Letterland in indigenous education
One of the most immediate areas of educational need in Australia is in indigenous education. Study after study has shown how ineffective our attempts have been in the past to make real inroads into this skill gap. A plethora of challenges face educators in bridging this educational divide, though progress is being made in exploring pedagogies suitable for Aboriginal communities around the country.
As noted by Robinson and Nichols (1998) [Building Bridges between Aboriginal and Western Mathematics:
Creating an Effective Mathematics Learning Environment.
"Indigenous students tend to be Holistic, Imaginal, Kinaesthetic, Cooperative, Contextual and Person-oriented Learners. Letterland is the only western English teaching approach which is capable of engaging these learning channels in a successful way, as evidenced by the numerous testimonials from indigenous educators. As one indigenous advisory teacher puts it "It is my strong belief that Letterland should be the basis of every (English) language program in every indigenous school in the NT due to the overwhelming success that I had with the program."
Holistic learners are engaged by the ‘world' of Letterland where abstract shapes come to life to build words, and the student activities in this ‘world' spill over into other curriculum areas in a seamless and sensible way. Imaginal learners are engaged by the less formal phonic information embedded into the Letterland ‘fables' and the use of stories to explain complex phonic information is ideal for indigenous students with a strong oral-history story-telling background. Letterland's use of role-play also engages imaginal learners.
Kinaesthetic learners are stimulated through acting out of letter formation (air tracing) or word formation (live spelling) with their bodies. They also engage in art and craft activities alliterative to the letter sound being taught.