@ Clare Payne Direct Instruction described on your website as teacher …

Comment on Cape York lessons for Centre’s schools? by Ralph Folds.

@ Clare Payne
Direct Instruction described on your website as teacher direction, presentation of information, clear outlines, step-by-step progression, prompts, lessons pacing, etc certainly have a place in Aboriginal schools. DI is especially valuable where students are struggling to read and lack confidence.
But it isn’t useful for teachers to over-direct all learning, ultimately students have to become independent learners / readers in their own right. Students have to apply what they have learned to completely novel situations and the teacher can’t do that for them.
Teaching has to be balanced in order to reflect all the learning needs.
Dr Chris Sarra of the Stronger Smarter Institute is perhaps the sternest critic of DI where it involves “teachers working strictly to a script with students drilled to repeat only what is in their workbooks”. Sarra notes that: “While early (DI) gains may appear as a result of the emphasis on decoding text, those gains evaporate and sometimes reverse in later primary years as learning requires comprehension and not just decoding.”
The potential of DI is to provide an initial supportive framework for learners, a structure within which they will gain confidence and learn new skills.

Ralph Folds Also Commented

Cape York lessons for Centre’s schools?
Fantastic that Alison has taken the initiative in exploring ways to lift remote school outcomes, this is just the latest example of Alison working at the grassroots in communities to improve life opportunities.
Direct Instruction (DI) in Aboriginal schools, has been gaining popularity as a response to the need to demonstrate student achievement. Recalling number facts, reciting the times tables or “reading” very familiar books are impressive displays of school learning at a time when outcomes are demanded and teachers are frustrated by the painfully slow, incremental progress in their classrooms.
But literacy and numeracy are more than recalling memorised information.
Will a student who has memorised by rote that 3 x 4 = 12 also know how much 3 toys will cost if they are $4 each?
Will the student who can seemingly “read” a familiar book quite fluently also understand what it is about?
Very often the answers to these questions in Aboriginal classrooms is “no”. The student says that the toys will cost $100 and can “read” the book but doesn’t really know what the story is about.
DI is valuable but the risk is overblowing it by assuming that rote learning includes a deeper understanding that is actually not there. This shows up in NAPLAN testing which measures maths levels by presenting problems to solve and measures a student’s reading level by asking detailed questions about a story the student will not have seen before.
There is a place for memorised information, knowing the times tables is a good start to problem solving, memorising sight words does help with reading comprehension. Working memory is freed up for the task of understanding. DI also allows Aboriginal students to taste success, to feel they are getting somewhere at school. However, DI needs to be carefully embedded in well thought out programs such as First Steps, that teach the higher level skills.
DI is a valuable addition to programs that tackle low literacy / numeracy levels rather than a stand alone solution.
Thanks to Alison for highlighting its potential.

Recent Comments by Ralph Folds

Gunner Government ‘droving’ away investment
They want native title holders telling pastoralists what they can and can’t do on the land that they manage and operate properties in a $1bn industry.
They want the traditional owners of the land, since time immemorial, to be empowered to have a say on the use of their land.

Massive illegal dumping will test the EPA
The cost in tip fees for processing the dumped waste pictured would be around $1000. The cost of removing the dumped waste from the environment would be three times that or more.
It is not helpful either to the environment nor to ratepayers that the council charges such high fees.
Disposal of general waste – Commercial $127.80.
Disposal of clean fill and rocks > 20cm / demolition / concrete (per ton) $127.80.
Disposal of Whitegoods – $67.20.
Disposal of large truck tyres (not mining / industrial truck tyres) $80.80.

IAD under external administration
IAD Press is nothing short of a national treasure.
It has published many uncommercial but highly valuable language resources over the decades.
Meanwhile, the teaching arm of IAD is probably defunct and cannot be resurrected.
It has lost its key trainers, its reputation and is besieged by competition.
A wild idea 1:
IAD Press be privatised by Aboriginal organisations and largely funded by Centrecorp.
Wonderful kudos for them nationally for doing this.
All local organisations use it to print their reports and many other publications.
Wild idea 2:
The IAD property be sold and the funds used to maintain the press.

Dumbing down Alice Springs
We all know that the NT Government is heavily mired in crippling debt.
Of course, the CDU has to be downsized and it must happen in a sensible manner.
Simply, which courses are producing real outcomes, i.e. getting students jobs?
Higher education for remote students is laudable but has failed at huge expense over many years.
How many Aboriginal teachers and nurses are there who are actually employed?
Almost none.
There are many courses that lead to almost zero employment outcomes.
Art courses in the Correctional Centre is one of them and this must be discontinued.
Music was abolished some time ago but somehow art survived.
The NT can no longer pay for recreational courses.
The NT Government and CDU do have to slash costs but should maintain the courses and staff that are producing real employment outcomes.
The rest do have to go and the sooner the better. We are broke.

Mating odour to catch feral cats
Cats roam and I wonder how many much-loved pet cats have ended up on this rural property.
Cats should always be trapped and taken to the local shelter.
Shelter staff and volunteers will then check for a microchip to see if there is a registered owner and advertise online to try to re-home. They are dealt with humanely at all times.

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