Investigating educational issues across Europe (ACROSS Base)
The presentation is related to the project indicated in the heading (see index of projects). 


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Method Knowledge base: Shared knowledge base (LITERACY)
Description "Although there exist internationally agreed measures of literacy learning such as those used by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement in surveys of reading, their use tends to provoke controversy among educators. In part at least this is because different countries think of success in different terms, placing emphasis on different aspects of reading, ranging from the identification of literal meaning to thinking extensively with the aid of the written word. Furthermore within each country there are competing views of the aims of literacy teaching and of the best means for achieving these. What counts as literacy and literacy learning are affected by the values of the society in which that learning takes place, by the nature and status of the written language in that society, and by the history of its educational institutions. So it is highly unlikely that what 'works' in one society is readily transportable to another.

Nevertheless research carried out in Europe and elsewhere over the last twenty years has established a foundation of shared understanding about the processes of literacy learning - shared between researchers, and also increasingly between teachers engaged in innovative practice. But the ways in which these shared understandings are interpreted differ, often quite dramatically, between different countries, not always in ways readily traceable to unalterable circumstances. So we still have much to learn much from one another. 

Hence the chief aim of the Network was to contribute to the establishment in the EU of a 'shared knowledge base' on educational innovations in the area of early literacy teaching and learning, including a focus on children from marginalised groups through:

  • interpretative 'European' accounts of the four projects, informed by the differing perspectives of the four participants, as well as by their shared understandings concerning the value of literacy, the process of reading and the process of learning to read;

  • video material arising from these projects, edited and with commentaries from a European perspective." (Dombey, 1998, p. 9
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