[Tech & DL 3857] Re: Information superhighway 'bypassing adult learners' -- new study in the U.K.

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Val Yule vyule at labyrinth.net.au
Tue Apr 3 00:25:41 EDT 2012


I still urge that disadvantaged people must be given some help so they can read quickly, both on the internet and on paper.

‘Dyslexics’ are by and large middle-class, which is why they get so much attention. The disadvantaged who have no background to help them read or realize the value of reading, are a bigger group. There is more to why people are poor than just education - but education is one of the most important ways to get out of poverty. (There is the whole context of environment, lack of any jobs, bad luck, illness, alcohol, drugs, gambling - all the things that make people think education cannot help them. As citizens we must tackle these things too.)

But teachers are right in saying that their literacy education must be explicit, structured, and kinesthetic, to get over their lack of middle class verbal skills. And teachers must be taught how to teach it - and inspired in order to be enthusiastic too. And able to cope with the uproar that some schools are. Many teachers are reluctant to move off Whole Language. Others have phonics without early help with non-phonic words. Are we reluctant to try anything new when we encounter learners who get stuck?
Experiment with Parallel Texts - I have written about this before. This will not harm anyone and helps many. The parallel text does not have the spelling traps of too many letters or the wrong letters, and can help the disadvantaged link spoken language and the written language.

It can take disadvantaged people too long to get enough phonics to work out the 35 common irregular words by phonics. 35 words that must be recognized as whole words with phonic clues helps learners over the early discovery that early phonics teaching does not help them with 12% of the words in their books and newspapers. Just have these words on the wall; give them on a sheet, set them in a sing-song. all almost always among as come some could should would half know of off one only once other pull push put they their two as was what want who why, and word-endings -ion/-tion/-sion.No pack drill.

The spelling traps that we could easily change keep disadvantaged lerners down.

‘Back in the mid sixties Gerald Lesser, the guy who started Sesame Street, put together a study of culture/ethnicity and income levels.He chose 4 ethnic groups, then split them in relation to poor/middle class (he looked at where they lived), that's 4 groups. The kids were all pre-school. I think, but can't quite remember, that he used IQ [a proxy for (academic) achievement]. Result: the shape of intelligence varied by group; shape = the contour lines determined by linking subtest scores, AND intelligence varied by income level. So, for one ethnic group, imagine a line drawn across a page. Richer kids scored x points higher than poorer kids, BUT the shape of their intelligence was identical within each. (andrea wilder)

http://www.unnaturalcauses.org/

UNNATURAL CAUSES is the acclaimed documentary series broadcast by PBS and now used by thousands of organizations around the country to tackle the root causes of our alarming socio-economic and racial inequities in health.



The four-hour series crisscrosses the nation uncovering startling new findings that suggest there is much more to our health than bad habits, health care, or unlucky genes. The social circumstances in which we are born, live, and work can actually get under our skin and disrupt our physiology as much as germs and viruses.



Among the clues:



• It's not CEOs dropping dead from heart attacks, but their subordinates.



• Poor smokers are at higher risk of disease than rich smokers.



• Recent Latino immigrants, though typically poorer, enjoy better health than the average American. But the longer they're here, the worse their health becomes.



Furthermore, research has revealed a gradient to health. At each step down the class pyramid, people tend to be sicker and die sooner. Poor Americans die on average almost six years sooner than the rich. No surprise. But even middle class Americans die two years sooner than the rich. And at each step on that pyramid, African Americans, on average, fare worse than their white counterparts. In many cases, so do other peoples of color.



But why? How can class and racism disrupt our physiology? Through what channels might inequities in housing, wealthy, jobs, and education, along with a lack of power and control over one's life, translate into bad health? What is it about our poor neighborhoods, especially neglected neighborhoods of color, that is so deadly? How are the behavioral choices we make (such as diet and exercise) constrained by the choices we have?



Evidence suggests that more equitable social policies, secure living-wage jobs, affordable housing, racial justice, good schools, community empowerment, and family supports are health issues just as critical as diet, tobacco use, and exercise.



