Warrnambool teacher makes it clearer for students

AS concerns continue over education standards in Australian schools, a Warrnambool teacher has taken gobbledegook out of textbooks to help students learn in clearer language.

Daffydd Wiesner-Ellix has published a study guide for year 11 business studies classes and is working on another for year 12.

When that is completed he aims to produce similar “plain English” books for mathematics students.

“Across Australia there’s been an erosion of learning standards in schools as shown by Naplan (National Assessment Program),” he told The Standard.

“Literacy and numeracy standards have been falling for a while and the situation is not helped by textbooks that are written in difficult-to-understand language.

“In my years of teaching in the UK, USA and Australia it became obvious many textbooks were written by academics for academics. They have sentences with 20-or-more words in highly-formal complex English. 

“For kids who already have learning difficulties this is a huge block and they switch off.

“I’ve reduced the sentence lengths and number of difficult words aiming to make it as simple as possible to understand core vocabulary of the topic.”

He said if students could better understand the lesson topic they would increase in confidence and desire to achieve.

His teacher’s guide and student’s book have been published by Queensland-based Knowledge Books and Software in printed and digital versions with links to the internet.

Wiesner-Ellix saw his products being a back-up resource to state-approved textbooks especially where students experienced learning and reading problems.

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