Home >  Blog >  Literacy standards of aspiring teachers

Literacy standards of aspiring teachers

Posted by Garry Collins, AATE President on 5 January 2015

The following letter was submitted in response to an item in The Courier-Mail but it was not selected for publication. The same item appeared in Melbourne's Herald-Sun on 1 January under the headline "Lament over standards as aspiring teachers flop literacy". So what we had was The Courier-Mail copying an item from a Melbourne paper about research almost certainly conducted with a cohort of students in a university in Perth. It must have been a slow news day.

Literacy standards of aspiring teachers

You report poor literacy standards of some education degree undergraduates tested in a research project conducted by an academic at a Western Australian university ("Cannot spell, will teach", C-M Jan 2).

While inadequate literacy skills in any intending teachers is a matter of concern, readers should be careful about generalising too readily from this instance.

The sort of weakness reported is not what I have observed amongst the prospective secondary English teachers with whom I have worked as a sessional tutor at The University of Queensland over the last two years. About two thirds of these students have been in the fourth and final year of a double degree program combining a Bachelor of Arts or equivalent with a Bachelor of Education. The remaining third were working towards a Graduate Diploma in Education after having already completed at least a relevant bachelor degree. A few had masters degrees and one had a PhD.

In the several decades that I was the English Subject Master/Head of Department in two state high schools I would have been very pleased to have had almost any of these people as beginning teachers. I was initially going to write "young people" but some were mature age students who brought varied valuable experiences in other occupations.

Garry Collins
President, Australian Association for the Teaching of English (AATE

Author: Garry Collins, AATE President
About: Garry Collins is the Immediate Past President of ETAQ and began a 2 year term as AATE President on 1 January 2014. A retired high school English teacher, he now works in the School of Education at the University of Queensland as a sessional tutor in English curriculum courses.
Tags: General news

Post comment

Upcoming Events

March Seminar 2018 - Text List Crash Course

2018 will see the launch of our Vision 2020 series of professional development events. An outline of the program for 2018 is now available The theme for the March Seminar  is Text List Crash Course. You are invited to explore, with the guidance of experts, a selection of texts from the recently released text list. ...

Category:   Seminar
Start Time:   8:00 AM
Date:   Saturday 17th March 2018
Venue:   St Aidan's Anglican Girls' School
Venue Address:   11 Ruthven Street, Corinda
Phone Enquiries:   0455 464 000
Email Enquiries:   adminofficer@etaq.org.au


Townsville Breakfast Book Club

Grace Loyden is organising a series of Breakfast Book Clubs starting at 9:00 am on: Sunday 11 February - Burial Rites by Hannah Kent Sunday 21 April - The White Earth by Andrew McGahan Sunday 5 August - Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood Sunday 28 October - We are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler ...

Category:   Seminar
Start Time:   9:00 AM
Date:   Saturday 21st April 2018
  Repeating On specific dates
Venue:   Jam Corner Restaurant


Quality Assessment Intensive

A full day program exploring Quality Assessment in the context of the new English syllabuses. The first session will consist of keynotes presented by Dr Jill Willis,and Dr Kelli McGraw, In the second session, Claire Stevens and Adam Da vey will present an interactive session while in session three, participants will and break out into a numbe...

Category:   Seminar
Start Time:   9:00 AM
Date:   Saturday 28th April 2018
Venue:   The Ship Inn, Southbank
Phone Enquiries:   0455 464 000
Email Enquiries:   adminofficer@etaq.org.au


Masterclass - Unit 3

This event will allow participants to explore the syllabus and teaching strategies in detail for semester 3. Day one will deal with English and Literature, while day two will repeat the English sessions and also offer EALD and English Essentials. The Date Claimer gives further details of the program. Program will be available on 11 Ap...

Category:   Seminar
Start Time:   9:00 AM
Date:   Saturday 19th May 2018
Venue:   University of Queensland
Phone Enquiries:   0455 464 000
Email Enquiries:   adminofficer@etaq.org.au


AATE/ALEA CONFERENCE 2018

THE ART OF ENGLISH language  -  literature  -  literacy The AATE/ALEA English Literacy National Conference 2018 will be held in Perth from 8 July - 11 July 2018. Download the flyer here, or go to the website englishliteracyconference.com.au for all the latest information.   ...

Start Time:   9:00 AM
Date:   Sunday 8th July 2018
Venue:   Perth


< Previous | 1 | 2 | Next >
View all

English Educator of the week

Rachael Christopherson
Brisbane Girls Grammar School

Number of years teaching:
25.  12 years at BGGS

Where else have you taught?
St Edmund's College, Ipswich (all boys)
Mt Alvernia College, Kedron (all girls)
Downlands College, Toowoomba (co-ed boarding with Ag Studies programme)

 

Read more

View all

Blog Feed

Editor of Words'Worth - Expression of interest

Oct 04 2017
Words'Worth is the journal of The Englis...

Grammar myths

Sep 12 2017
An edited version of the letter below was pu...
Read all

Testimonials

Read All

This is the first time I have been to an ETAQ conference and it was really sensational to get so much at all of the sessions.

ETAQ conferences always have sessions that make me excited to be a teacher.

I know that ETAQ conferences in the past have never disappointed - valuable, relevant, practical, inspiring so I came again.

Read All

Newsletter

Receive updates
from ETAQ

PO Box 3375, STAFFORD,
Queensland, Australia, 4053
(07) 3284 3718
ABN: 17 689 278 512

Connect to a great range of people who are passionate about English and have their finger on the pulse.

Be Connected