EdgeHillUniversityAn Edge Hill University academic who wants to explore new ways of teaching to address literacy and numeracy issues in schools.

Victor van Daal, Professor in Education and Director of Edge Hill University’s new Centre for Literacy and Numeracy Research, will share his ideas during an inaugural lecture on 5th November to mark his professorial appointment at Edge Hill University.

In his lecture entitled Educational Research: Examples from Literacy and Numeracy Research, Professor van Daal will discuss the way children acquire vital literacy and numeracy skills in schools. He will look at current theoretical frameworks, the progress made over the last decades due to significant improvements in the methodological quality of this research, and how deeper understanding of literacy and numeracy acquisition processes can have an impact on educational practice.

“Reading is a strange process, our brain is made for hunting and for speaking, which we started to do some 200,000 years ago, but not for reading, which is a recent cultural invention (5,000 years old),” explained Professor van Daal. “However, our brain has gradually adapted to process print, which is basically visual speech.

“The relationship between spoken and printed language is not straightforward at all. The best illustration of English as an irregular and inconsistent orthography was undoubtedly presented in a Monty Python sketch, in which Graham Chapman insisted that his written name Raymond Luxury Yacht should be pronounced as Throat Wobbler Mangrove.

“My research is about how a child learns to read and write words like Raymond, Luxury, and Yacht, and I have studied it from the perspective of native speakers, children acquiring a second language, and bilinguals across a range of orthographies.”

In his inaugural lecture, Van Daal will also focus on how to move research forward within the recently established Centre for Literacy and Numeracy Research, and in collaboration with the other research centres within the Faculty of Education.

Professor van Daal joined Edge Hill in March 2013 from the Reading Centre at Stavanger University, Norway where he was Professor of Special Education. Professor van Daal has published widely in the areas of typical and atypical development of reading and arithmetic, second language learning, multimedia and literacy learning, international comparative research on reading comprehension and mathematics, and methodology and statistics for social sciences.