What happened to teachers’ knowledge when they played ‘The Literacy Game’?

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In November 2009, I travelled to China for a conference on teacher development and school reform. The conference committee had invited five international guests: a former adviser on school standards to Tony Blair; an American expert on anti-racist education; a freelance consultant on sustainable development and food security; a Norwegian rhetorician and part-time magician; and me. I was the bottom of this eclectic bill – which was a shame as I had no hope of following the magician. The former school standards adviser was the headline act and his role, as he saw it, was to tell the Chinese audience about the miraculous trans - formation of the school system that had been effected in England and how it had been achieved. His PowerPoint presentation opened with a startling graph: a flat line beginning around 1950 and running perfectly horizontally until 1997 when standards in literacy started to rise exponentially. This transformation, he went on to explain, was a consequence of the National Literacy Strategy, a unique experiment in system-wide change that had tackled fifty years of stagnating standards in England’s primary schools. The legend on the graph noted that it represented the proportion of England’s 11-year-olds attaining Level 4 in end of Key Stage 2 tests.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Great Literacy Debate
Subtitle of host publicationA Critical Response to the Literacy Strategy and the Framework for English
EditorsAndrew Goodwyn, Carol Fuller
Place of PublicationLondon UK
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)9780203814246
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

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