Well, we have a lot of views about everything. In fact, this might be the longest web page ever. There are many things we like and much that we don't. There is much in fact, that seems quite frightening at the moment but learning and education are our tools. These are the tools that in our experience, often offer the best solutions to the biggest of problems.
On theories, philosophies -
We have one theory. Students learn best when they are confident. Some students need heaps and heaps of challenge but this is not difficult to achieve. Developing and maintaining student confidence is a much more difficult task. Views that suggest winning should dominate learning, are incompatible with education for even the most competitive student.
On styles -
We support varied content and styles to suit our varied students with different needs, different interest, different learning abilities.
On data -
Educational data is often used to single out one view or another but collecting educational data is more challenging than collecting just about any other kind. There are almost too many variables to consider and many of them are unmeasurable.
Phonetics is important, so is reading in context, word recognition, thinking skills, grammar, open-ended reading opportunities, creativity, repetition. Graded readers have a place and even age-old transcription has a place.
We want to achieve the much praised 'balance' but it turns out to be very complicated. When we try for balance, things seem to get very unfair. What is going wrong? Well, we started thinking...if a person was balanced on a cliff-face would it make them straight? (We were not sure where this took us...) If your greengrocer is pushing down on one side of the scales they are balanced but...? Well, it doesn't make the balance fair, does it? (Apologies to green grocers.)
Nearly 50 percent of the population voted for Labor at the last election but our research indicates that the dominant Australian media gave this half of the population about 25 percent of reasonable support and about 75 percent ill-will or disapproval. Media monitoring It was like a handicap race where one contestant has to do an extra 25% every time they run. We recognise the power of the media.
If about half the population, (the losing half), is handicapped by negative news that appears each day and is cumulative even if it's years before the next election it means that treating the news outlets 'equally' or in a balanced way is a challenge. We are not sure how to do this yet but in the end, as teachers, our job is to focus on analysing media reports for persuasive or manipulative qualities-for the sound argument or the flimsy and secondly, to understand what it takes to be persuasive in an ethical manner. That part is not often spelt out but teachers have a duty of care and ethics are part of the whole. We will have to see how the rest follows.
This is before we get to misinformation. Do you treat the material of a media outlet which misinforms as an equal with one which tells facts?