The fact remains, however, that the issue of illiteracy is becoming more pronounced by the day, no discernible headway has been made in years of attempting to tackle illiteracy, and I must even wonder (and actually do wonder) whether there is, in fact, a sociopolitical will to create a literate society.



14.2.2011



Gareth Stedman Jones' LANGUAGES OF CLASS; STUDIES OF WORKING CLASS HISTORY 1832-1982 describes the effects of the British Education Act 1870 and why education and literacy after that were rejected by the working classes, and a solvent of the mechanics' traditions of self-education because they perceived the schools as designed by their rulers to fit their children to be the factory workers of tomorrow, and not to raise them up.

This attitude is still very common, as another factor preventing literacy. It means that all efforts to instil working habits of a difficult reading system are resisted, and today other entertainments are more attractive.



val yule



On 13/02/2011, at 7:28 AM, Michael A. Gyori wrote:

The fact remains, however, that the issue of illiteracy is becoming more pronounced by the day, no discernible headway has been made in years of attempting to tackle illiteracy, and I must even wonder (and actually do wonder) whether there is, in fact, a sociopolitical will to create a literate society.



Yes, Lindamood Bell or Orton-Gillingham type approaches to reading instruction may work for some. Whether implementing such systematic phonics-based approaches in the teaching of reading to children – especially the alleged “20% who learn differently” – would actually solve the conundrum of illiteracy remains to be proven.



I revert back to my position that we must revisit the life circumstances and events of those children and adults who end up struggling in school. I’d urge a more concerted effort to identify events that lead to alienation, inattentiveness, hyperactivity, perceptual and cognitive blocks, shame, and avoidance, to characterize a few behaviors. Dr. Donald Nathanson, M.D., in an interview by Children of the Code, discusses “The Role of Affect in Learning to Read - How Shame Exacerbates Reading Difficulties” (go to http://www.childrenofthecode.org/interviews/nathanson.htm#SelfTransparentReading for the transcript). I recommend reading the interview because it simply provides a different perspective on issues we have been focusing on for many years without any promising results to show to date.

Yes, Lindamood Bell or Orton-Gillingham type approaches to reading instruction may work for some. Whether implementing such systematic phonics-based approaches in the teaching of reading to children – especially the alleged “20% who learn differently” – would actually solve the conundrum of illiteracy remains to be proven.



I revert back to my position that we must revisit the life circumstances and events of those children and adults who end up struggling in school. I’d urge a more concerted effort to identify events that lead to alienation, inattentiveness, hyperactivity, perceptual and cognitive blocks, shame, and avoidance, to characterize a few behaviors. Dr. Donald Nathanson, M.D., in an interview by Children of the Code, discusses “The Role of Affect in Learning to Read - How Shame Exacerbates Reading Difficulties” (go to http://www.childrenofthecode.org/interviews/nathanson.htm#SelfTransparentReading for the transcript). I recommend reading the interview because it simply provides a different perspective on issues we have been focusing on for many years without any promising results to show to date.



Thank you, John, for passing along this brilliant report that leaves no argument unanswered. Our nation cannot survive without a literate population. We have to ask why this resistance to reforming teacher education? Who is profiting from continuing what does not work? Illiteracy is costing all of us money for juvenile delinquency, dropouts, truancy, and prison populations. Is there anyone out there ready to make the changes we know will stop this blight of illiteracy? Carefully heeding the recommendations of the report need not be a dream. All it takes is will to make the changes.

Lucille Cuttler



P.S. I am passing this along to school superintendents and other educators who may feel equally concerned.





-----Original Message-----

From: learningdisabilities-bounces at nifl.gov [mailto:learningdisabilities-bounces at nifl.gov]On Behalf Of John Corcoran

Sent: Thursday, April 29, 2010 5:27 PM

To: The Learning Disabilities Discussion List

Subject: [LD 5187] What Elementary Teachers Aren't Learning





John Corcoran Foundation

www.johncorcoranfoundation.org



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----- Original Message -----

From: John Corcoran

To: The Learning Disabilities Discussion List

Sent: Thursday, April 29, 2010 11:30 AM

To All: What do you think and feel about the attached report?

