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He’s been reading for months already. Mother and child via Yuganov Konstantin/Shutterstock

Stop blaming poor parents for their children’s vocabulary

While the reading wars in education have raged for decades, most people agree that literacy is crucial for children and that the path to strong reading and writing skills begins in the home. But focusing…
Ready to read but playing catch up. Pupils reading via wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock

Steiner schools should adopt modern reading methods

A recent storm has emerged over reports of secret government memos detailing complaints of bullying and racism at Steiner schools in the UK. Steiner schools, built around the philosophy of Austrian educationalist…
While the Direct Instruction approach is useful, it shouldn’t be used in isolation, and it won’t “fix” anything. AAP

‘Biggest Loser’ policy on literacy will not deliver long-term gains

Yesterday’s announcement of a $22 million grant for a Direct Instruction program - a direct method of teaching using lectures and demonstrations - to improve literacy outcomes for remote Indigenous children…
This Vietnamese school girl is growing up in a new era: by the time she is middle-aged, 60% of the world’s children will be living in a tropical region. UN Photo/Mark Garten

How the world is turning tropical before our eyes

Our Tropical Future: A new report on the State of the Tropics has revealed rapid changes in human and environmental health in the Earth’s tropical regions. This is the first in a four-part series about…
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? 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. 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. 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…
The latest report into Australian education shows some positives and some negatives. School image from www.shutterstock.com

COAG education reports show early childhood and Year 12 are key

Educational outcomes in Australia are showing signs of improvement, particularly in the early years and in Year 12 attainment…
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? 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. 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. 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? 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…

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