The elephant in every classroom

Research has shown that at least 30 percent of the population has trouble reading and writing in a manner that reflects their true intelligence and talents. Throughout my career, I have referred to this as the elephant in every classroom.

The problem these individuals experience is not due to a lack of capability, but instead is the direct result of a lack of knowledge of the specific actions that are required for successful and meaningful language processing.

It is also a significant issue in a classroom setting. If a subset of students has difficulty engaging with the learning material, a teacher is required to direct a larger share of attention to helping these students cope. This scenario results in compounding issues:

  • Students who are naturally proficient at language processing are often left alone to work and receive extremely limited teacher interaction.
  • Students who can engage with the text at a basic level start to underachieve as they struggle to fully master the activities of reading and writing. They are likely to receive a relatively small amount of teacher interaction.
  • Students with the greatest needs may receive a greater share of the teacher’s attention, but also are more likely to present behavioural issues that further compromise individual potential and consume more of the teacher’s time.
  • Teachers are challenged to balance competing demands for their attention as they face diverse and complex needs in each classroom. They also risk missing more subtle, but important, signals that some students are struggling ‘under the radar’.

These challenges are systemic and tragic. It is because of this pervasive problem that our method was developed and Next Knowledge was created.

While Alice and our online learning portal can be used by any learner, we developed our Academic Literacy Program to work through academic settings to teach the required language processing skills that are the basis of academic success. The program can be delivered in a classroom or online. If you’re involved with a school that’s ready for a new approach to learning, we’d love to hear from you.


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