'The British are embracing an American education reform proposal...'

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Debbie_Hepplewhite
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'The British are embracing an American education reform proposal...'

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Tue Jan 19, 2016 5:05 pm

This is an interesting piece via 'DC Eduphile' - and I've added a reader's comment to give a clearer picture of developments in England:

The British embrace an American education reform proposal most Americans have never heard of

January 19, 2016 by Natalie Wexler

http://www.dceduphile.org/reading-compr ... comment-37

British government leaders are embracing the ideas of American academics who argue that schools need to focus more on building knowledge to improve outcomes for low-income students. Why isn’t that happening here?

In a recent speech on anti-poverty initiatives, British Prime Minister David Cameron cited the work of University of Virginia cognitive scientist Daniel Willingham, who argues that expanding the knowledge base of disadvantaged students is key to improving their reading comprehension.
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Debbie_Hepplewhite
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Re: 'The British are embracing an American education reform proposal...'

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Tue Jan 19, 2016 5:10 pm

Here is the comment I left:

Thank you for this posting – very interesting!

May I suggest, however, that you have a half a picture with regard to developments in England over the past ten years or more.

The other half of the picture is that successive governments have become increasingly committed to promoting the need for teachers to teach ‘systematic synthetic phonics’ explicitly and rigorously – starting from around four years old – to enable far more children to be able to technically ‘lift the words off the page.

Better alphabetic code knowledge and the technical skill of sounding out and blending the sounds to read new words then leads to more children who can ‘read to learn’ and to children who are more likely to want to read. More reading will increase vocabulary significantly as we all know that words in literature are often different from, and more enriched than, spoken language.

Nick Gibb is committed to systematic synthetic phonics which is now embedded in the statutory National Curriculum for English, and he is also committed to promoting a love of reading – pointing out, however, that children are more likely to love reading if they can actually read the words on the page in the first place.

You are right that Nick Gibb and other politicians have taken an interest in American thinkers with regard to the need for knowledge-acquisition through explicit teaching – but knowledge-acquisition is also supported by children’s own reading ability and the politicians have taken an interest in children’s reading ability in a very serious way.
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Debbie_Hepplewhite
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Re: 'The British are embracing an American education reform proposal...'

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Tue Jan 19, 2016 5:11 pm

Here is the direct link to David Cameron's speech on 'life chances' referred to in the piece above:

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/ ... fe-chances
Dick Schutz

Re: 'The British are embracing an American education reform proposal...'

Postby Dick Schutz » Wed Jan 20, 2016 8:21 pm

The actual headline is: "The British embrace an American education reform proposal most Americans have never heard of"

The part about "most Americans have never heard of" is spot on, but the part about Hirsch and Willingham' writings mixes their "knowledge" with "education reform" ideology. And while David Cameron gets the point, that's a long way from a "British embrace."

The Prime Minister's speech on "Life Chances" is wide-ranging with worthy initiatives, and your comments on the blog are good for the cause.

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