The Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) conference, held earlier in March, provided a wealth of valuable information. With that in mind, the Global Reading Network hosted a post-CIES webinar on Wednesday, March 22. The webinar highlighted main discussions from CIES 2017. Three experts shared their experiences from CIES, the main challenges and gaps in the field, and how these can be addressed.
Abbie Raikes, Faculty Member, College of Public Health, and Affiliate, Buffett Early Childhood Institute, University of Nebraska, described the Measuring Early Learning and Quality Outcomes project with which she is affiliated. She noted that in many countries, the primary policy questions revolve around appropriate standards for children and for teacher training, as well as ensuring the quality of children’s learning environments. She also talked about the increasing focus on early child development that she saw across CIES.
Elliott Friedlander, Research Director, Literacy Boost Study, Stanford University, described his team’s presentation of findings from their randomized control trial in Rwanda. He talked about the importance of using a life-wide learning approach to education, where children are engaged in home and community learning activities outside of school. “I would argue that families and communities are actually the most important component in effective reading programs,” he said. “We must realign our efforts to involve both families and communities.”
Sylvia Linan-Thompson, Associate Professor, College of Education, University of Oregon, described her current research on the interaction among instruction, data use, and going to scale. She said that the CIES focus on equity as a theme sparked many interesting conversations. For instance, people are looking at the effectiveness of interventions by knowing who they work for and in what conditions, as well as exploring the role of language in literacy education.
The webinar concluded with several questions from among the 75 online participants. Watch for a reply of the webinar to be posted soon on the Tools and Training page of the Global Reading Network website.
In order to provide increased resources to members of the Community of Practice, the Global Reading Network plans to expand its offering of webinars. Our goal is to begin offering two webinars each month, revolving around monthly themes of interest to professionals involved in early grade reading worldwide. One “macro” webinar will spotlight a topic from a global perspective. A “micro” webinar later that same month will offer national or regional perspectives and examples. Watch the GRN website for details on the webinars as they become available.