- Dec 4, 2010
After letting a tsunami of foreigners into the country, is it any surprise our kids can no longer speak English ?
If you met Americans abroad,they are mostly upper income,the 10% who have passports.I'd agree with you about Ireland, but from the Americans that I've encountered I'd say that US standards of literacy are higher than those in England.
As I've already said I think that a big part of this present Literacy problem is the result of the long-term decline in book-reading and book-buying for pleasure.
No teacher is ever fired in Ireland,in a profession with a very high burnout rate.My younger sister who is nine years my junior wasn't taught to read at school. She recited her texts from memory and a few simple questions was all it took to show me she couldn't read. I kept pointing it out to my parents who didn't pay much heed as I became concerned as she was gone way beyond the age at which a child should be reading. I put some time in myself and taught her to read by making the sounds of the letters - I didn't know anything about phonics myself at the time being only a young teenager but it seemed logical to me. She learned to read this way eventually with my help. I couldn't understand how the teacher overlooked her as they were in a very small class in a rural school. The teacher was the supposed expert and it took another child to do their job for them and teach their pupil to read.
The U.S. State Department suggests the number is closer to 30%.If you met Americans abroad,they are mostly upper income,the 10% who have passports.
A dark Irish secret that few of us want to talk about - The Irish Times - Sat, Dec 11, 2010about a quarter of Irish remained [throughout the last decade] incapable of reading and writing well enough to be able to fully participate in society. This compares with 3 per cent in Sweden and 5 per cent in Germany.
THe Irish public has little interest in the illiteracy issue,thanks to a typical self congratulatory delusion about Ireland that we have the greatest education system in the world.And from Fintan O'Toole yesterday:
A dark Irish secret that few of us want to talk about - The Irish Times - Sat, Dec 11, 2010
Allowing for the fact that part of the Irish "quarter" is a legacy of very high illiteracy rates among older people, our current decline in literacy standards will be a huge burden on our society in coming decades. The circa 30% illiteracy rate of recent times in disadvantaged schools cited by FOT will guarantee the continued existence of a large underclass unable to participate meaningfully in Irish society and our economy. It will also obviously constitute a disproportionate burden on those who have been lucky enough to benefit from the parts of our education system that work.
In short, Ireland has a compromised future if it does not tackle, in particular, primary education standards as a matter of immediate urgency. If that means diverting state funding from third level (with a corresponding increase in student fees), then so be it.
I do. And there is also a new emphasis on that. If you get chance take a look at one of the new text book. I've one in particular I'm thinking of but don't want to be accused of advertising. At the start of each section there's a brief history of the topic and where it is applicable. The problem is realising that there is a lot of basic maths to learn before you can get into this "fun/interesting" stuff. Students, like all of us in todays world, want an instant fix.Maybe schools should use some imagination in encouraging children to be ambitious in maths by showing videos on the role of maths in the sciences,emphasising the miraculous quality of maths based technologies.
What you say makes a lot of sense. Ghettos don't do anyone any good. Neither does the culture of social welfare dependency. Educating the maximum number of future citizens is the only way we can slowly break out of the cycle of self-perpetuating non-productive underclasses.THe Irish public has little interest in the illiteracy issue,thanks to a typical self congratulatory delusion about Ireland that we have the greatest education system in the world.
To improve literacy in socially deprived areas,children would need pre-schooling and in primary schools,considerable one-to-one tuition and exposure to reading of children's stories. This is needed to compensate for the lack of literacy or interest in education in the home environment. The cost of this is high,but would save money in the long run by reducing social welfare dependency.
That said,it is very difficult to educate children in such areas as shown by extensive US research by Charles Murray and others.Social housing policies need to make sure that council housing doesn't concentrate long term social welfare dependants in ghettos. Rent supplements are better than council housing for giving the children of social welfare dependants access to good schools outside of socially deprived areas where they can benefit from interaction with typical middle class children.
Could the explanation be the increase in the numbers of students which leads to participation of students of lesser ability on average? Or is there a decline in maths teaching?Interesting letter from TCD's Dr Sara McMurry in the Times. Extract:
In the school of physics in Trinity we have noticed a progressive decline in mathematical ability over the past 10 years. This does not reflect a lower standard of general intelligence in our students, but a lack of training in mathematical reasoning.
While learning purely by rote is regrettable in any subject, in maths it is disastrous. Learning by heart recipes for solving the questions on the Leaving Maths papers is not the same as learning mathematics. The essence of maths is logical reasoning....
The Irish Times - Letters
On the assumption that teaching includes the student , I think it may have more to do with teaching methods. Use of calculators is quite common, at least in secondary level, and that excludes the need to understand the process fully.Could the explanation be the increase in the numbers of students which leads to participation of students of lesser ability on average? Or is there a decline in maths teaching?