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Canberra-Goulburn Catholic Education director Ross Fox, left, Noel Pearson and Canberra-Goulburn Archbishop Christopher Prowse (Catholic Voice)

The refusal of systems and educators to accept evidence and implement change is failing children and destroying lives, according to Indigenous leader and non-profit Good to Great Schools Australia chair Noel Pearson. Source: Catholic Voice.

In his keynote address at the Catholic Education Canberra-Goulburn system day on Monday, Mr Pearson condemned progressive teaching and threw his support behind Catholic Education’s “Catalyst” reform.

Catalyst, an evidence-based, high-impact teaching practice, uses teacher-led direction and explicit instruction over student-led or inquiry-based learning.

Mr Pearson, who is from the Guugu Yimithirr community of Hope Vale on Cape York Peninsula, has long been a vocal advocate of explicit learning.

Through Good to Great Schools Australia, he works to support schools on a journey of improvement with free resources as they transition from Poor to Fair, Fair to Good, Good to Great and on to Excellent.

After 30 years of “social change combat,” Mr Pearson said his “general rule of thumb when it comes to deciding the correct policies, is to do approximately the opposite to what progressive thinking says we should do, and you will get it about right.”

“We can’t muck around. Every year we waste time on the wrong thinking, we are wasting lives,” he said.

Mr Pearson said the explicit instruction approach to education, which had long been discounted as “traditional and conservative and punitive” was exactly what students, particularly the disadvantaged, needed.

“For 30 years I have seen so many children fail to reach their potential. We have a juvenile justice crisis in this country. And it starts with the failure to read, occasioned by the failure to teach and a steadfast refusal for systems and educators to change and see the evidence.”

Explicit instruction, Mr Pearson said, benefited disadvantaged students and played a part in Closing the Gap.

“If Indigenous kids are learning English they need to be explicitly taught,” he said. “You can’t just assume that if we expose these kids to books, and we read books to them, they’ll get it. English is a foreign language for Indigenous kids.”


Noel Pearson in ‘furious agreement’ with Catholic Education’s reform agenda (By Veronica Cox, Catholic Voice)


Catholic school teaching program ‘the most important thing I’ve seen in 20 years’, says Pearson (RiotACT)