What we can do to realise our excellence and equity goals in literacy





The research, practice and policy communities in Aotearoa New Zealand know a lot about literacy; the what and how of development, and what works for whom, under what conditions. But two issues stand in the way of better meeting the national excellence and equity goals. One is solving system challenges of variability, scalability, sustainability and capability. Solving this requires taking a life course approach to the evidence, including what optimises enjoyment and criticality from early learning through schooling; and guaranteeing collective clarity and accountability for effective practices. Solving the second, too much selective and limited reasoning about what is needed, requires better understanding our histories of practice and outcomes, and the evidence about these; taking seriously the collective need for evidence-based reasoning; better understanding the nature of the sciences involved; and careful and collective reasoning to understand what is robust evidence and what is inaccurate and misleading. Both issues have implications for capability building through resourcing, initial teacher education, and professional learning and development.


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Author Biography

Stuart McNaughton, University of Auckland

Stuart McNaughton is Professor of Education at the University of Auckland. He is also New Zealand’s  Chief Education Scientific Advisor. He has published extensively on children’s development, the design of effective educational programmes for culturally and linguistically diverse populations, and cultural processes in development. He is the Founding Director of the Woolf Fisher Research Centre/Te Pūtahi Whakatairanga Hapori Ako Angitu which has pioneered research in design based school change, and is currently designing and testing digital tools to promote social and cognitive skills. He is a recipient of national and international research prizes, consults on curricula and educational interventions nationally and internationally, is an Associate Member of Koi Tū the Centre for Informed Futures, a member of a number of academic bodies, and is a Senior Research Fellow at East China Normal University (Shanghai Municipal Institute for Lifelong Learning). In 2011 he was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit.


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