Is Australia better at teaching English than the English?

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I was intrigued when I saw the headline, ‘Australia better at teaching English than the English’ in an article for the West Australian. You might be intrigued too.

You might be wondering how such a judgement could be made. You might think that the researcher in question, Paul Gardner, had his hands on literacy assessment data from both countries. You may further imagine some kind of statistical analysis demonstrating that any differences were down to the teaching and not other factors. You might expect this analysis to be contentious and open to discussion.

What are you, a POSITIVIST!!??

You need to free your mind from always asking for ‘evidence’ and ‘data’ and be more respectful of research. Go read Biesta or someone like that and you’ll see why. It’s not up to me to educate you. Suffice it to say that education is far more complex than healthcare because it involves human beings and so you can’t use positivist paradigms based on deficit thinking. 

No, Gardner came to his conclusion by reading the curriculum documentation of the two countries. Having done so, he reckoned that the Australian curriculum documentation was better.

This is all solidly based in theory. Gardner conducted a ‘discourse and content analysis’. He applied ‘Cox’s five models of English’ and ‘Kalantzis et. al’s four paradigms of literacy’. In doing so, Gardner found that the curriculum in England is really narrow and didactic whereas the Australian one includes broader sociolinguistic views of language. Which obviously means it’s better.

And this, of course, is why we shouldn’t have a phonics check in Australia like they do in England.

So now you know.

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3 Comments on “Is Australia better at teaching English than the English?”

  1. “Method of Analysis: Wordles provide the researcher with a quick means of identifying key words in texts (Baralt et al 2011).”

    This is…bad.

  2. Stan says:

    Interesting thought – if schools are successful in teaching critical thinking and the next generation of journalists learn it then people like Gardner are going to be laughed off whatever stage they present their opinions on.

    Obvious questions the West should have asked is if 68% basics is bad because it is too high what percent would be too low and how do you arrive at these numbers? That is on top of the obvious questions on which students have better outcomes.


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