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Could Better Teaching Reduce the Matthew Effect During the First 12 Years?

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  • Date: Wednesday 29 March 2017, 02:00PM to 29 March 2017, 03:00PM
  • Location: Room 252, Psychology Building, Ilam Campus, University of Canterbury
  • Presented By: Dr John Church
  • Ticket: Free $0

Dr John Church

Adjunct Senior Fellow, Department of Psychology, University of Canterbury

Dr Church is a behaviour analyst whose research interests have focused on identifying the conditions governing attention, motivation, and learning together with the development of effective teaching procedures for building attention, motivation and learning in children and adolescents. During his teaching career Dr Church has supervised some 340 masters level theses and within-subject evaluations of clinical interventions. During his research career he has been appointed as advisor to more than a dozen government and agency research projects. He is a founding member and a Life Member of the New Zealand Association for Research in Education and, in 2014, he was shortlisted for the position of Chief Education Science Advisor. He is currently completing work on a project examining the implications for teacher education of the scientific research into teaching effectiveness.


“Could Better Teaching Reduce the Matthew Effect During the First 12 Years? ”

Anyone who has ever worked as a classroom teacher knows that, during the primary school years, high achieving children tend to pull further and further ahead academically while low achieving children tend fall further and further behind. This phenomenon is so pervasive that it has its own name: the Matthew Effect. In this talk I will address the question of whether or not the Matthew Effect could be overcome (or at least mitigated) by improvements in classroom teaching. The presentation is in two parts. In the first part I will summarize the results of research into the conditions which have been found to be necessary in order for a child to make at least average progress in acquiring the language, reading, writing and mathematical competencies listed in the primary school curriculum. In the second part I will examine the question of whether or not classroom teachers could be trained to provide these conditions for most children.

More information

Sharyn Gordon


Phone: +64 3 3694336 ext. 94336


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