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Archive for the 'Language and literacy' Category

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…)

Are Emoji a 'universal language’? Today is World Emoji Day so let's 🤔 about it

Blog Editor, IOE Digital17 July 2018

William Gibson
What does heart ❤️ followed by ghost 👻, robot 🤖 and LOL mean? What about googly eyes 👀 followed by the peace sign ✌🏻? This is a trick question really because the answer is… it depends. It depends what was said (or typed) before, who said it, who is replying and what the context is that they are saying it in.
The incredibly rapid take up of emoji as a form of communication – symbolised by World Emoji Day – has led researchers to wonder what status to give emoji as a type of language. Is it a new language, or even a universal one?
Our paper, entitled ‘Emoji and Communicative Action’ – argues that the study of emoji (more…)

The benefits of a bilingual brain in the modern world

Blog Editor, IOE Digital2 May 2018

Roberto Filippi. 

A multilingual world

It is estimated that more than half of the world’s population – over 3 billion people – can communicate in two (or more) languages. If we consider that our societies are increasingly mobile, monolingual speakers will soon be the exception.
I believe all of us at a certain point in life, being at school, at work or when travelling for leisure, have come across the need to communicate in another language. We might all have experienced the challenges of learning a new language but also the benefits of being able to understand other cultures, to express and understand feelings in other linguistic forms.
Italian flash cards
For children raised in multilingual families, the simultaneous acquisition of multiple (more…)

How can research truly inform practice? It takes a lot more than just providing information

Blog Editor, IOE Digital14 December 2017

Jonathan Sharples. 
The Education Endowment Foundation’s latest evaluation report, the ‘Literacy Octopus‘, provides plenty of food for thought for anyone interested in improving the way research evidence informs practice, not just in education, but across sectors.
This pair of large, multi-armed trials evaluated different ways of engaging schools with a range of evidence-based resources and events. The common focus was on supporting literacy teaching and learning in primary schools.
The findings make it clear that our notion of ‘research use’ needs to extend beyond (more…)

Six reasons why Baseline the Sequel will be a harder sell

Blog Editor, IOE Digital29 November 2017

Alice Bradbury. 
Last week the government announced details of their latest attempt to introduce Baseline Assessment into Reception classrooms in England. As widely reported, this policy will cost £10 million, with the sole aim of producing data on children aged four which can be compared with their test results seven years later. The return of Baseline, after an unsuccessful foray into testing four-year-olds in 2015, is based on the idea that the best way to judge schools is to measure their ‘value added’. The outcome of the Primary Assessment Consultation was that the best place to establish this starting point was in the first weeks of school in Reception.
There is a certain logic to this, and the resultant possible downgrading of Key Stage 1 Sats to non-statutory in 2023 (as they will no longer be needed as a starting point) may be popular. But, the findings from my research on the previous version of Baseline (with Guy Roberts-Holmes), suggest that (more…)

‘What works’ in education does not always chime with what Ministers want to hear

Blog Editor, IOE Digital22 November 2017

Dominic Wyse. 
The present government in England says it wants to focus on ‘what works’ in education, backed up by solid research, especially research using randomised controlled trial (RCT) designs. Yet, the mismatch between Ministers’ curriculum policy for English teaching and the growing research evidence base is stark, particularly at primary level.
Especially worrying is the heavy emphasis in the curriculum and the SATs on traditional  grammar teaching. My latest paper (with my colleague Carole Torgerson at Durham University) published in the British Educational Research Journal today is an analysis of what works in education. The paper includes the evidence for a much more integrated approach to the teaching of grammar and writing.
We conducted a review of systematic reviews and meta-analyses, RCTs,
and quasi-experimental trials, and concluded that the widespread use of traditional (more…)

How can digital library systems help teachers support children’s reading for pleasure?

Blog Editor, IOE Digital9 October 2017

Natalia Kucirkova & Teresa Cremin. 
Children need to be able to read well to function in society and their engagement as readers needs nurturing from birth. Digital library systems offer enormous opportunities to tap into children’s interests and enhance teachers’ skills as literacy mentors.
They can help teachers and children find relevant content, archive readers’ responses to individual books and share them with others on a large scale. These systems can support reading for pleasure, acting as free book depositories (e.g., International Children’s Digital Library), providing tailored recommendations for new titles on a regular basis (e.g., Epic!) and offering children multimedia story experiences as in a virtual library (e.g., StoryPlace). Teachers’ resistance or openness to the sustained use of such technologies dictates their potential to make a difference to children’s learning.
In our new paper in the Cambridge Journal of Education we explore (more…)

Call for regulation on securing children’s data in personalised reading

Blog Editor, IOE Digital17 May 2017

While children’s reading experience is being transformed with digital reading formats, personalised and interactive books allowing for more personalisation, there are risks around the data this releases. Natalia Kucirkova and Rosie Flewitt identify four main areas of concern and call for regulation. Natalia is Senior Research Associate, and Rosie is Reader in Early Communication and Learning, both at University College London, Institute of Education. This post is republished from the LSE blog.

Digital reading formats mean a child’s reading experience can be ‘personalised’ at many levels. Their name can be added into a popular fairy tale, or they can even add their own drawings to a story, make their own voice-overs or replace the main characters’ names with their own (e.g. Mr Glue Stories). Personalised books are now available as interactive digital books downloadable on touchscreens (e.g. Put Me In The Story®) as well as classic printed books (e.g. Lost My Name). This can make reading more enjoyable for young children, and the personalised data that is generated can be used to create adaptive algorithms to match texts to each child’s reading level, language scores or genre preferences (see the iRead project).

Key concerns

On 16 March 2017 we hosted a meeting with some of the UK’s key players in the children’s app and print publishing industry, international researchers and representatives from Book Trust and National Literacy Trust… Read the full post here

[Header image credit: B. Flickinger, CC BY 2.0_08] Photo licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License