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

Garry Collins, AATE PresidentAuthor: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

Early Career Conference 2021

The Early Career Conference  in 2021 will be held on 23 October at Wynnum State High School, WYNNUM. The program has been updated to reflect a change in workshop offerings in workshop sessions 2 and 5. Registrations are now open until Saturday 16 October. As networking is an integral part of this day, it is envisaged that it will...

Category: Seminar
Start Time: 9:00 AM
Date: Saturday 23rd October 2021
Venue: Wynnum SHS
Email Enquiries:  adminofficer@etaq.org.au


Essential English: Community of Practice 2021

Following on from the success of last year's event for teachers of Essential English, we will be running this event again this year with some modifications. The program is available and registrations are now open. Venue: Deception Bay SHS, Phillip Street, DECEPTION BAY. Registrations will close on Saturday 30 October. Interes...

Category: Seminar
Start Time: 9:00 AM
Date: Saturday 6th November 2021
Venue: Deception Bay SHS
Venue Address: Phillip Parade, DECEPTION BAY
Email Enquiries:  adminofficer@etaq.org.au


Grammar PD term 4

To assist attendees to develop their understandings of grammar in order to fully comprehend and to effectively teach the Australia Curriculum: English (AC:E), a further session will be held on Saturday 20 November at John Paul College.  The flyer gives further details.  Registration will close on 14 November.  ...

Category: Workshop
Start Time: 9:00 AM
Date: Saturday 20th November 2021
Venue: John Paul College
Email Enquiries:  adminofficer@etaq.org.au


View all

Latest News

View all

Blog Feed

Grammar myths

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

Impact on learning

Sep 12 2017
The following letter was submitted to The Au...
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

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

Be Connected