The current entrenched rate of illiteracy among Australian children is unnecessary and avoidable. Poorly conceived government policies and university education faculties wedded to out- dated and unproven teaching methods have each contributed to the situation. Billions of dollars have been spent, only to have thousands of children complete school without the most fundamental skill required for a happy, productive life—the ability to read. Realistically, there will always be some children who struggle to learn to read, but with effective instruction and timely intervention, the number of children who need ongoing support can be drastically minimised.
But can the tide turn in Australia?
See this piece about Chris Pyne in the next post:
Last edited by debbie on Tue Mar 10, 2015 11:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Low-skilled teachers a crime says Christopher Pyne
EDUCATION Minister Christopher Pyne has declared it “a crime” that some young teachers have poor literacy and numeracy skills.
Mr Pyne said advocates of phonics-based and explicit teaching of reading and writing felt like “Christians in the catacombs”.
“I feel like we’ve been hunted down and persecuted out of existence,” he told a gathering of dyslexia campaigners in Brisbane last night. “We’ve not yet triumphed but we’re a long way from being defeated.”
Mr Pyne said he would use his powers to accredit universities to force improvements to teacher education.
He said universities would all have to reapply for accreditation of their teaching courses this year, in line with the recent Teacher Education Advisory Group recommendations to make universities prove their graduates can “make children learn”.
“Those that don’t have an initial teaching course program that teaches initial teachers reading and writing and numeracy, and how to identify children with learning disabilities, will not be accredited,” he said. “No teacher will be graduating from university if they can’t read and write themselves adequately.
“It is a crime we have been graduating young teachers in that position.”
Mr Pyne said the Abbott government’s reforms to improve teacher quality, strip the primary school curriculum back to basics and emphasise phonics was a “revolution” in education.
“The great thing about it is I don’t have to ask the Senate to do it,” he said.
“Whatever the education establishment says about these reforms, I can still do it.
“Kids with learning difficulties will never again be shunted to the back of the classroom.”
Mr Pyne said one in 10 students in Australia had some form of dyslexia, a learning disability that affects children’s reading, writing and spelling.
“Parents and teachers may miss the signs of dyslexia or put the condition down to laziness or lack of ability,’’ he said. “This is an enormous concern.’’
Mr Pyne said a policy roundtable on dyslexia last year had highlighted the need for teachers to identify dyslexia, and to use evidence-based teaching methods such as phonics to help students learn to read and write.
He said his later father, Remington Pyne, had helped found SPELD — the Specific Education Learning Difficulties Association — in South Australia in the 1960s.
“I grew up being aware of his work and I know early intervention is critical in ensuring students with dyslexia can reach their full potential,’’ he said.
Mr Pyne was in Brisbane to launch the Outside the Square documentary, an aid for teachers produced by Gold Coast teacher and dyslexia campaigner Tanya Forbes through crowdfunding and a $10,000 federal grant.