Doug Lemov has been a teacher, a school principal, a researcher, a writer and played many other roles in education in the U.S. He is perhaps best known internationally for his practical teaching guide, Teach Like a Champion (TLAC). In this episode, Doug talks to Greg Ashman about the genesis of TLAC, making content relevant to students, reading instruction and the importance of reading, Charter Schools, the tumultuous state of U.S. education debate and his efforts to help teachers maximise the potential of the remote learning that has been forced on them by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
I have recently been writing about the proposals to change how suspensions and exclusions are dealt with in the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW). As a result of these proposals, I wrote an opinion piece for the Sydney Morning Herald. This has seen me draw criticism from campaigners which I have responded to on by blog (e.g. here) and has also seen a response in the Sydney Morning Herald from Louise Kuchel, a parent advocate for children with ADHD.
In Kuchel’s article, she suggests, “A small but loud minority vocally opposes these reforms.” I guess that refers to me. However, the response I have received from teachers, teachers who often disagree with me on issues such as the effectiveness of different teaching methods, has been overwhelmingly positive. I am also aware of the fact that public school teachers in NSW are effectively muzzled by restrictive media and social media policies and so I wondered whether this may contribute to campaigners feeling that those who oppose these reforms are small in number.
We now have an answer to this. On 9 October, a joint statement was released from the Federation of Parents and Citizens Associations of New South Wales, the NSW Primary Principals’ Association, the NSW Secondary Principals’ Council and the NSW Teachers Federation (the total membership of the NSW Teachers Federation is around 67,000). While striking a more measured tone than my opinion piece, this statement suggests that these organisations share at least some of my concerns.
The joint statement raises concerns about rushed implementation of the new policy, particularly in the context of COVID-19 and describes the new Student Behaviour Strategy as a, “thinly veiled exercise in data suppression and blame shifting”, arguing that, “Schools use the suspension and expulsion policy as a last resort after all available options and resources have been exhausted, having implemented a range of strategies and engaged parents, carers and external agencies, necessary to maintain the safety and wellbeing of all.”
The joint statement also calls for more resources to allow for such steps as reduced class sizes. Although there is some debate about the overall effectiveness of reducing class sizes, it does make sense when campaigners call for ever more differentiated and individualised teaching as the supposed solution to the problem of poor classroom behaviour. If bureaucrats really want teachers to implement these strategies in full, then classes of about five or six may make it feasible. That would require considerable investment and I suppose that depends on the level of political commitment.
Critically, the joint statement also calls on the NSW department of education to, “ensure the health and safety of all students and staff”.
Because that is what is at stake here.
Whenever I engage in debate on social media, I am prepared to encounter fallacious and emotive arguments. And yet, when the discussion turns to classroom behaviour or school suspensions and exclusions, people start making stuff up about me.
And this is not new. A year ago, I wrote a blog post about an academic who claimed in a tweet that I had argued that teachers should not have to follow laws they disagree with, a claim I consider to not only be false, but defamatory. I said I would remove the blog post if the tweet was deleted and a correction made, but it is still there today.
The recent examples are perhaps a little ironic. In this blog post, I wrote about an article in which a number of students discussed why they had been suspended or excluded from school. I made the reasonable point that this is just one perspective on the events that led up to the suspension or exclusion. The teachers in the schools involved may have a different perspective. This is not necessarily to accuse anyone of lying – people tend to put a spin on events that suits their narrative. They may make true statements but fail to mention elements that others think are critical. They may emphasise or downplay aspects of what happened.
Perhaps inevitably, I was criticised for not immediately and uncritically accepting these students’ stories. Apparently, my disbelief was due to my fear that the new strategy in New South Wales would reduce the number of students with a disability being suspended. Obviously, this is not true:
To teachers, the issue of the veracity of students’ versions of events is key. I doubt that there is anyone in the teaching profession who has not heard two very different versions of the same set of events from two different students. Teachers simply cannot operate on the principle that we uncritically accept everything every student tells us. And perhaps it is this that is missing from the advocate perspective – advocates only ever hear the one version of what happened at school.
In fact, one of my top pieces of advice for all parents – one I try to live by as a parent myself – is this: When your child comes home and describes something outrageous that happened at school, they may be right. However, when you contact the school about this, rather than starting from the premise that the story you have heard is a completely accurate and fair summary of the events, put that summary to the teacher you speak to and ask, “Is this right?” Sometimes, things are a little more complex than they first appear.
