Category Archives: Research

Children are not sponges

You’ve heard it a million times before. “Children are like sponges. They just soak up every drop of information.” And to personify this sponge simile there’s even a popular Nickelodeon character called Sponge Bob Square Pants;  a vapid sea sponge that spouts inane jabberwocky. Recent social research shows that the sponge or ‘fill it up’ theory […]

Should we swear in front of our kids?

The other day, my toddler son came home from childcare saying “piss poo”. He is one of the younger children in his classroom and clearly he heard this phrase from an older child he admired. I couldn’t help laughing at this unexpected outburst, which reinforced this behaviour – thus cementing the phrase in his emerging […]

How fatherhood is changing for the better

Traditionally, fathers were breadwinners and disciplinarians. Fathers taught their sons how to play football and encouraged their children to “buy a block of land”. I’ve been researching fatherhood for 25 years and, in the past, the traditional role of the father was manifest. But this is changing substantially. Today’s fathers are far more eager to […]

NAPLAN underscores the importance of early learning

Last week the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) 2015 results were released by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA). ACARA said “While the results show some improvements nationally and in each state and territory (for some year levels and some domains), the overall message is one of stable national achievement.” […]

Inclusive education means all children are included in every way, not just in theory

Recent articles on The Conversation and in The Guardian question whether inclusive education can do more harm than good – but neither article presents examples of inclusion. Rather, they present tragic examples of exclusion that are claimed to be inclusion-not-working. What does ‘inclusion’ really mean? There seems to be a lot of confusion and misinformation […]

Kids prefer maths when you let them figure out the answer for themselves

Peter Sullivan, Monash University A common view is that students learn maths best when teachers give clear explanations of mathematical concepts, usually in isolation from other concepts, and students are then given opportunities to practise what they have been shown. I’ve recently undertaken research at primary and junior secondary levels exploring a different approach. This […]

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