"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

British Study Finds Phonics Fanaticism "is uninformed and failing children"

 A new British study reported in The Guardian finds that the imbalance created by dependence on phonics in reading instruction to the exclusion of balanced literacy approaches effectively limits children's comprehension and understanding of what they read, children's desire to read, children's appreciation of books, and their reading achievement scores. 

So what's not to love about concentrated phonics instruction, especially for disenfranchised children?  After all, it is best child neurological training regimen for a life without independent thinking, individual initiative, a broad understanding of how the world works, or the capacity for imaginative problem solving.

The study concludes with a call for national reading curriculum and instruction policy control to be removed from appointed officials whose job it is to pursue an education agenda based on political ideology rather than empirical evidence. How quaint!

From The Guardian:

A landmark study has described the way primary school pupils are taught to read in England as “uninformed and failing children”, calling on the government to drop its narrow focus on phonics.

Researchers at UCL’s Institute of Education say the current emphasis on synthetic phonics, which teaches children to read by helping them to identify and pronounce sounds which they blend together to make words, is “not underpinned by the latest evidence”.

They claim analysis of multiple systematic reviews, experimental trials and data from international assessment tests such as Pisa suggests that teaching reading in England may have been less successful since the adoption of the synthetic phonics approach rather than more.

The UCL researchers are among 250 signatories to a letter which has been sent to education secretary Nadhim Zahawi, calling on the government to allow for a wider range of approaches to teaching reading, which would allow teachers to use their own judgment about which is best for their pupils. . . .

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