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Scottish senco produces perceptual learning video.

Discussion in 'Scotland - Primary' started by eddiecarron, Jan 10, 2013.

  1. This Scottish Senco works only with Year 7 and only in the school library! Their video is well worth watching. The link is
    <font face="Arial">The link is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VY2TZFDgHC0</font><font face="Arial">Comment is appreciated.</font><font face="Arial">"In Perceptual Learning nothing is formally &lsquo;taught&rsquo; so there is nothing to be &lsquo;remembered&rsquo; therefore nothing to forget." (Dr Phil Kellman Professor of Cognitive Psychology UCLA).
  2. Flyonthewall75

    Flyonthewall75 New commenter

    Or, more precisely, S1.
    Let me play devil's advocate for a moment and examine some of the issues raised.
    If the accelerated reading programme is so simple, and successful, why would an education authority wait until S1 to introduce it?
    The school tested all the pupils in S1 and found that 30-40% were reading well below their chronological age. Why did they need to test them to find this out?
    The pupils have already been in primary education for 7 years. Does the secondary school not communicate with its associated primary schools prior to transfer to establish if there are specific literacy issues?
    According to the secondary school, the pupils transferring from primary had all the basic pre-requisites for reading, such as phonics and word recognition, but for some reason they were performing at a much lower age level and were unable to do the work the secondary school wanted to give them.
    The suggestion is made that the literacy skills deficit may be the result of a lack of reading, or exposure to reading, at home or in the primary school and their reading skills have got 'rather rusty'.
    So all that's required, apparently, is the educational equivalent of a quick spray of WD40 to make up for the inadequacies of primary education and the home. I seem to have been listening to that sort of argument for almost 40 years.
    The solution, apparently, is to take the identified pupils out of class for one unit every day to work in the school library, with support from S6 buddies, where the key to improvement is practice, word recognition and being able to have instant adult feedback.
    Presumably, they didn't get any of that when they were at primary school working with skilled teachers all day, every day, for seven years. The 'Perceptual Learning Course' involves 'lots of meaningful experiences of listening, reading and writing correctly'.
    Now, why didn't I think of that? If only I hadn't given my pupils meaningless experiences of listening, reading and writing correctly, they would all have had age-appropriate literacy skills regardless of ability.
    Why do I suspect that the percentage of S1 pupils withdrawn every day is not actually the 30-40% identified as reading well below their chronological age or the PTs of the other subjects would be complaining and the library would be bursting at the seams.
    The aim of the accelerated reading programme is, apparently, to bring the pupils up to their chronological reading age and a special ceremony is held for them to 'graduate' back into mainstream classes. A number of pupils will have to stay in the programme until the end of S1 but these tend to be pupils with a diagnosis of dyslexia.
    Now I may sound like an old cynic, but we've had accelerated reading programmes in primary schools for years, along with a variety of other programmes to improve literacy.
    Of course, if you put in additional staffing and resources, and involve parents who otherwise may rarely read to, or with, their children you can help overcome some of the literacy difficulties that teachers have to deal with on a daily basis.
    However, I would suggest there is no 'magic bullet' that can be introduced at S1, or at any other time during primary or secondary education, that will resolve all literacy issues and have everyone reading at their chronological age. If there was, there wouldn't be any need for 'The Sun' and 'The Daily Star'.
    Finally, it doesn't surprise me that HM Inspectors recommend the programme. There was a time when they acknowledged 'age, aptitude and ability' in pupils but that was quietly dropped from their documents during the 1980s so that any failure by pupils to progress could be blamed on schools and teachers.
    At a time when Learning Support is being cut back in primary schools and, in some cases, removed altogether, I think we should be cautious about accepting, at face value, that a secondary school can reverse a decline in literacy standards, and have almost all pupils reading, writing and spelling in line with their chronological age, by simply introducing a short-term, withdrawal programme at S1.
    However, others may disagree.
  3. As with most programmes, I expect this one works. It is not something special about that particular programme which causes it to work but that these children get extra attention and intervention.
    I have a number of children in my class who I think might be dyslexic and others who are clearly reading below their age. If I could give them extra time with an adult then I'm sure they would come on. But as it is we're understaffed and learning support teachers are used to cover classes as we can't get supply teachers. The time they do have is taken up with pupils with behaviour difficulties. Two of my children have been on a list to be tested for dyslexia all year. I try to give them as much extra input as I can with myself or my PSA (who is trained in a couple of interventions) but the class is so full of pupils who need attention that the priority goes to those who will disrupt a lesson.
    So yes, it works, but so would giving them time out with an adult in primary.
  4. Education in the UK is one of the most costly in the world. The fact that so many children leave school unable to read and write confidently means only that teachers are not being given the right tools to do their job. In particular they do not have the tools to meet the needs of the minority of children who do not respond well to a ritual &lsquo;teaching&rsquo; approach. I am proposing merely that a perceptual approach which involves no ritual &lsquo;teaching&rsquo; may be more productive and my research supports this proposal.
    The dozen or so primary schools taking part in the Highland Council initiative have received only a different set of tools - they have not been given extra staffing. If the target skills are indeed boosted it will have been achieved only by the use of different tools.
    When this project is complete, the outcomes from these schools will not be spun into a carefully contrived report. The schools involved will report transparently and directly on this forum which will give others the opportunity to put questions to them directly.
    Any school which wants a free copy of the identical resources used by these schools need only email me their school address.


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