Somehow, this argument – which I assume that my readers will have no difficulty in comprehending – became translated into me claiming that ‘schools are not transparent and cover up or lie about issues’ – something I never said:
I don’t understand the need to do this. If you disagree with me, there are plenty of arguments I have actually made that you can take issue with. Making stuff up is an eccentric approach to take in a discussion about the veracity of different versions of events.
In addition to all this kind of stuff, one person replied to my blog post with a link to this radio interview. In the interview, a campaigner refers to people, ‘in their blogs and in some opinion pieces’ being apparently confused about the difference between a disability, a mental illness and ‘behavioural issues’ such as ‘oppositional defiance’. I think this comment is about me because I have written blogs and opinion pieces on the issue of suspensions and exclusions and I often discuss disabilities and disorders at the same time.
I do not think I am confused about these issues. What is clear is that children with disabilities make up a large proportion of students who are suspended or excluded in New South Wales. I certainly do not think it is clear that the representation of students with disabilities in these figures is necessarily due to discrimination. Some disabilities, such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), can affect student behaviour. Moreover, the idea that there is a clear dividing line between disabilities and ‘oppositional defiance’ is thrown into question by the fact that ADHD and Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD) frequently co-occur. I think we can perhaps all agree that if New South Wales produced a breakdown of which disabilities were represented in these figures then that would perhaps help us to start answering some of these questions. If, for instance, we found large numbers of visually impaired students were being suspended then a role for discrimination may seem more likely.
However, why is it so important to delineate the differences between disabilities, mental illnesses and behavioural issues? What is the relevance? It is not as if campaigners are claiming that it is fine to suspend students who belong to some of these categories but not others. Campaigners generally argue against all suspensions and exclusions and even school discipline more generally. The following is my transcript of a later section of the radio interview:
“I was a teacher for 17 years and in virtually every single situation, you could look back and pinpoint why a situation had escalated or happened to be in a certain way and in the majority of cases, it was linked to what the school or I as a teacher would have been doing – whether that child was not engaged enough because the work was either too difficult or too simple for them, or there was a situation going on outside of the classroom that caused that child to react that way. So, do I punish a child because of that – because they’re a child trying to emotionally regulate?”
I have been a teacher for 23 years and this is not my experience. In my experience, suspension and exclusions have never been seen as punishments. Instead, they have been used as a method of last resort to prevent harm to others. If campaigners succeed in severely restricting such a method of last resort in New South Wales, my experience therefore suggests that the result will be harm – harm to other students and harm to teachers.
The reason I am making this case now and dealing with the flak that is sent my way – including distortions of what I have said and, in one case, even contacting my employer – is because I do not want to be proved right.
Back in August, I had an opinion piece published in the Sydney Morning Herald warning against new proposals on suspensions and exclusions in New South Wales. This week, the same paper has published a response by Louise Kuchel, a parent advocate for children with ADHD.
Kuchel’s response is interesting because it highlights the perspective of many of those campaigning to abolish or severely constrain suspension and exclusion – the perspective of those lobbying and being heard by politicians.
First, let’s look at a couple of apparent contradictions.
Kuchel states that, “School suspensions and expulsions are a topic fraught with emotion,” and that, “A small but loud minority vocally opposes these reforms, painting a picture of violent bullies attacking teachers and students. This has created unnecessary conflict.”
However, rather than dial down the emotion, Kuchel then goes on to list several highly emotive case studies of excluded children – case studies she has sourced through her advocacy work. These are impossible to verify. For instance, one student was apparently suspended for snapping school pencils, but we do not, and cannot, know the school’s version of these events.
This problem becomes more pronounced in the case of ‘Harry’*. After stating that, “It’s a common misconception that students with challenging behaviours are violent,” we hear Harry’s story where he claims, “they made me write saying I punched a kid in the face when I just did a little hit on the shoulder.”
There’s a lot to unpack here. Why is it a misconception that students with challenging behaviours are violent if we are then going to be presented with a student admitting he had been violent, albeit while playing this down? This story is presented as evidence of where teachers, “actively work to push [students] out of the school.” Setting aside the view this expresses of teachers, has it occurred to Kuchel that there may be another version of these events? Any teacher will be familiar with students making claims like, “I just did a little hit on the shoulder,” even after having witnessed something they would not describe in the same way. People, including children, have a tendency to put a spin on events that shows them in a more positive light.
