Liked The epidemic Australia is failing to control by Pasi Sahlberg (The Sydney Morning Herald)

If education was like medicine, many controversial education policies, including NAPLAN, MySchool and school funding models, would have been terminated during trial phases due to harm they do to teaching and learning.

If we have learnt anything in 2020, it is that we need to learn to act in education more like we act in medicine. We should stop claiming that there is an extensive evidence base behind suggested educational treatments like the School Success Model without being sure about their possible side effects to children’s learning.

Liked Yes, Project-Based Learning Gets Kids Ready for the Test (and so much more) (A.J. JULIANI)

I’d ask anyone who is criticizing PBL in the classroom to talk to the teachers and students who have had this opportunity. I’d ask them to look at what students are creating, making, and building during this time. I’d ask them to talk to the parents about their students’ attitude towards learning.

I give two answers to the question above:

Try it for a day and see what happens. Start small and build from there.
Teach through the project, instead of using the project as an “end-of-unit” assessment that takes more time than a multiple choice test. When kids learn during the project, the time constraint goes away.

Bookmarked Seven things teachers agree on about teaching reading in Australia. Stop all the political haranguing over phonics by By Robyn Ewing (EduResearch Matters)

I am continually asked: why are we are once again adopting UK policies and accepting as ‘evidence’ the Rose Report from the UK? This report recommended that synthetic phonics be the preferred method for teaching early reading in the UK, but the ‘evidence’ quoted in the report has been widely disputed, including in the UK, by highly respected literacy education experts. The way the report has since been used politically is of ongoing concern.

This was the impetus for the Sydney School of Education and Social Work at the University of Sydney to hold a symposium on The role of phonics in learning to be literate last week in Sydney in conjunction with The Australian Literacy Educators Association.

Robyn Ewing reflects on a recent symposium looking at Phonics. She shares a series of agreements from the event:

  • Learning to be literate is crucial for children’s life chances.

  • Socioeconomic status has a big impact on how well children read

  • Learning to be literate is a highly complex contextualised social practice – not a series of hierarchical skills

  • Learning to read is about making meaning. There are no easy, one size fits all recipes.

  • Rich literature, real texts should play an important role in any literacy program

  • Phonics and other code-based literacy practices are widespread in early years learning contexts in Australia. Where is the evidence that teachers aren’t using these strategies?

  • Another test is highly problematic and will disadvantage our EALD (English as an additional language or dialect) learners as well as many in vulnerable situations