On Monday 18 January 2016 The Courier-Mail had the following front page headlines:
Revealed: Adult illiteracy crisis cruelling our nation.
THIS SPELLS DISASTER
In response, the following three letters were submitted during the week but none found its way into print. This was not surprising. In my experience, papers seldom give space to criticism of their own practices.
Overblown language about literacy
Your sensational headline "THIS SPELLS DISASTER: Adult illiteracy crisis cruelling our nation" perturbed me at breakfast on Monday.
Later in the day, however, I skimmed through the Australian Industry Group report that apparently "revealed" this so-called national crisis. Chart 4 on Page 10 shows Australia ranking 5th in adult literacy proficiency out of the 23 nations surveyed. Only Japan, Finland, the Netherlands and Sweden scored better and the differences appeared minimal. There is always room for improvement on the literacy front but the word "crisis" seems a poor choice.
If there is indeed a crisis here it probably relates to the composition of appropriate headlines rather than to any deep malaise in society.
Inflated language in headline
Monday's front page headline used the words "disaster" and "crisis" in relation to a report on adult workplace literacy (C-M, Jan 18).
A chart on Page 10 of the Australian Industry Group report shows Australia ranking 5th in adult literacy proficiency out of the 23 nations surveyed. Only Japan, Finland, the Netherlands and Sweden scored better. There is always room for improvement on the literacy front but the words "disaster" and "crisis" are surely not justified.
Inflated language does nothing to promote sensible consideration of important issues.
Motivation for literacy
In commenting on what Monday's front page claimed to be a crisis in workplace literacy, John Tadman (Letters, 22 Jan) approvingly described caning as an effective motivation for learning in primary schools.
If there really is a crisis, perhaps we need a system of corporal punishment in workplaces to motivate staff to improve their levels of literacy. This might sound extreme but would surely be worth it to avoid the impending national disaster predicted in Monday's headline.
|Tags: General news|
National Conference, Melbourne
The AATE National Conference will be held in Melbourne from 30 November to 3rd December. The theme is My story flows in more than one direction: power of story, politics of voice. The program is available here; visit the conference website Early bird registration closes on 20 September. A range of prices includes $550 for personal mem...
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