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Episode 8: How well do universities prepare teachers for literacy instruction?

In this episode, we chat with two wonderful pre-service teachers, Lara and Robert, about how well their university education prepares them to teach literacy.

Watch episode 8 on YouTube

Show notes

In this episode, we chat with two wonderful pre-service teachers, Lara (left) and Robert (right), who have just completed level one of Teaching Students with Dyslexia (TSD1). We thought this would be the perfect opportunity to ask Lara and Robert to reflect on what they’d just learned at TSD and how this contrasted with what they were learning about teaching literacy at University.


Lara is currently a student at Flinders University, undertaking a Bachelor of Primary Education. She has previously been a Police Officer here in South Australia, as well as a Teacher of English as a second language in Switzerland.


Educational Support Officer and fourth-year student studying a bachelor’s degree in Primary and Middle School education at the University of South Australia. Robert also works as an educator in an out-of-school hours care program. He takes great pride in supporting students with learning disabilities and has recently taken on Tier 3 support through the completion of the Playberry Multisensory Literacy Program.

Selected links and extras related to the episode

Greg Ashman

At the beginning of the episode, Bill mentions a blog written by Greg Ashman – here it is!

Criticism of teacher education is not criticism of teachers – It is unhelpful spin.

Mark Seidenberg

Bill mentions Mark Seidenberg’s book Language at the speed of sight and his views on teacher education institutions keeping the science of reading at arm’s length. Mark has an excellent blog called Reading Matters that’s worth looking at.

Below is a clip from an interview where he is discussing reasons why there are problems in teacher preparation.

S.A. Evidence-Based Teaching of Literacy Study Tour:

At the end of this episode, we invite anyone involved in teacher training to join us at Salisbury Primary School in 2023. There is, of course, an ulterior motive – to showcase the power of explicit, structured teaching of core subjects and the incredible impact this has on student learning, behaviour and self-esteem in the most complex of educational contexts. This is a call to action to those brave and dedicated folks who pull teacher training courses together to engage with us to see what we can do to better prepare our next generation of teachers to teach kids to read, spell and write. Excellent teaching of literacy is one of the best antidotes we have to social disadvantage!

Salisbury Primary School

Using evidence-based teaching to unlock literacy for all students

An invitation to Salisbury Primary School,

*Study Tour dates for 2023 are coming soon – email to express interest



3 Responses

  1. Great discussion and good to hear that the future is looking brighter.
    I was fortunate enough to receive teacher training which was very practical. I learned the ‘how’ you teach and this was so helpful for a new teacher being unleashed on a class!
    As we expand on knowledge of what works for students with Dyslexia ( and indeed all students)we must thoroughly equip our teachers with the skills that they will need in the classroom.

    1. Hi Sally, Thanks for your comment. It is great to hear that the future is looking up, isn’t it! As I mentioned in the episode, my PE teacher training was also excellent in teaching me how to teach. In our first year of study (I think it was even the first term), we were all planning and teaching classes every week under the supervision of final-year teaching students. It was an excellent learning experience for both the 1st and 4th-year students. This kind of supervised teaching practice achieved two things for me. Firstly, it gave me structured feedback around my teaching skills and secondly it taught me not to be afraid of having my teaching observed and evaluated.

  2. I’ve really enjoyed listening to all your episodes so far. Your podcast was recommended by my son’s Orton Gillingham dyslexia tutor.

    As I homeschool my son I’d love to hear you speak on resources and training for parents who are teaching their children….
    (We currently use the All About Reading program which is based on Orton Gillingham).

    … and is there any chance you’ll be running your courses online for parents?

    Incidentally, I trained as a high school teacher in ESl…a long time ago, but there was no mention of dyslexia in my training or of how to actually teach English!

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