Simply over 5 million adults in England are functionally illiterate, with the literacy abilities equal to an eleven yr outdated. Not solely that, round half of the adults in jail are illiterate too. Such statistics can shortly stack as much as painting a grim social image. For lecturers, nicely – the challenges that attend this downside can all too simply really feel insurmountable. And but, we will do our degree finest to make a begin.
That begin could seem inconsequential, however it may matter. Generally large social issues can start to be solved by plenty of small options. What if just a few textual content messages may make a major distinction to assist forestall illiteracy?
Current analysis is revealing how small nudges with textual content messaging could make a major affect on schooling and literacy in England, and in different nations, just like the US. I’ve written earlier than about how we will higher help parental engagement (see my TES article entitled ‘A instructor’s hunt for proof on…getting college students’ dad and mom concerned at school‘) and world proof is exhibiting how the common-or-garden textual content message could punch above our expectations in serving to colleges do that.
Current US proof, from Stanford College – ‘Supporting parenting by differentiated and personalised text-messaging: Testing results on studying throughout kindergarten‘ – has proven how well timed and personalised textual content messages will help enhance dad and mom’ engagement with the literacy improvement of their kids, in addition to serving to enhance requirements in studying.
Within the US, the summer season studying loss is a widely known concern – notably for deprived college students. New analysis has as soon as extra proven how texting dad and mom throughout the summer season vacation will help mitigate the problem and enhance studying. Again in England, the ‘Texting Dad and mom‘ EEF undertaking made a giant information splash when it confirmed a optimistic affect on scholar attendance and associated literacy and arithmetic outcomes.
What’s clearly growing is a robust case for textual content messaging as a way of speaking with dad and mom about literacy, attendance, and a list of different functions. The concept that you may ‘nudge’ behaviours with small adjustments within the surroundings is nothing new, however we’re starting to study extra concerning the ‘what, when and the way‘ of textual content messaging dwelling.
The EEF undertaking provided some attention-grabbing insights, with many lecturers and leaders within the undertaking recommending the extra “presence of a devoted coordinator could be priceless to watch the accuracy and frequency of textual content“. In fact, the ‘personalised’ nature of textual content messaging is paramount. Pitching the complexity of the language of the textual content message takes care and talent, with a various vary of fogeys requiring readability and timeliness.
Many faculties have the power for messaging dad and mom now synchronised at school as an integral a part of their info methods. We are able to now start to pretty ask, how efficient is our implementation of such communications?
Plenty of questions abound for colleges both trying to enhance their strategy, start with a textual content messaging system, or just trying to consider affect:
- Are these approaches sustained over time, or is the novelty issue important?
- What number of ‘help elements’ are required to make the textual content messages efficient and well timed? E.g. a devoted member of employees and many others.
- How can we finest consider whether or not textual content messages are having an affect? Are there dependable measures?
- Are there any unintended penalties of ‘nudging’ dad and mom on this approach?
Fairly clearly, serving to kids study to learn, change into literate and thrive at school, is set by a mess of things, each at school, within the dwelling surroundings and way more. Nonetheless, it will seem that sending a humble textual content message will help and we colleges ought to contemplate learn how to implement this nicely.