Stephen Nickell s.j.nickell at lse.ac.uk
Literacy and Equality, by Stephen Nickell.
Prospect Magazine April 2010


In the mid 1990s a series of tests were administered to large samples of the
adult population in many OECD countries. This was the International Literacy
Survey (ILAS). Because the tests were identical across all countries, they
are a valuable source of information. Surveys such as these are regularly
given to schoolchildren, but the IALS has been the only such survey for
British adults.

Several features of the ILAS results are worth noting. First, the average
scores of the top 20 per cent not differ greatly across most countries. By
contrast. the average scores of the bottom 20 per cent differ dramatically.

Second. there is a very high correlation between the dispersion of test
scores and the dispersion of earning in a country - well over 80 per cent.
Putting this another way, countries which do a good job of educating
individuals at the lower end of the ability range tend to have lower levels
of earnings inequality.

It will come as no surprise that Britain has a very high level of test score
dispersion to go with its very high level of earnings inequality. In
quantitative literacy, 23 per cent of the working age population in Britain
were at level one, the lowest lever. This compares with 6.6 per cent in
Sweden and Germany. The percentage at level one in Britain is much the same
in all age groups. So those educated in the secondary modern era and those
educated in the comprehensive era reveal the same poor performance.

Recent international tests of 15 year olds carried out under Pisa (Programme
of International Students Assessment) seem to indicate some reduction in the
level of dispersion in Britain, perhaps because of the recent focus on
numeracy and literacy in primary schools. However, there is evidence that
weaker students were under represented in the sample. We will only know for
sure when the next literacy survey comes around, which should be fairly
soon, But given that fact that, in Britain, the total resources spent on
educating the top half of the ability range is vastly greater than that
spent on the bottom half, I would not be so optimistic.

*Stephen Nickell is an economist and Warden of Nuffield College, Oxford.

*

--
Nigel


There is more to why people are poor than just education - but education is one of the most important ways to get out of poverty. (There is the whole context of environment, lack of any jobs, bad luck, illness, alcohol, drugs, gambling - all the things that make people think education cannot help them. As citizens we must tackle these things too.)

val yule

Dr Valerie Yule, M.A., Ph.D, Dip.Ed., M.B.Ps.S. Teacher at all levels, from preschool to adult and migrant literacy and PhD supervision. Academic positions at Melbourne, Monash and Aberdeen Universities in departments of Psychology and Education; clinical child psychologist at the Royal Children’s Hospitals, Melbourne and Aberdeen; schools psychologist chiefly but not only in disadvantaged schools.Present research on imagination and literacy.


On 03/04/2012, at 9:53 AM, David Rosen wrote:


> Colleagues,

>

> This news article about a journal article describing a study in the the U.K. is the first I have seen that looks at how the learning of a large number of adults has/hasn't been affected by Internet-based lifelong learning opportunities. The news is not encouraging. But why is this so? Do you think if a similar study were conducted in the U.S. the findings would be the same? If so, what should we be doing to make learning on the Internet more accessible to adult learners?

>

> From the news article:

>

> Despite a world of opportunities just a click away, there has been no significant shift in the uptake of lifelong learning over the past decade according to new research.

>

> Pronouncements at government level about the creation of 'a learning society' where education is the key to a nation's economic development - the so-called 'knowledge economy'- are not backed by evidence in society, the researchers found.

>

> Although easier access to the internet and faster connections may have facilitated informal learning opportunities, the vision of mass learning is simply a pipe-dream, researchers claim.

>

> Analysis conducted by Dr Patrick White, a lecturer in the Department of Sociology at the University of Leicester, suggests that participation in adult learning neither increased nor widened during the first decade of the 21st Century.

>

> He said: "Given the rapid development of the Internet during these years – both in terms of capability and accessibility – our findings suggest that online technologies have not fulfilled the promise of their advocates who believed they would break down barriers to learning and expand access to previously excluded groups."

>

> The news article (free): http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-04/uol-is040212.php

>

> The Journal article ($36.00!) : Patrick White (2012): Modelling the 'learning divide': predicting participation in adult learning and future learning intentions 2002 to 2010, British Educational Research Journal, 38:1, 153-175 http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01411926.2010.529871

>

> David J. Rosen

> djrosen123 at gmail.com

>

>

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