For the last two years we have been working on the Funda Wande: Reading for Meaning program (video here). Our aim is to equip Foundation Phase teachers (Grades R-3) to teach all children to read for meaning in their home language and in English. We’ve realised that this involves a lot of different components, from collaboration with government, the development of lesson plans and materials, in-classroom coaching, and working with Rhodes to develop a formal qualification, the Advanced Certificate in Teaching Foundation Phase: Literacy. The team has expanded quickly over the last two years and there are now 28 people working on various elements on the project. We have now also expanded into mathematics (Bala Wande: Calculating with Confidence) and have a pilot in ECD.
We are now looking for a COO for the project to help manage all the different work streams. If you know of anyone who fits the description above please forward this on to them and encourage them to apply (Deadline: end of March 2019, PDF of job advert here). They will be working with a really great team of fast-moving, competent, dedicated and hard-working professionals. All kids deserve a decent shot at life by learning to read for meaning and pleasure and learning to calculate with confidence and understanding. Join the team 🙂
Other important jobs: The Department of Basic Education (DBE) and the Foundation for Professional Development (FPD) are recruiting a Research Manager and a Research Assistant for their Early Grade Reading Study scale-up in the North West (Deadlines: 13 March 2019). I am always reluctant to circulate job adverts that don’t have a salary range (these ones don’t) but this is really important work and you will be working with a very cool team of researchers in the DBE. I can strongly recommend this!
Important bursaries: RESEP at Stellenbosch is currently offering bursaries to Masters students at any SA university for students looking at the Economics of Education, Basic Education and ECD. Value: R50,000 p.a. Deadline: 5 April 2019.
Over the last while I’ve been swamped working on the Funda Wande: Reading for Meaning program (more on that soon) and haven’t managed to keep up with the ‘Links I liked‘ blog posts. I think these are a helpful way of keeping track of good articles/books/blogs/videos etc. and curating some of cool stuff on the internet so I want to get back into this. Most of my time these days is spent looking at early grade reading in African languages so most of the articles are linked to that…
Useful new research:
- Fundamentally important new Working Paper (May 2018) by Prof Martin Gustafsson on “Understanding the sharp primary level enrolment increases beginning in 2011 in SA” –> My favourite line in the conclusion “It would have been good to have this information earlier as planning and adjusting the schooling system takes time.” Classic Martin!
- Great book on “Reading Fluency: Current Insights from Neurocognitive Research and Intervention Studies” (2016 edited volume by Springer) – we need much of this style of quantitative research on reading fluency in African languages.
- Looking through RTI’s recent list of publications I’m really impressed at how much they are doing both in implementation (they are USAID’s main implementation partner in education) and in research. Lots of universities like to say they are are about both ‘research’ and ‘impact’ – RTI is probably the most productive university-that-isn’t-a-university in the world. Here are three of their recent publications in the field of early literacy: “What We Have Learned in the Past Decade: RTI’s Approach to Early Grade Literacy Instruction” (Bulat et al. 2017) – I love their 5 T’s!, “Effectiveness of teachers’ guides in the Global South: Scripting, learning outcomes, and classroom utilization” (Piper et al., 2018) – super important given the successes of EGRS in SA, “What works in early reading materials” (Robledo & Gove, 2019).
- I briefly jumped back into the language-in-education research to see if there were any updates and these three are really worth reading:
- “Implementing Mother Tongue Instruction in the Real World: Results from a Medium-Scale Randomized Controlled Trial in Kenya” (Piper et al 2015),
- “Examining the secondary effects of mother-tongue literacy instruction in Kenya: Impacts on student learning in English, Kiswahili, and mathematics“(Piper et al 2018) – a useful caution using additional findings to those of the 2015 paper, although I’m a little skeptical given how short the baseline-endline comparison was, and of course
- “Estimating the impact of language of instruction in South African primary schools: A fixed effects approach” (Taylor & Von Fintel, 2016).
- SciHub – (Note that for those who don’t have access to these journals via a university I am told that typing “sci hub” into Google and then going to SciHub and inserting the DOI number of the article will provide access to pretty much any academic article 😉
- “PASEC2014 Education System Performance in Francophone Sub-Saharan Africa: Competencies and Learning Factors in Primary Education. PASEC is like SACMEQ but for Francophone Africa. This is a really comprehensive report. Bravo to CONFEMEN and the research team who put it together.
- Brahm Fleisch’s new (2018) book “The Education Triple Cocktail, The System-wide instructional reform in South Africa” – I’ll be speaking about this with Brahm and Jonathan Jansen in Cape Town next week Thursday (7 March 2019 at 6pm) at Juta HQ in Claremont.
- The BuaLit Collective has written a paper titled “How are we failing our children? Reconceptualising language and literacy education” (Oct 2018). Irrespective of whether I agree or disagree with the perspectives put forward in the paper, it is still useful to have this written down to engage with. Science moves forward when we can engage in rigorous ways with what other researchers are doing.
I think I already posted the links below but it can’t hurt to do it again:
If you’ve read any great articles in the last while feel free to post them in the comments!