As ever in these discussions, the other students – the ones the kids telling their stories go to school with – are absent. Exclusion and suspension don’t work because, “The experience of being suspended or expelled doesn’t fix the problem.”
Well, it depends on how you define the problem. I am willing to accept that a suspension is not going to magically ‘fix’ the behaviour of a student who is suspended. The underlying reasons are often highly complex and so suspension should trigger a series of targeted interventions. This is where resources should go.
But are we really saying suspension doesn’t work for the kid being hit on the shoulder? I think it works quite well for them, at least in the short term.
Here’s more of Harry’s story:
“All they cared about is that I hit someone, they didn’t care about whatever that person did to me. I was scared and the other person pushed me to the ground super hard. They didn’t get into trouble. It’s always the one that cries that doesn’t. Cause even when I get hurt, I don’t cry; just get super annoyed and angry.”
Now, imagine this situation is not exactly the way Harry described it. Imagine you are the parent of the kid who is the ‘one that cries’. Teachers, whatever you think of them, are in a position to weigh the entire situation involving both students more objectively than Harry can as a participant.
Kuchel seems in two minds on teachers. My view is apparently that of the minority and Kuchel believes that, “most teachers will welcome the draft reforms”. And yet, “As clinical psychologist and author Dr Ross Greene says, children want to do well; all behaviour is communication. Teachers need training to understand this and learn how to collaborate with the child to solve problems… many of the changes needed cost nothing beyond teacher training. It’s about a change in mindset.”
Do teachers welcome the fact that they need a change in mindset?
Teachers really don’t need to understand that, “All behaviour is communication.” It is a meaningless deepity that sounds very wise but offers nothing of practical value. Do clinical psychologists really assume that teachers have no understanding of the causes of challenging behaviour and if they just understood more, they would change their mindsets and… drum roll… all would be well?
Listening to a child tell their story in a one-on-one situation is a world away from managing a class of 25 to 30 children. Until you’ve done it, this is hard to comprehend. Teachers don’t need to empathise more, they need practical strategies. Unfortunately, these are unlikely to come from people who have never managed a classroom themselves. Instead, we tend to see suggestions for ever more individual adjustments. Imagine, if you can, trying to teach a class where 10 out of 25 children require specific, individualised approaches. How would you go with that?
We are in this situation because we have taken a lawyerly, rather than practical, approach to intervention. Many whole-school or whole-class policies such as setting up clear routines, are helpful for students with disorders such as Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) but they are not recognised by a legal system that demands to know the specific thing teachers have put in place for this specific child.
Which brings me to my final point. Kuchel suggests that children with disabilities are over represented in suspension and exclusion statistics. The implication is that teachers discriminate against children with disabilities. However, it is important to know that many disabilities and disorders, such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), are diagnosed, at least in part, through children’s behaviours. It is therefore predictable that there would be a greater proportion of such children in suspension and exclusion statistics. In fact, suspension or exclusion may even be the trigger for parents to seek a diagnosis.
There is a gap in understanding, but it is not on the part of teachers. Teachers don’t need to simply change mindsets. The behaviours will still be there – whatever they are communicating – and I cannot see us moving away from classes of 25-30 children any time soon. Instead of a relentless focus on suspensions and exclusions, issuing top-down policy to tie the hands of teachers and principals in extremely challenging situations, we should be focused on addressing the root causes of challenging behaviour using well-researched and objective strategies. We can all do emotive. Now, who can do practical?
*I will not address the most emotive part of Harry’s story because such serious matters should not be raised in passing
In 2016, I self-published an ebook, Ouroboros. It was written over the summer and idiosyncratically and giddily careened through a few topics of particular interest to me at that time. These topics were loosely held together by the metaphor of the Ouroborous, a serpent or dragon that eats its own tail.
I am sure many who may otherwise have been tempted to take a look at Ouroboros never did so because they couldn’t figure out what it was about. I am sure of this because a number of people told me so.
After the publication of my first book with SAGE Publishing, The Truth About Teaching, James Clark, my editor, and I discussed the idea of a second edition of Ouroboros, sharpening its agenda around the specific issue of explicit teaching. My new book, The Power of Explicit Teaching and Direct Instruction is the result of that discussion.
