More skills for teachers needed - Awatere Huata
ACT Education spokesperson Donna Awatere Huata said today she supported the call by Literacy Experts Group of New
Zealand's leading reading academics for structured early reading teaching.
"But what's needed now is leadership and action," Mrs Awatere Huata said.
"New Zealand has been looking for leadership ever since an international survey in 1990 revealed a widening gap between
Maori and non-Maori reading skills. This gap did not exist in 1970 and is thought to be the result of a change in the
way teachers were taught reading skills throughout the 1970's.
"Children are failing because our classroom teachers do not have enough strategies and skills to teach reading. The old
phonics teaching was boring and limiting to children and was rightly thrown out. But there are now dynamic ways of
teaching phonics and phonemic awareness."
Mrs Awatere Huata said the evaluation of teacher training that the academics have called for is a waste of time and just
another example of academic dithering.
"We've already had a number of reports. One more will not help teacher trainees get the skills they need, or provide
relief for teachers who are working harder and harder to get kids reading.
"Teachers need support right now. The Minister of Education has to crack the whip over teacher training and over
professional development for teachers of new entrants.
"This Government has pledged to close the gap between Maori and non-Maori . Everything depends on us getting Maori
children reading early. There is no better way that the Government can do it than by giving teacher trainees and
teachers more skills to work smarter not harder."