy come down to a matter of teaching bias? Does poor literacy come down to a matter of teaching bias? Reading image from www.shutterstock.com

My first ideology: teaching reading falls victim to the culture wars

When teaching students how to read, teachers are ignoring the best, scientifically-proven approaches according to a report out this week from libertarian research institute the Centre for Independent Studies…
Nearly half of Australian adults are functionally illiterate, with manufacturing workers having some of the country’s lowest literacy levels, a significant issue as the industry continues to shed jobs. Nearly half of Australian adults are functionally illiterate, with manufacturing workers having some of the country’s lowest literacy levels, a significant issue as the industry continues to shed jobs. AAP Image/Julian Smith

The future for Ford workers: literacy will be key

Yesterday’s announcement that Ford will close its manufacturing operations in Geelong and Broadmeadows by 2016 at the cost of 1,200 jobs raises questions of what the workers' future employment options…
Here’s why the old teaching methods are not necessarily the best. Here’s why the old teaching methods are not necessarily the best. School image from www.shutterstock.com

Why we should never return to the three Rs

Ongoing calls for a rejection of “intellectual fads” and a return to “more traditional teaching methods” seem to be ramping up in the education debate. But if these advocates were talking about rejecting…
There is a clear link between communication disorders and young offenders – but what can we do about it? There is a clear link between communication disorders and young offenders – but what can we do about it? Youth justice image from www.shutterstock.com

Young offenders need a verbal toolkit to unlock literacy

Half of Australia’s young male offenders have a clinically significant, previously unidentified language deficit. It’s a shocking figure that comes after ten years worth of research into the oral language…
Two new international reports on school performance should be put into perspective. Two new international reports on school performance should be put into perspective. Education image from www.shutterstock.com

Are we headed for an educational disaster? Hardly

The recent release of Australia’s performance in the TIMMS (2011) and PIRLS (2011) test results has sparked much media comment about what this means for the quality of Australian education. The focus so…
The latest results of international testing in maths, science and reading means Australia’s education outlook does not look good. The latest results of international testing in maths, science and reading means Australia’s education outlook does not look good. Test image from www.shutterstock.com

Latest tests show PM’s 2025 education goal is in doubt

Prime Minister Julia Gillard in September set an ambitious goal for Australian education: to be ranked as a top-five country in reading, mathematics and science by 2025. Clearly she is hoping to lift Australia…
Looking to Asian schools is exactly what we shouldn’t be doing. Looking to Asian schools is exactly what we shouldn’t be doing. Chalkboard image www.shutterstock.com

Our Asian schooling infatuation: the problem of PISA envy

It was fun while it lasted Finland, but we’re going cold on you. We thought your schools had the secret but our new infatuation is with Asian school systems. The Prime Minister seems to agree. The government…
Despite ideas to the contrary, the evidence shows that texting does not make us bad spellers. Despite ideas to the contrary, the evidence shows that texting does not make us bad spellers. Flickr/lanier67

Texting dsn’t make U a bad spellr

Children and teenagers today do all the things that children and teenagers have more or less always done – they talk to their friends, have dinner with the family, and watch TV. However, as even the casual…
A year four slump can be avoided if children are given the tools to read when very young. A year four slump can be avoided if children are given the tools to read when very young. Flickr/Éole

As easy as ABC: the way to ensure children learn to read

Human speech has long been present in every culture, and our brains have evolved specialized features to enable its rapid development when we are exposed to the speech of others. Reading however is a relatively…
Helping children recognise the sounds in words can improve their reading ability. Helping children recognise the sounds in words can improve their reading ability. Pratham Books/Flickr

Sounding off about teaching children to read

There are two main approaches to teaching children to read. Phonics, involves teaching children to recognise combinations of characters and establish the meanings of words based on combining them. The…

Research and News (3)