Important Ministerial statement: 'Getting results for Australian students'

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Important Ministerial statement: 'Getting results for Australian students'

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Wed Dec 11, 2019 11:27 pm

As is clear from the various topics featured via the IFERI forum, there is an ongoing battle to improve teacher-training in research-informed reading instruction particularly with regard to the training of student-teachers and teachers in systematic phonics provision.

This statement is very significant and important for Australia:

Getting results for Australian students

Wednesday 11 December 2019
Media Release

The Hon Dan Tehan MP
Minister for Education ... n-students

Minister for Education Dan Tehan said the states and territories had backed our plan to improve student outcomes at today’s Education Council meeting in Alice Springs.

“No one was happy with Australia’s recent PISA results,” Mr Tehan said.

“Every state and territory education minister shared the Morrison Government’s determination to turn these results around and improve outcomes for every student.

“To improve student outcomes we need to focus on three things: teachers, the curriculum and evidence.

“I am pleased the states and territories agreed to back the Federal Government’s plans to deliver results by:

Fast tracking a review of the entire Australian Curriculum with an initial focus on maths and science.
Making the teaching of phonics and reading instruction mandatory for initial teacher education (ITE) courses and increasing the time allocated to literacy in ITE courses.
Establishing the national evidence institute that will provide evidence and best-practice for teachers to improve student outcomes.
Focussing on literacy and numeracy learning progressions.
Conducting a review to reduce red tape affecting teachers and school leaders.
“The Morrison Government is delivering results for Australian students and delivering on the promises we made at the election to make teaching phonics compulsory in ITE and to review how to free teachers from red tape.

“Decluttering the curriculum was a priority for the Federal Government entering the meeting and I am thrilled that states and territories have agreed to bring forward the review so this work can begin immediately.

“The literacy and numeracy progressions will help teachers ensure that every student gets at least a year of learning from every year of school. Students who are falling behind will get a hand up and students who are ahead will be challenged to go further.

“Learning progressions will help teachers more efficiently identify student need, plan classes and provide meaningful feedback to parents.

“I also made it clear the Morrison Government does not support the breakaway review of NAPLAN led by NSW, ACT, Victoria and Queensland. We need to know how our students
and education systems are performing.

“Our Government supports NAPLAN because it provides transparency to parents, students and the community.

“All education ministers want to see improved student outcomes and I thank my state and territory colleagues for working co-operatively to deliver results.”
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Re: Important Ministerial statement: 'Getting results for Australian students'

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Wed Dec 11, 2019 11:33 pm

On the same topic, this article features in The Educator, Australia:

Consensus at last: States back government’s education overhaul

by Brett Henebery

12 Dec 2019 ... aul/268950

...The unanimous agreement at today’s meeting also means teaching of phonics and reading instruction will also be made mandatory for initial teacher education (ITE) courses, and teachers will be given more time to undertake them as part of their training.
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Re: Important Ministerial statement: 'Getting results for Australian students'

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Thu Dec 12, 2019 12:02 am

Education Correspondent Rebecca Urban writes about the resistance to embed phonics in teacher training but also the counter to this by members of the DDOLL network (Developmental Disorders of Language and Literacy). It's all happening in Australia thanks to individuals such as Jennifer Buckingham and Lorraine Hammond - and also collective action from organisations such as the DDOLL network and various Dyslexia organisations which are very active and vocal in Australia:

Teaching taskforce recommends doubling literacy training time

Teacher education courses would be required to introduce a stand-alone unit on evidence-based early reading instruction, which includes phonics, as part of a bid to boost the capacity of graduate teachers.

Rebecca Urban

@RurbsOz December 11, 2019

Graduate teachers would receive increased literacy training, including a stand-alone unit on early reading that covers phonics instruction, as part of a concerted push to boost the capacity of graduate teachers.

State and territory education ministers have been urged to back the recommendations of a taskforce set up to investigate incorporating phonics into the accreditation standards for initial teacher education, following revelations that the key element of teaching children to read and write has been overlooked by many universities.

Fresh from the shock of last week’s PISA results, which showed Australia’s academic performance has continued to decline, Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan called upon the jurisdictions to back the move to improve early teacher education.

As part of our renewed efforts to put literacy at the heart of our education system, the Morrison government wants states and territories to change their initial teacher education accreditation standards to include a requirement that all teaching graduates can teach phonics,” Mr Tehan said ahead of a two-day meeting of the COAG Education Council in Alice Springs on Wednesday and Thursday.

“Given last week’s PISA results, I can’t see any reason why the states and territories wouldn’t sign up to giving teachers the skills to effectively teach how to read.”

The minister announced the taskforce, to be overseen by the Australian Institute of Teaching and School Leadership, in October in the wake of research that found that just 5 per cent of units across 60 teaching courses had a specific focus on teaching beginning readers to read.

Most courses also preferenced the balanced literacy approach to reading instruction, despite repeated scientific studies finding that systematic phonics instruction to be the most effective way to teach children how to read.

However, the push to embed phonics into teacher training has faced some resistance, with a group of education academics signing an open letter to Mr Tehan, opposing both the composition of the taskforce and the “erroneous assumption … that phonics is not being taught in schools and universities”.

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The letter, which has also been signed by international academics including US-based pioneers of the whole-language movement, Kenneth and Yetta Goodman, criticised the remit of the taskforce, suggesting that it was too narrowly focused on phonics.

Whole language, and its predecessor balanced literacy, are methods of teaching reading that focus on learning words in their entirety rather than teaching letter-sound relationships and decoding skills. Balanced literacy also favours multi-cueing, or guessing, over decoding. In balanced literacy, phonics instruction tends to be embedded rather than explicit and systematic.

The taskforce comprised AITSL board member and MultiLit research director Jennifer Buckingham, Edith Cowan University associate professor Lorraine Hammond and Australian Catholic University associate professor Robyn Cox.

Dr Buckingham and Dr Hammond are both vocal proponents of phonics instruction, while Dr Cox is president of the Primary English Teachers Association of Australia, which supports balanced literacy.

It is understood that the taskforce was unanimous in its recommendations that early reading instruction classes cover phonics, but not at the expense of other essential elements of learning to read, such as phonemic awareness, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension.

A second open letter has also been forwarded to Mr Tehan from the Developmental Disorders of Language and Literacy group, which implores education ministers to back the taskforce.

“The recent 2018 PISA results provide further evidence that we have a major problem in how reading is taught in schools in this country, and the flow on consequences of this in other discipline areas and in the ultimate quality of school graduates,” the letter says.

“We urge our education ministers to support the expert group and their push for evidence-based approaches to the teaching of reading in both our universities and our schools. There is no more important mission for an education system.”

Both letters have attracted more than 200 signatures.

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