Monday, 3 May 2010

Stick to what you know

Leader's debate, education.
phonic reading? old style stupid...ITA...have to re-learn all over again..unless very bright.

Above are notes I made after watching one of the "leader's debates" before our General Election in May.

I've waited until after the election to air this one.
The winning party seemed to think there would be more literate people if the "phonic style" of reading was returned to. They clearly were unsure what exactly they were talking about.
Children currently learn to read using phonics in the first instance, I know this to be a fact as I have trained as a primary school teacher and also in a scheme that also uses phonics.
I presumed, especially due to the age of the people putting this forward they might have meant ITA, where the words are all written exactly as they are pronounced, this is NOT phonics.
The reason that method was tried in the early 1960s was for just that reason, the "powers that be" thought it would make learning to read and write easier. It did, but what they overlooked was that after learning the ITA method, pupils then had to go on to learn the conventional method. Not everyone found this easy, in fact it has been shown to be one of the reasons there was almost a whole generation who had problems with reading and writing. ITA encourages poor spelling, and when faced with a book written correctly, or any other printed matter, the less intelligent people found great difficulty reading and writing.
Literacy is a subject to the forefront of many educational debates, and sometimes people who know little or nothing about the nuts and bolts of actually teaching people to read and write, debate the subject. [Stick to what you know in a debate, don't be drawn onto a subject you are unsure of.]
If you want proof of this....Take a pencil in your "opposite hand", i.e if right-handed, your left, and vice versa. Then get someone to dictate at a fairly slow speed something they wish you to write. Unless you are lucky enough to be truly ambidextrous, it will look something like a reception age child produces. I know this is true, as during my teacher training, the lecturer had the whole group do this, and out of 40 of us, not one produced anything legible.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not against helping people become literate, at whatever age. But some of the old methods were rejected for very good reasons, and as a pointer, the less time they were used, shows how poor they were at gaining satisfactory results.
For an article about ITA, click here.
I know the debate will carry on, but more specialised help with children learning to read would help the matter. I qualified in a scheme called the Better Reading Programme", and found that it gained satisfactory results, but when all is said and done, the educators can only do their best, and if this is not supported outside of school hours, progress will never be as speedy as some might wish it was.

No comments: