E801: Action 1.11: The Rose Report
'start 'guessing' at words and end up dyslexic.' (Palmer, 2006, p.23) - What! So guessing at words changes learners' genetic structure does it? You learn something new every day!
Having pointed this out, I have to say I agree with the vast majority of both the reports.
- Young children do not have the attention span required for whole class learning of something they find difficult/uninteresting
- Many young children do not have the discrimination skills to identify individual letters
- Children are individuals: some will be bored at the level of teaching and some will be out of their depth
I have never understood why we cannot put the money into supporting teacher training and CPD and then trust them to be professionals and choose the right approach for each child.
Home educating my children has taught me to trust them. They know what they need and I just kept trying approaches until they clearly indicated that they were happy with it. Interestingly I later took qualifications in teaching basic skills to adults and this was the method recommended all the way through - an individualised response and plenty of variety until the learner found something that helped them understand. For example, I was teaching maths to a 40 year old blind student with 6 children. She was having great difficulty in understanding the concept of equivalency of fractions so I compared it to a large chocolate bar. If it had 24 squares and she broke it in half, how many squares would she have for her and her husband? So 12/24 was the same as 1/2 . She immediately came back with the fact that 1/6 was the same as 4/24 because she could relate it to sharing chocolate between her children. She progressed rapidly from there.
I think that individualised, personalised, concrete experiences are the best way for all learners, no matter what age they are. Learners need to move from concrete experiences to abstract experiences and may need to move back to concrete again at points in their learning when they encounter problems. I return to concrete experiences on this course when I read about a concept and then relate it to my own experiences before I can truly understand how the concept functions and then move on the constructively criticise it. Synthetic phonics from the start is trying to teach the abstract without putting the concrete in place first.