Issues in Educational Research, 8(1), 1998, 77-79.

Book reviews

Bowen, Caroline (1998). Developmental phonological disorders. Melbourne: Australian Council for Educational Research.
This little book will be a real 'find' for early childhood teachers and students, for other professionals working with young children and for parents and carers of young children who are concerned about their children's speech development. In a recent survey of early childhood teachers it was found that the teachers' greatest concerns for the children in their classes were in the speech/language area. Many felt that they needed information about normal and abnormal development in the area, as well as diagnostic procedures and effective strategies to use with children experiencing difficulty (Milton & Rohl, 1998). This monograph fulfils such a need in terms of children experiencing developmental phonological disorders.

Dr Bowen explains that developmental phonological disorders, which teachers may call speech or articulation problems, affect children's ability to produce intelligible speech by 4 years of age, as the sound patterns of language are disrupted. She describes the course of normal speech development, with suggestions for ages at which young children's articulation 'errors' normally disappear and she outlines the research-based therapy model that she has shown, in her own research, to be effective for children with the disorder. The role that early childhood teachers may play in reinforcing a program prepared by the speech-language pathologist is described, with brief reference to the relationship between knowledge of the sounds of a language and learning to read and write. Then a number of highly specific therapy techniques are clearly presented which, in addition to helping resolve children's developmental phonological problems, should also help to raise their level of metalinguistic awareness. In conclusion, some advice is addressed to parents.

I particularly liked the way in which important information is presented concisely and directly, with excellent use of tables and diagrams throughout. Dr Bowen does not talk down to her audience: she uses technical terms (with definitions provided) and phonetic symbols (with a key). Many readers will appreciate the highly accessible section Questions families often ask about phonological therapy. It is gratifying to find a book of this kind that encourages the sharing of information between parents/caregivers, early childhood teachers and other professionals, and the participation of all in programs to help young children's speech/language development. As waiting lists for assessment and treatment by speech-language pathologists continue to grow, this informative book will be of particular interest to the many early childhood teachers who have children with speech/language difficulties in their centres or classrooms.


Milton, M. & Rohl, M. (1998). Children (K-2) who are of concern to their teachers: A survey. Australian Journal of Learning Disabilities, 3(1), 9-18.

Dr Mary Rohl
Edith Cowan University

Barry Dart & Gillian Boulton-Lewis (Eds.). (1998). Teaching and learning in higher education. Melbourne: Australian Council for Educational Research.
This book was written as a tribute to the work of John Biggs, arguably Australia's most influential scholar and researcher of student learning. Most educators will be familiar with some aspect of his work on approaches to learning, and many have encountered his SOLO taxonomy and 3P model of learning.

Many students of educational psychology will have used one of the three editions of his book The Process of Learning. More recently, Biggs has been working on constructive alignment, the idea that course objectives, the teaching context, teaching activities and assessment processes should be consistent in encouraging students to use the same learning processes.

Just as the book is a tribute to a renowned scholar, the list of contributors to the book reads like a who's who of significant people in the area of teaching and learning in higher education. I cannot refer to them all, but contributors include Noel Entwistle, Ference Marton, Erik Meyer, Michael Prosser, Paul Ramsden and Keith Trigwell. Their contributions include some papers that review and synthesise research, others that present the outcomes of recent projects, and conceptual papers that challenge us to think about an aspect of learning in a new light. Biggs' 3P (presage-process-product) model of learning is used as the organising framework for this book of readings. This model demonstrates the relationships between teachers' thoughts and actions, students' thoughts and actions, and the quality of learning outcomes. Part 1 of the book relates to presage factors: student and contextual variables that influence learning and teaching. Part 2 focuses on the process of learning, specifically the approaches to learning used by students. Part 3 focuses on the products of learning, while Part 4 addresses the 3P model as a whole. The book concludes with a review of the preceding chapters and some implications for teachers in higher education.

I can recommend this book to anyone interested in the quality of teaching and learning in higher education, whether they are teachers, researchers or staff developers. It is not a "how to do it" book, and does not contain quick fixes. Instead, it provides a comprehensive coverage of what we know about good teaching and learning, presented from the perspective of student approach to learning theory. For example, you can find out about the SOLO Taxonomy and how to use it to develop test items, you can read about innovations that resulted in better aligned teaching and learning, or you can be challenged to question your beliefs about the nature of quality in higher education. And if you want an up to date list of useful references about teaching and learning in higher education, all you have to do is refer to the extensive lists provided by the various contributors.

Richard Fuller
School of Education
Edith Cowan University

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