• User AvatarMiriam
  • 26 Aug, 2023
  • 2 Mins Read

Education and Politics.

Politics and Education.

Once again, education is being used as a gambit for both leading political parties leading up to the election. Again, what has been reported in the media, the policies appear weak and are not addressing the real concerns we in education actually have.

Alison Mau wrote an excellent article in the Sunday Star Times, August 20th (here’s the link – ‘Education policy critical, no matter who wins election’. She covered many areas of education  in this article but in the first paragraph she commented:

“It’s a massive and urgent task, with falling standards in basic numeracy and literacy over the past decade now a major concern among educators, parents, employers and politicians alike.”

Yes. Massively concerning and we have to be very careful to not be sold the lemon that there is a magic bullet that’s going to fix everything.

Currently there is a lot of talk out there that a phonics based programme or a structured literacy approach, is what is going to solve the literacy problem and that this needs to be introduced as policy. It is not. Understanding and knowing how phonics works within a balanced literacy programme is one element for successful literacy learning. But only one. 

It most certainly plays a part in learning to read and write successfully, but only a part.  

A structured literacy approach does not teach a child how to think critically, infer information, use context, make sense of a story. These are all skills needed not only to be successful readers and writers, but also in all aspects of work and life.

What needs to be addressed has multiple layers which are complex, which makes it very challenging to introduce policy to begin to rectify. We certainly do not need a mandate from the top, a hard rule for what we teach in the classroom to ensure success for our children.

At home there are many things you can be doing to help your children with literacy and numeracy depending on their age. But for smaller children, having a chat about their day, talking about the time, what food you are cooking, what colour their clothes are. 

Giving them your time, without devices, is the first step in preparing them for life ahead. Knowing how to have a conversation in and of itself is hugely important. For more resources around the HOW for this here are a few resources to help.

Harvard Graduate School of Education Family Dinners Project.

Top tips for speaking with your child

Say It Clearly, your guide for clear and confident speech in children

Clear Speech for Children – an online course of videos and pdfs to support, that show and explain how to speak clearly for you and your family to watch and follow along with.

If you have any questions or comments please get in touch – miriam@sayitclearly.co.nz

Have a great week, Miriam.

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