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"Dud" Teachers? Or is it the lack of phonics?

Recently in Australia, the acting Education Minister blamed the decline in education standards in Australia on 'dud' teachers and the lack of quality training and professionalism. Quite remarkable really given that he heads the organisation that is responsible for them. That aside this is an increasingly common (and easy) comment to throw around and we guess this is not unique to Australia. In the age of consumerism, there is a tendency to view everything including teaching through that prism - as a 'service' and complaints are encouraged (correctly perhaps in many cases but perhaps unfairly given the many constraints of something as complicated as education).

We came across this article and judging by the many members we have on our site who are the 'believers' of Phonics helps vindicates their thinking. We think this article is interesting and equally applicable to Fiji. Here are some quotes from the article written by a Deakin University researcher:

"In fact, you would struggle to find a topic that dominates the thoughts of primary school teachers more than how well their students are learning to read. Every teacher, whether they work in the public or private sector, knows this foundational skill is critical, not simply for reading itself, but so that students can access the broader curriculum, discover science and history, communicate a project idea, or read a maths problem."
"It is well documented that students who fail to learn to read to a proficient standard are likely to have poorer life outcomes, including fewer employment opportunities, lower incomes, and are more likely to be dependent on welfare and involved with the justice system."

The article also states what the teachers on the My Teachers Fiji already know :

"To the ongoing frustration of educators and researchers in the early literacy space, the debate about teaching reading continues long after the science has been settled: more children learn to read efficiently when taught via a structured approach based on phonemic awareness (the ability to distinguish distinct sounds in words) and phonics (the relationship between letters and sounds)."

We encourage you to read the entire article and it is interesting that the "debate" is the same throughout the world as we have stated before. What can you do to assist - perhaps take the approach to start with just one child.

We also refer you to our other recent articles on this some of which are:

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