In the end, not much of Ouroboros remains. When you return to something you have written after four years, you tend to be able to think of different ways to explain things and of better evidence to draw upon – evidence that, in many cases, only accumulated in the intervening period. Those who are familiar with Ouroboros will sense its skeletal remains in Chapters 2, 3 and 4. The rest of the chapters are entirely new.
Initially, the The Power of Explicit Teaching and Direct Instruction was slated for a February release, but now it looks like being available in December. It currently seems that people in the UK who pre-order will get their copy before Christmas, whereas Aussie’s will have to wait to the new year. I am not sure about the US.
You can pre-order here:
The official AU/NZ distributor is actually Booktopia, but its not yet showing on their website.
Now, could you help me out? I would like to record an episode of my podcast where someone interviews me, with a focus on this book. Are you currently working as a teacher? Would you be interested? If so, complete the feedback form below. I will then choose someone who will also be given an electronic copy to read in advance of the recording – this will probably take place in November.
On the 12 August 2020, Dr Rachel Cunneen of the University of Canberra took part in a Zoom webcast presentation that I believe was hosted by the Australian Literacy Educators’ Association (ALEA). The reason for my slight uncertainty is that I cannot now find a record of the original event. However, the Zoom session was clearly broadcast to members of ALEA as acknowledged in a statement released by the organisation.
According to this statement, Dr Cunneen made a number of ‘defamatory statements’ in the webcast:
Those statements include that Dr Buckingham has conflicts of interest in using her access to the media and her involvement in a federal government commission of inquiry to nefariously promote her private commercial interests, and fosters a culture war in respect of teacher education, and that Professor Wheldall, Dr Wheldall and Dr Buckingham improperly seek to further their commercial interests in support of a class agenda aligned to extreme political views
To their credit, ALEA have issued a retraction and an apology for these statements, recognising that:
…the Statements were not accurate, and were damaging and hurtful to Multilit Pty Ltd, Professor Wheldall, Dr Wheldall and Dr Buckingham. ALEA does not endorse the Statements and they do not express the views of ALEA. ALEA apologises to Multilit Pty Ltd, Dr Buckingham, Professor Wheldall and Dr Wheldall for any hurt or damage caused by the publication of the Statements
I am generally an advocate of free speech and robust debate, but free speech always has its limits. Just as we should not use our freedom of speech to shout ‘fire’ in a packed theatre or incite violence, we should also not make defamatory comments about others – comments that are likely to harm their reputations and livelihoods.
I do wonder why we cannot debate reading methods without resorting to this kind of ad hominem. It is such a common trope among phonics sceptics that proponents of systematic phonics are only in it for the money that I have satirised this stance on my blog.
There are lots of people who make money out of education, both pro and anti phonics and not least the big publishers who sell supposedly ‘balanced literacy’ programs.
It is time for this discussion to mature and focus on the facts and evidence.
Social media brings out the best and worst in people. And when a gang of like-minded individuals have a target acquired – someone who violates their in-group norms – people who imagine they are the epitome of courtesy and virtue belie these qualities and go hunting.
Doug Lemov is the author of Teach Like a Champion, a compendium of strategies that he compiled by observing effective teachers. Some of these are genius, others I’m not so crazy about, possibly because I haven’t tried using them, and some get a little lost in translation when they cross the Pacific or Atlantic Oceans. Regardless, TLAC is highly recommended. As an education book, it is rare in providing practical steps that are likely improve your practice.
A few months ago, at the height of the George Floyd protests, a maths education professor in the US decided to make a name for themselves by attacking TLAC for being ‘carceral’ (something to do with prisons) and therefore somehow racist. Bizarre, right?
Now, it appears that a baying mob of group-thinking individuals lurk on Twitter, looking for the opportunity to interpret Lemov’s tweets in the worst possible way and then prove their in-group membership by calling him out.
Take this tweet:
It’s a valid and not particularly controversial piece of advice that you may choose to agree with or not. During remote learning, I have asked students to have their cameras on so I can scan for confused faces in the way I do in the classroom and to keep a connection going. There have been times when this has not been possible due to poor internet connections. And if a student has let me know they were uncomfortable – or I got a sense they were – they were able to opt out. However, in general, I think having the cameras on is a good idea.
