‘I feel dumb’: How can something most of us take for granted make others feel worthless?

15/09/2021 1:22:00 PM

‘I feel dumb’: How can something most of us take for granted make others feel worthless?

‘I feel dumb’: How can something most of us take for granted make others feel worthless?

Imagine not being able to write - or read - a shopping list? Eight adult students confront their struggles in this moving observational series.

The students from Lost for Words. About 43 per cent of adults lack basic literacy skills in Australia.If you’re reading this, I’m guessing that morning routine was a pretty simple task. And that’s what makes parts ofThe three-part series hosted by Jay Laga’aia, who only began to improve his literacy when he started reading children’s stories on

They struggle with public transport, shopping, reading recipes and even helping their children with homework. It’s awful and even more so when you see the distress on their faces as they attempt to navigate basic tasks, such as trying to identify caster sugar in the supermarket.

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Advertisement LOST FOR WORDS ★★★½ What did you read this morning? I’m talking just the basics – maybe the back of a cereal box, the news straps across the bottom of the TV screen or a bill that arrived in the mail yesterday.declare a “zero extinctions” policy for the state’s national parks.learn more here.A section of the wall and ceiling fell in on the workers at the Sojitz Gregory Crinum Coal Mine near Emerald at about 11pm, Queensland Police told NCA NewsWire.

Did you even have to think about it or did it just happen – you looked at the words and knew exactly what they meant? The students from Lost for Words. About 43 per cent of adults lack basic literacy skills in Australia. It might seem churlish, if not ungrateful, to question the minister’s eagerness to preserve endangered species such as the Botany Bay bearded orchid or the black-tailed antechinus. Credit: Nigel Wright If you’re reading this, I’m guessing that morning routine was a pretty simple task. Vaccination capacity is to be lifted in key suburbs in Melbourne as cases in the north rise sharply. And that’s what makes parts of Lost for Words so crushing. Mr Kean clearly has an enthusiasm and clout in this vital portfolio, probably unmatched in NSW from either side of politics since Premier Bob Carr led a blitzkrieg of new national park declarations two decades ago. How can something most of us take for granted make others feel worthless? The three-part series hosted by Jay Laga’aia, who only began to improve his literacy when he started reading children’s stories on Play School , follows eight adults, aged from 19 to 60, who are all illiterate to varying degrees.

Two have some level of letter recognition but cannot read or write, others have dyslexia or hearing loss or just fell through the cracks at school. For those 93 assets of intergenerational significance, we trust plans for their conservation will be rapidly made and properly funded. And governments, both state and federal, seem happy to throw big business that hospital pass. They struggle with public transport, shopping, reading recipes and even helping their children with homework. It’s awful and even more so when you see the distress on their faces as they attempt to navigate basic tasks, such as trying to identify caster sugar in the supermarket. As Rob Pallin, a member of the board of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness, noted in our opinion pages, it was curious species such as NSW’s most threatened bird, the regent honeyeater, did not make it to the special asset list while four other birds did. As one of the students, Shelle, says: “Every day I feel dumb. Telstra, Virgin, Qantas, private hospital operator Healthscope, fruit processor SPC, and now Crown, are the only corporates that have announced deadlines for compulsory vaccination.” And that’s when I cracked. Their exclusion may have had something to do with the fact both species are found in the part of the Blue Mountains World Heritage area likely to be subject to inundation should the government ever proceed as currently planned to raise the Warragamba Dam wall 14 metres or higher.

Observational series such as these work best when you can, as the saying goes, walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. And to watch Shelle stress as she struggled with something as simple as catching a train or reading a shopping list is confronting. Advertisement To that end, we see cause for optimism with the National Parks and Wildlife Service advertising for jobs, including ecologists, to fatten the ranks of experts that have endured years of thinning. Many say that it remains a live issue that is being debated by senior management and suggest that once a larger herd of companies takes the plunge others will follow. A bit of digital trickery ups the ante, as it shows the words on signs swimming into a jumbled mess of letters. But it’s more the distress on Shelle’s face, as she crosses her fingers on the train, hopeful it will stop at the right platform. Many more species, including less-studied invertebrates from butterflies to beetles, should be on our watch lists for protection, ecologist say. If it does, she has her exit route memorised; if it doesn’t, she’s lost. Credit: The big four banks are also considering plans to mandate vaccines for those staff working in customer-facing positions, like branches and for those working in offices.

Advertisement And then there is Mike. Minister Kean has done well to expand the national park estate, adding 350,000 hectares since he took over the role about 30 months ago. He has a genetic condition, Fragile X syndrome, which has impacted his ability to learn. He left school at 14 and has been so traumatised by his inability to read and write he has contemplated suicide. However, his purview is largely limited to those national parks or the conservation on private land that his department can support. He stated publicly last week that the idea of compulsory vaccination for staff had not been ruled out but that the bank was ‘not there yet’. Imagine. Loading The statistics are eye-opening, too: 43 per cent of Australian adults lack the literacy skills to navigate normal life. In most cases, they will be allowed to clear 25 metres either side of a fence line for bushfire protection.

Maybe it’s lockdown, but Lost for Words really hit home. Loading But the pivot point will arrive when the mass of staff that are working from home will be able to move back to the office. Perhaps it’s because reading and writing are the great loves of my life, so it’s easy to empathise with the students’ anguish. The 25-metre rule was not among the NSW Bushfire Inquiry’s recommendations. But I think it was hearing a young, capable woman such as Shelle say she felt dumb that was incredibly sad. No one should ever be made to feel that way over something they cannot do. The price of liberty is said to be eternal vigilance. Despite the offer of vaccination carrots there will ultimately remain a rump of staff that will need the stick to get them over the line. Distressing as some of it is, Lost for Words is not a downer.

There’s determination to change and joy in small victories, such as realising that the spices in the supermarket are in alphabetical order. Note from the Editor The Herald editor Lisa Davies writes a weekly newsletter exclusively for subscribers. The teachers, Adam Nobilia and Jo Medlin, are gold standard, too. Credit: Edwina Pickles But once NSW hits 80 per cent, there’s confusing messaging coming from state premier Gladys Berejiklian and her deputy John Barilaro. Even if you experience no problems with literacy, you’ll learn something watching this and maybe next time you see someone struggling in the supermarket, you’ll help them instead of judging them. Lost For Words is on SBS, 8.30pm, Wednesday. Berejiklian has tried to walk back Barilaro’s comments but suggested it could be up to businesses to decide whether they accept unvaccinated patrons, rather than a government mandate.

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