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Discussion in 'Early Years' started by Miss.hendo, Aug 5, 2013.
Yes, there's a suggestion for the OP. I'm sure it will be appreciated.
As you can see thumbie, I was suggesting YOU give it a try ... I'm sure the OP will work out her own priorities with her class.
Well, not if it becomes an accepted requirement and priority that phonics is taught for 40+ minutes per day.
and why would that happen thumbie?
We prioritise those areas where our children need more experience, don't we. In our case it was speaking & Listening and Physical Development and felt justified that this should be our priority.
Influential people recommend it.
Apparently it is written into some programmes.
Phonics is already a priority.
Phonics is tested nationally in Y1, with a certain expectation as to level reached.
If phonics were indeed a priority ITT providers would be training prospective teachers how to teach it effectively and schools would be scrapping ORT
Well, isn't phonics training and resourcing exactly what match funding is supposed to facilitate?
I wonder if there is anyone out there besides yourself who does not think phonics is an identified priority for schools?
Perhaps it should be but how many schools have wasted matched funding on nice "fluffy" games instead. However that doesn't resolve the issue of ITT.
Er...phonics is 'lifechance' stuff, the stuff of self-esteem and, in converse, if children cannot read and write well, they soon react with low self-esteem, misbehaviour, excessive pencil sharpening, obsessively neat and small handwriting for girls with pretty drawings.
The trouble is that phonics lessons which are only serving middle to quick learners will perpetuate the special needs myth that children have individual special needs rather than they were not taught well enough, rigorously enough, with enough time to actually learn and practise the knowledge and skills required.
40 minutes is actually a small fraction of the school day
Of course phonics, used to support good reading and writing for a purpose, clearly contributes to the important life skill of literacy. But there are other important life skills as well, the absence of which can cause low self esteem, bad behaviour and the rest. It is overstating the case for phonics to defend substituting phonics teaching for other areas of learning as 'lifechance stuff', when in fact the whole curriculum is important to educational success. This is particularly true in the early years where children are developing personal and social skills and the ability to concentrate and learn, and hopefully an enthusiasm for school and learning.
In fact, the idea of 'life chance stuff' needs careful examination; it is an emotive phrase. Perhaps 'important to educational standards' might be a more honest phrase. After all 'life-chance' can bring up images for the reader of the essentials of clean water, food, shelter and nurture. Synthetic Phonics is not in that league.
Arguably giving 'slower to learn' children more input based on what they are slow to learn confounds frustrations, boredom and lack of engagement. It is an unsophisticated view of children's learning which just advocates telling them again if they haven't got it the first time. Teachers should be more analytic and observant in their approach, especially in response to young children at an early developmental stage (although, unfortunately, teachers having knowledge of child development seems to be going out of fashion just now).
Hopefully the children in our care receive the essentials (at least when they are in our care) and have access to clean water, food and shelter and are nurtured in school. If they don't have these essentials in the home then the gift of literacy can give them a brighter future (but hopefully as teachers we would be taking action to ensure no child is living without such basic essentials).
My point was about the difference between things that support life and things that enhance life. I was questioning the terminology, not saying something about the children in our classes. Being literate can enhance lives, although surely 'phonics=better life' expresses a simplistic view. How could it be tested?
It seems to me that the phrase 'life chance stuff' is contentious. The idea begs many questions and involves many assumptions and opinions. Perhaps Debbie will come on and explain why and how she is using this phrase.
How do you imagine the inability to read and write improves your life chances thumbie? How does a child who can't read and write access the school curriculum? How does the adult who can't read and write manage in a literate world?
thumbie - It's as if we're not on the same planet. I don't need to explain the use of the 'lifechance' terminology - I would have thought it was obvious to any teacher - the far-reaching consequences of getting off to a poor start in literacy compared to peers even at the ages of four, five and six.
And the consequences of getting off to a good start in literacy in comparison.
In any event, over the many 'discussions' held on TES over the years, it would seem that we don't share the same concept of 'phonics' so we're not even on the same page in terms of defining whether it is 'lifechance' stuff!
Well, I can think of hypothetical situations in which it might improve life chances, if that's what you want. For instance, if the writing on the label on a bottle indicates it has lemonade in it when in fact it has a poisonous substance. But the point I am making is not that the inability to read and write improves your life chances but that it doesn't actually have anything to do with life chances, although it may have something to do with educational success.
If Debbie could define what she means by life chance stuff then it might be possible to be clear exactly what point she is making and to judge whether she is right about phonics for 40+ minutes per day increasing someone's life chances (Debbie's definition) or not. It would also be possible to judge the importance of 'life chance stuff' (her definition) against other educational goals for 5 year olds, and whether these might perhaps join the same category as 'life chance stuff' themselves.
Edit: sorry Debbie the above is in response to Msz's post. I didn't read yours until after I submitted.
I was thinking of real situations not hypothetical ones ... the children unable to access the curriculum - quite good at maths but can't read the questions so fail ... the adults who can't fill in the job application because they can't read or write and are too embarrassed to ask for help and the very real grandfather who desperately wants to read his grandchildren a bed time story but can't! Not life of death but diminished quality of life.
Yes, you do need to explain the use of 'life chance' terminology, because it can be interpreted in many ways; if that's a fact on my planet it's a fact on yours, we are both English speakers.
Why would your meaning be obvious to any teacher? I can see that a teacher might have a kneejerk reaction to such a phrase, not wanting to be seen as harming anyone's 'lifechances'. They might even be discouraged from questioning the wisdom of your stand point. I'm afraid my knee jerk reaction is to deconstruct the language used and its manipulative force.
So, perhaps you could say what the far-reaching consequences are you refer to, and how 40 minutes+ of synthetic phonics per day in reception class will prevent them, presenting some evidence.