And this is where we run into the ‘dogs have four legs problem’ of uncharitable interpretation. When someone in real life says that ‘dogs have four legs’, others understand this as a generalisation. They don’t attack the person by saying, ‘How dare you say that – some dogs may have had a leg amputated due to a road accident!’
However, on Twitter, such uncharitable takes are sadly to be expected. In this case, people pointed out that it was not impossible for students to talk with the cameras off.
Lemov was some kind of monster who, with no care for the privacy or wellbeing of students, would enforce the switching on of cameras at any cost!
It soon became clear that this was not really about Lemov’s tweet but the wider campaign against TLAC.
And, as ever, people gloried in the ‘ratio’ on the tweet ie the fact that they and their like minded friends had said lots of unpleasant things in response to Lemov’s tweet, as if this was some kind of achievement.
So there you are – a coordinated internet trolling event in all its ugliness.
If you have reasoned disagreements with Lemov’s techniques, then I think that’s fine. You should maybe blog about them or post to Twitter. However, try not to assume bad motives on Lemov’s part. I’m pretty sure we are all doing our best here and it is possible to have the right motivations and still be mistaken.
If you don’t know what to think because you haven’t read TLAC then, if you have the means, I would encourage you to go out and buy a copy. It really is a great book.
And if you love TLAC, consider adding your views on the subject to social media.
I am grateful to Lemov’s contribution. Without his early blog posts on remote learning, I don’t think my school’s approach, although not perfect by any means, would have been as good as it has been. We need a few more practical people like Lemov in education and we can probably do with a few less virtue-signalling ideologues.
Update: Doug Lemov has now posted about this incident and about the reasoning behind his tweet.
There is a classic research design in education. Instead of investigating the effect of some intervention or other on children in schools, researchers study student teachers. The researchers typically try to change the attitudes of the students teachers towards some aspect of teaching and usually in a counterproductive way.
This design arises repeatedly because student teachers are easier to study than schoolchildren – they are available in the universities where researchers work and the ethics requirements tend to be less demanding – and because of a critical point about all research of this kind. First, the researcher assumes a position, then the researcher seeks to influence the student teachers to adopt this position, something that is relatively easy to do given that the student teachers want to pass their course. All the while, the position itself is never questioned. There is no chance of generating inconvenient data that may challenge the position.
Barry Garelick pointed me to a good example in the US version of The Conversation.
In this case, the student teachers are learning how to teach science and maths. Apparently, these student teachers tend to tell the researcher – Peter Cormas, an Associate Professor in science education – that children, “must memorize science and mathematics knowledge to learn it.” Instead, the professor wants them to accept that children can, “acquire knowledge through a process used by scientists and mathematicians called problem-solving.”
Replace ‘memorize’ with ‘remember’ and the concept that children must remember science and mathematics knowledge to learn it seems perfectly sensible. Moreover, in the alternative approach, do children not remember what they acquire through problem-solving? I admit this is possible, but it does then draw into question the efficacy of such an approach.
And there are good reasons to question this efficacy. Although Cormas seems unaware of this, there’s quite a debate about the value of discovery learning when compared to explicitly teaching the same content. Many advocates of problem-based learning are aware of this debate and tend to emphasise the amount of guidance they give students. Not so, Cormas, who is quite happy to advocate for discovery:
“Throughout the course, I asked the future teachers to discover science and mathematics knowledge with problem-solving. I also had the future teachers teach students at a local school by asking them to learn with problem-solving.”
Regular readers of this blog are probably already familiar with the research in this area, but here is a whistle-stop tour: In this article, Mayer makes a convincing case against pure discovery learning drawing upon historical examples, in this seminal work, Kirschner, Sweller and Clark survey the empirical evidence on approaches based on problem-solving, and in this piece, Kirschner blows apart the commonly-held notion that the best way for novices to learn a discipline is by imitating the behaviour of professionals.
And regular readers will also be aware of the explanation that Cognitive Load Theory provides for these findings: Discovery learning overwhelms working memory for novices who possess little to draw upon from long-term memory.
However, Cormas never seems to question his questionable assumption that learning by problem-solving is superior. Instead, he simply asserts, without references, that, “because problem-solving is necessary for scientific and mathematical literacy, students need teachers who will expose them to problem-solving.”
And Cormas lacks a little curiosity when he notes that, “former students that I ran into years later often told me that they do not use problem-solving as teachers. Instead, they reverted to simply asking students to memorize science and mathematics information. They told me the reason for this is that teachers in their present schools do not use problem-solving. I find this troubling.”
Is it worth considering – I mean, just for a moment – whether the experienced professionals who teach science and maths every day may be avoiding problem-solving for a reason? Is their craft knowledge worth exploring? At all?
The reason the grizzled old teachers are misbehaving, of course, is that learning through problem-solving is, at best, extremely inefficient and, at worst, does not work. One of the peculiarities of our species is that we have evolved the means to communicate complex ideas to each other. This has enabled us to pick-up where a previous generation left-off and develop ever more sophisticated iterations of science and mathematics. It seems perverse to cast this aside and insist that children figure out science and mathematics for themselves.
Research of this kind will continue to take place in universities. I see no prospect of that changing. So, as a profession, we need to seek new ways to disrupt and bypass these institutions that teach our newest members all the wrong things. As teachers, we need to be at the centre of that disruption, taking charge of our profession for ourselves.
It was the kind of rare moment that Joseph K relished. Regional Victoria was still under coronavirus restrictions but freedoms were slowly returning as infection rates dropped. Mask firmly, if irritatingly, in place, K took a stroll through the centre of town.
As he walked, K was surprised to encounter a group of people standing behind a trestle table, a little too close to each other. The table was plastered with colour photocopies of Koalas and a larger, bright banner ran along the front stating, “SAVE THE KOALAS”.
A young woman held out a leaflet. K stopped. “Save the koalas!” the woman smiled.
“I have to say, I’m surprised to see political campaigning up and running again,” said K. “I guess it’s a good sign that we’re returning to normal.”
A young man with a cropped beard and beanie turned towards K, “This is not a political campaign,” he stated. “We just want to save the koalas. Who wants the koalas to die? You can buy a badge and sign our petition,” he suggested, somewhat menacingly.
“If nobody wants the koalas to die then who is the petition for?”
“The mayor,” the man replied. “It’s just to show the strength of feeling in the community. You need to sign it. And buy a badge.”
“But it’s not political?”
K approached the table. He paused. Taking the hint, the group withdrew a metre or so back from the other side. K approached the petition that was lying on a clipboard next to a bottle of hand sanitiser. There were two containers of pens. The first was marked ‘clean pens’ and the second, ‘used pens’.
K began to read the petition. In large lettering, it began with: Save the Koalas
“Just sign it,” said the man.
But K continued reading. The next line was in smaller lettering: Koalas are at risk from overdevelopment.
Fair enough, thought K. Then he read the next line in even smaller lettering: Now is the time to act. It is an emergency. We must pause development immediately.
Wait. K was not so sure about this.
He continued to read the ever smaller text: We must stand together against capitalism and the oppressive Western colonial concept of private property. Property must be collectively owned for the public good.
And finally: Democracy gives the illusion of choice to those suffering false consciousness. We must resist and install a dictatorship of the masses.
“I’m not sure I can sign this,” said K. “I’m not sure I agree.”
The woman who had offered K a leaflet looked incredulous. “You want the koalas to die?”
K slowly walked away.
When K arrived home, his wife was sat at the kitchen table waiting for him. She was wearing a koala badge.
“Where’s your badge?” she asked K.
“Erm…” K was startled, “I didn’t get one. I’m not sure I agree with it all.”
“Don’t you have to go an awfully long way out of your way to disagree with the concept of saving the koalas? Why would you?” K’s wife was astonished. “Anyway, you’ll need one for work.”
What did work have to do with this?
“Really? But what about all the stuff on abolishing private property and democracy?”
But K’s wife just stared blankly at him. Her eyes were dead, as if there was a man outside of K’s field of view who was pointing a gun at her.
“Why would anyone be against saving the koalas?” she asked, coldly. “It’s bizarre.”
Emily Hanford is Senior Correspondent with APM Reports at American Public Media. Over the last few years, Emily has been researching, broadcasting and writing about reading instruction in the United States and it is fair to say that, as a result, she has shifted the dial on the discussion there. In this episode, Emily talks to Greg Ashman about how she became interested in reading instruction and what she has learnt from her research. Along the way, Emily and Greg discuss explicit and direct teaching, balanced literacy, the nature of the evidence on reading, models such as the simple view of reading and what teachers have told her about how they were prepared to teach reading.