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Archive for the 'Language and literacy' Category

How Polish complementary schools have helped transnational children stay in touch during the pandemic

Blog Editor, IOE Digital31 March 2021

Sara Young.

Trying to stay in touch with friends and family during the Covid-19 pandemic has been challenging for everyone. Lockdown has been particularly hard for teenagers. But how has it affected those children and young people who are transnationals, and have family and friends in more than one country? (more…)

What bookworms need to thrive

Blog Editor, IOE Digital10 February 2021

IOE Events.

The benefits of reading for pleasure are many and varied, from the development of comprehension skills and vocabulary, to the enrichment of imagination and empathy.

For younger children, reading for pleasure builds the proficiency in literacy that accelerates their learning across the school curriculum, and this becomes a virtuous circle as they move on to more demanding texts.  But not all children – or adults – view reading as a favourite pastime. For our latest ‘What if…?’ debate, we brought together children’s author and poet Joe Coelho, literacy experts Charlotte Hacking and Professor Gemma Moss, and social scientist, Professor Alice Sullivan, to assess the barriers and enablers to cultivating committed readers (you can learn more about our panel here).  Along the way, we were delighted to be treated to a poetic tribute to reading, books and libraries.

Our discussion highlighted how the way in which literacy is taught and assessed in schools can be as much of an impediment as an enabler. An over-emphasis on reading as a proficiency and a sorting mechanism, manifested (more…)

Breadth and balance: the essential elements of a recovery curriculum

Blog Editor, IOE Digital3 September 2020

Dominic Wyse.

Government guidance for schools reopening this month originally suggested that national curriculum subjects could be dropped in order to focus on key areas such as phonics. In the latest welcome U-turn, the guidance now says that “the curriculum remains broad and ambitious”. But at the same time it notes that “Substantial modification to the curriculum may be needed at the start of the year, so teaching time should be prioritised to address significant gaps in pupils’ knowledge with the aim of returning to the school’s normal curriculum content by no later than summer term 2021,” and goes on to give details.

The key question is, will the guidance’s emphasis on aspects such as “disapplication”, “the essentials”, and “phonics” lead to some subjects in the curriculum being neglected? The history of governments’ national curriculum reform in England suggests this will be the case.

The guidance continues, “For pupils in Reception, teachers should also assess and address gaps in language, early reading and mathematics, particularly ensuring children’s acquisition of phonic knowledge and extending their vocabulary. Settings should follow updates to the EYFS [Early Years Foundation Stage] disapplication guidance.”

And, “For pupils in key stages 1 and 2, school leaders are expected to prioritise identifying gaps and re-establish good progress in the (more…)

PISA 2018 suggests gender gaps in reading are closing. But I am not celebrating

Blog Editor, IOE Digital14 January 2020

Francesca Borgonovi.

Results from PISA 2018 reveal a persistent gender gap in favour of 15-year-old girls in reading. On average, across 35 OECD countries with comparable data, this gap was 39 points in 2009 but ‘only’ 30 points in 2018 – i.e. the gap narrowed by 9 points. 

I should be celebrating, but I won’t. PISA results in fact suggest that, on average across OECD countries gender gaps in reading closed because the performance of girls declined, rather than because the performance of boys improved. Even more worryingly, the decline appears to be especially pronounced among poorly achieving girls. 

(more…)

Nine key findings from PISA 2018

Blog Editor, IOE Digital3 December 2019

John Jerrim.

Results from the PISA 2018 study have just been released. This is the triennial update of how the UK has performed on these closely scrutinised (and highly politicised) tests.

Given that this is election season, and that this is the first set of results since Michael Gove’s GCSE reforms properly took effect, I am expecting to see a lot of discussion about the results.

Some of which will, of course, be more accurate than others.

My job today will be to try and help people see the wood for the trees so we can all properly understand the results.

(more…)

Are all types of reading equal, or are some more equal than others?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital22 October 2019

John Jerrim.

It is widely considered important that children read regularly. A wide range of previous research has linked reading during childhood to improved language skills and higher levels of academic achievement more generally.

But does it matter what children choose to read? Does flicking through a magazine or reading a newspaper have the same benefits for young people as becoming engrossed in a novel? A lot less evidence currently exists on this.

In a research paper published earlier this year, my co-author Gemma Moss and I decided to explore this topic in detail.

(more…)

Oracy: children’s skills are skewed by deprivation and privilege. How can schools bridge the gap?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital3 October 2019

Julie Dockrell.

An All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) has been set up to make Parliament and the public aware of how important the ability to communicate is as a life skill and the impact communication difficulties have on people’s lives. The APPG, which aims to press for increased provision of speech and language therapy, is to gather evidence this month.

Here is some of the research evidence that will be informing their discussions and their final report, due next year.

(more…)

Inequalities in education and society: the home, the school and the power of reading

Blog Editor, IOE Digital22 August 2019

This blog is based on Professor Alice Sullivan’s inaugural professorial lecture, presented at the UCL Institute of Education on 18 June 2019

Much of my work concerns the way that advantage and disadvantage are passed down from one generation to the next. So, for example, why do middle class kids do better in education than working class kids? And, why is there a link between social class origins in childhood and socioeconomic destinations in adulthood?

Sociologists sometimes call this relationship the OED triangle, where O stands for socioeconomic origins, E stands for Education and D stands for destinations in adult life. Social reproduction occurs when there is a close relationship between origins and destinations, and social mobility when that relationship is broken by a move up or down the social ladder.

During the course of my career I’ve worked on a set of interrelated questions regarding educational and social inequalities, and these are the questions I will address here:

(more…)

Personalisation in children’s reading: what do the literacy experts think?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital2 October 2018

Natalia Kucirkova.

With the advent of personalised news and algorithms automatically predicting what one should read, children’s own agency as readers is in peril. When this is coupled with a boom in the children’s personalised book industry, reading for pleasure is becoming reading about ‘me’ rather than ‘you’. It’s self-oriented rather than outward-facing. What can be done about it?
Personalisation is a buzzword in education, with a lot of confusion about what it actually means. UCL Institute of Education has a strong expertise in the context of children’s personalised reading, and last week, the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Pedagogy (0-11 years) and the International Literacy Centre hosted a one-day conference as part of my project on Personalised Stories.
The conference’s aim was (more…)

Why haven’t we progressed further on supporting children’s speech and language needs?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital1 August 2018

Amelia Roberts.
Ten years on from the Bercow Review (2008) and we are still hearing that it is a ‘scandal’ that children are even now starting school with impoverished language skills. Education Secretary, Damian Hinds MP, spoke this week at the Resolution Foundation’s headquarters in Westminster.
He identified the gap in language abilities of children from lower socio-economic backgrounds as a major factor in the challenges towards creating greater social mobility.
So what exactly isn’t working?
Highlighting a report released (more…)