One wise woman’s early literacy learning philosophy

Get it right from the start

An experienced educator and professional speaker of 40 plus years, Barbara has worked with teachers throughout the world to improve learning outcomes for children. Her philosophy for learning is “get it right from the start”, while her passion lies in ensuring children are ready for school, for learning, for curriculum.

An early literacy learning philosophy is born

With a keen sense of enquiry, Barbara’s passion for learning and literacy arose from working with students who experienced problems with learning and a desire to understand why smart students failed to progress, despite interventions, recovery remediation and extra assistance.

Her research and reading into brain function and memory, auditory and visual processing and the connections among auditory, visual and motor functions, offered answers to her questions.

Barbara surmised, after teaching children in their first years of school and comparing their learning with older children with learning problems, the major issue lay with the lack of foundation skills. Specifically, it was the lack of, or poorly developed skills, and understanding of the building blocks underpinning literacy and learning across the curriculum. Barbara realised students were expected to pull all the complex literacy elements together before they had sufficient understanding, knowledge and skills to do so.

It is this important research which is the foundation of Barbara’s professional development for teachers. She applies her understanding of learning and information processing to every aspect of her teaching, both in the classroom with students, and with teachers in professional learning development.

The 3 Pillars of Learning

While Barbara’s philosophy has evolved from over forty years of education and learning, the foundation of her philosophy lies in The 3 Pillars of Learning.

  1. Every student can be successful
    Barbara believes every student can be successful and incorporates the concept that “If children are not learning the way you teach, then teach them the way they learn.” She believes we must fit our teaching to the student, not try to fit the student to the curriculum and our teaching.
  2. The child is where the child is
    Barbara’s philosophy is founded on the premise the child is where the child is! She believes that the child must be the starting point for all teaching. Not the curriculum, not the program, not the activity!!
  3. The most important thing a teacher must know is the student
    Barbara believes the most important thing a teacher needs to know is: the student. The more teachers know about their students, the more likely it is that they will choose the best program, the best method and best activity to ensure the student learns. When teachers and teaching are dictated by anything other than the needs of the students, there will be students who “fail”. Barbara does not believe a person can fail at something if they are still learning. Does a toddler fail walking if it falls over? Does a loss at one football game mean the whole team has failed? Does a child learning to play the piano fail because she missed a note?