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Thursday, 5 December 1974
Page: 4785

Mr Snedden asked the Minister for Education, upon notice:

Will he provide more detailed information to me concerning the nature of the following research projects that will be undertaken in 1975 with Government grants following the recommendations of the Australian Advisory Committee on Research and Development in Education: (a) to develop a screening test that will differentiate children with motor development problems that could be alleviated by a special physical education program (Miss J. Calder), (b) a program to develop the cognitive skills of visually handicapped children (Mr P. J. Doherty ), (c) development of language problems based on the developing oral language structures used by 2Vi, y/i, 4VS, 5Vi and 614 year old children (Dr N. W. M. Hart) and (d) information technology and the education system (Professor D. M. Lamberton).

Mr Beazley - The answer to the right honourable member's question is as follows:

(a)   Miss Calder's project aims to develop a measure, suitable for use by teachers, for the identification and assessment of the degree of handicap in relation to the young child 's perceptual motor development. The test is intended not only for use as a diagnostic device but also to assist in the selection of appropriate remedial programs for the individual child.

(b)   Mr Dohertyhas conducted prior research which suggests that the phenomenon of the late development of certain of the cognitive skills in the visually handicapped child is associated with the child's inability to interact with the environment i.e. a time lag exists in the formation of intellectual structures. The current research proposes to develop broad based, structured programs of cognitive experiences which will assist the visually handicapped to overcome the intellectual lags.

(c)   By tabulating the most frequent oral language sequences used by children of the 2 3VS, 4Yi, 5'A and 6!? year old age groups, Dr Hart plans to produce a series of readers. The readers will employ these commonly used sequences in such a way that they convey to the child the same meanings that exist in their oral form. The programs will therefore provide a graded introduction to written English for children in their early school years which is based upon their oral language structures. It should be noted that Dr Hart's project concerns 'development of language programs . . .'not 'development of language problems . . .'.

(d)   Professor Lamberton will examine the economics of information, in the context of the Australian education system, in terms of the varying policy changes which may result from the introduction of new educational technologies, viz. videotape, computers, etc.. and modifications in the disposition of old ones.

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