Monday, 23 February 2015


This is the missing link - Papua New Guinea Education Officer

I am pleased to announce that we have made amazing progress in teaching literacy in primary and secondary schools of Papua New Guinea. Over the years, the standard has dropped badly largely the result of expatriate language teachers leaving the country.

For over a decade now, I have been a senior literacy expatriate in this country and beginning to be recognized as such among senior officers of the Department of Education. I have introduced Mastery Writing beginning in 1993 at Dregerhafen, Bumayong and Busu High Schools. The skill has grown from there.

On leaving Education in 1996, I set up a training organisation Hallmark Education and Training that focused on corporate courses in Business Communication. I found that Mastery Writing helped participants to put together smooth and complex sentences, not the style I had called baby talk.

But times were changing in Education with teachers and students finding great problems with Outcome Based Education. I had always been involved in this area of skill from early studies at the University of Queensland.

I had studied the work of Dr Benjamin Bloom who is well known for the Taxonomy of Educational Objectives. But teachers in PNG had only been shown part of the picture by Australian advisors. No mention had been made of Mastery Learning.

This had started in the 1950s, the result of the Cold War between the USA and USSR. The US Government had always believed that the American system of education and politics was best. There was a shock in store when the Russians put a satellite Sputnik into space in 1956.

What was wrong? Who was to blame? Education of course. But Dr Bloom found a way of improving Educational standards with Mastery Learning by which all students were taught the basics.

But the foolish powers that be in Government said that this was not fast enough. They had to train rocket scientists and engineers. So Mastery Learning was scrapped and replaced with ..... Outcome Based Education. 

Standards dropped across the world with the view that basics need not be taught. We learn to read by reading. We learn to write by writing. The basics can be taught on the way to higher science and mathematics. Papua New Guinea has suffered from this too.

So I have taken literacy skills of this country back to the basics of Mastery Learning. I have been taking a text book around to schools and helping them with lessons to students over several months.

The big break came with Norman Sike who recognized the value of Mastery Learning and put me to work to lift the standard of literacy in his business college. Norman funded a book in Mastery Writing as our contribution to the nation.  He even had me come on the national TV to talk of mastering the basics of literacy.

A senior officer in Papua New Guinea Education was delighted with our work and said that this was the Missing Link. Dr Benjamin Bloom would agree with him. The officer was meaning that schools teach nouns, verbs, full stops, clauses and phrases.

But there is no awareness of how it is all put together into a way of writing that business people, journalists and novelists might use. Many PNG students have a style we might call baby talk with simple sentences, repetition of words and no connectors.

My name is John. I live in a village. It is a small village. It is a village near the river. The river is the Sepik River. I live with my mother and my father. My mother lives in the village and works in the garden. My father works in Wewak. I have two brothers. I have two sisters. My brothers and sisters go to school. It is a small school near the village. I go to school too.

Please click:

  1. write sweet english - family positive living - aids holistics
    Jun 29, 2011 - WRITE SWEET ENGLISH ..... and stop the baby talk.

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