Over 300 school staff including principals, teachers and teacher aides have received intensive training in new, back to basics approaches to reading and writing that will help disadvantaged students in 34 remote schools in Western Australia and the Northern Territory.
Minister for Education and Training, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP said participants have just completed their training in the delivery of Direct Instruction (DI) and Explicit Direct Instruction (EDI) as part of the Australian Government’s Flexible literacy for remote primary schools programme.
“Literacy is the cornerstone of all education. You must be able to read and write if you are to succeed at school and at life in 21st century Australia,” Mr Pyne said.
“Research indicates that alphabetic teaching approaches such as Direct Instruction and Explicit Direct Instruction are particularly beneficial for children who are having difficulty learning to read and who are at risk of developing future reading problems.
“More importantly they have been trialled in disadvantaged communities on Cape York where they have worked.”
Mr Pyne said that in 2014, the proportion of Year 3 students meeting the minimum standard in NAPLAN for reading was around 84 per cent in remote schools and 56 per cent in very remote schools, compared with 95 per cent for their city peers.
“That’s why we are taking practical steps to re-introduce and embed back-to-basics teaching methods such as DI and EDI to classrooms.
“It’s great to see that teachers have signed up for this important work and I commend them on their dedication to ensuring that remoteness is not barrier to reading and writing,” Mr Pyne said.
Teachers will use a suite of student textbooks, workbooks and readers for primary years, with focus on essential reading skills, including phonics, phonemic awareness, vocabulary, fluency and comprehension.
DI and EDI complement the Students First approach under which the Australian Government is working with the states and territories on four key areas that will make a difference to students:
• teacher quality
• school autonomy
• parental engagement
• strengthening the curriculum.
Good to Great Schools Australia is currently working with education authorities and schools to determine the need for and possible locations of future training.