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Ethics Education Policy and Research: Sue Ellis Scotland
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debbie



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PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2015 1:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From the UK Reading Reform Foundation archives:


http://www.rrf.org.uk/archive.php?n_ID=170&n_issueNumber=59

Quote:
RRF Newsletter 59

Fact and Fiction about the Synthetic Phonics Study in Clackmannanshire

Rhona Johnston & Joyce Watson


Since our study of synthetic phonics in Clackmannanshire (Johnston and Watson, 2004) has been widely discussed, though perhaps not widely read, a remarkable number of myths have been circulating.

Hall (2006, page 12) argues that in our research in Clackmannanshire analytic phonics was set up for failure. Actually, as we are scrupulously careful researchers, our very first study set out to find out exactly how analytic phonics was taught. Definitions of analytic phonics are rarely very explicit; below is one of the more detailed ones that we have found.

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debbie



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PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 1:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anne Glennie identifies the problem in the very country that should be leading the way following the world-famous Clackmannanshire longitudinal studies:

https://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=11006518

Quote:
News | Published in TESS on 27 February, 2015

Last Updated:27 February, 2015
Section:News

Attainment gap? What about the teaching gap?

Ive been biting my tongue and trying to be patient. I dont want to be the messenger that gets shot. But with all this talk of attainment gaps and challenge funds, I cant keep quiet any longer.

We know that some of our learners, particularly those from a poor background, can arrive at school 18 months behind their peers in terms of vocabulary and cognitive development. To address this, weve established fantastic initiatives and collegiate practices such as the Early Years Collaborative and Play, Talk, Read. In addition, Curriculum for Excellence is groundbreaking in many ways.

But there is something we do not address systematically. Here is a question for you, one that I now ask teachers regularly: when you trained, were you taught how to teach reading? Sadly, despite the fact that we, as practitioners, are all responsible for the teaching and learning of literacy in our classrooms, the answer is usually no.

So how do we ensure that all our learners develop core skills in reading? Thats just the problem we dont. Through no fault of our own, we lack the required pedagogical subject knowledge when it comes to the most effective way to teach reading.

Our practice is often based on what scheme is in the cupboard, or advice from well-intentioned colleagues (most of whom werent taught how to teach reading either) rather than on evidence-based methodologies. The real truth is that, when it comes to the teaching of reading in Scotland, we are resource-led rather than research-led. The problem is that these approaches are frequently outdated, resulting in a situation where most children can read but not all. And who is left behind? Its the children who started with a gap in the first place. We continue to fail the very pupils who need the transformational power of education the most.

Until we address this teaching gap when it comes to acquiring basic literacy skills, no matter what we try the attainment gap will be here for good.

Anne Glennie

Primary teacher and literacy consultant

Short and tweet

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debbie



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PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2015 6:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is what Sir Jim Rose had to say about schools that were observed for his independent national review of teaching children to read:

Quote:
"We spent a huge amount of time observing practice and noting the spectacular success of SSP when we found it, sometimes in classes where a significant number of beginners were learning English as an additional language.


It is so very tragic to hear academics and so many others undermining Clackmannanshire and the promotion of Systematic Synthetic Phonics practice.

I visit schools where teachers are teaching their hearts out where phonics is concerned, however, and they simply do not have sufficient knowledge and understanding about phonics and reading instruction to do full justice to the children.

It is not about their lack of will, it is about the need for really thorough teacher-training and professional development - and in terms of our teaching profession as a whole, we have a long way to go in England and in Scotland - and in Wales - and around the world in fact!
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snorkmaiden



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PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2015 2:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just thought I'd add this to the thread - Sue Ellis giving advice on teaching reading in this week's TES Scotland.

Quote:
No more input-outputs

According to Ellis, schools need access to better data on literacy focusing on what matters most pupils comprehension, decoding fluency and engagement at a point in the year that is useful. Schools also need to become better at analysing that data. This means moving away from what she describes as the input-output approach, or if they are bad at x, you give them more of x.

If a child is poor at decoding reading slowly and stiltingly the solution might not be for them to read more with the teacher, Ellis explains. It might be that you need to make reading more exciting, make them see it as something they do out of school, or provide them with more books not reading-scheme books.

The aspiration of Curriculum for Excellence that every teacher regardless of subject specialism should be a teacher of literacy has not been realised, Ellis argues. Teachers have to be able to create a learning mix that works, but studying literacy development and teaching is not always a major plank in initial teacher education, she says.

Ellis wants the General Teaching Council for Scotland to review whether sufficient weight is given to literacy teaching in teacher education programmes. Some institutions allocate just 20 hours in a four-year degree four times less than others.


The full article is available to read here: https://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=11007274

And then we wonder why we're having problems... Sad
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debbie



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PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2015 10:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anne Glennie responds via her blog:

http://www.thelearningzoo.co.uk/2015/05/16/identifying-reading-problems-how-will-i-know/

Quote:
Well, Im afraid I have to say I disagree. There are three things required to build a reader:

You need to be able to read (decode) and lift the words off of the page.
You need to be able to understand what you read (comprehension).
You need to be motivated and want to succeed in reading.

So, if a child is poor at decoding and reading slow and stiltedly as above, will making the reading more exciting be the magic wand that is required? Eh, in a word, no.
You need to diagnose the problem and find out exactly why their reading is slow and stilted. You need to get to the root of the problem to make sure you are responding to the real needs of the child in front of you.

Are they slow because their knowledge of the phoneme/grapheme (sound / letter) correspondences is weak?
Or
Are they slow because although they have adequate knowledge of the alphabetic code, they are slow at blending, as they need regular, little and often practice to build up automaticity?


Do read the whole posting! Wink
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debbie



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2015 6:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

At last the video footage of Anne Glennie's amazing talk at the UK Reading Reform Foundation conference about 'The Attainment Gap' in Scotland - powerful stuff.

Ann describes the horrifying reality that weighty organisations in Scotland only aspire to an 85% literacy level. Why not 100%?

This is a 'must watch' - a fantastic, short but powerful talk by a very talented lady:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxqpNzASnJA&feature=youtu.be
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Last edited by debbie on Thu Dec 15, 2016 12:03 pm; edited 1 time in total
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debbie



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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2015 10:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was alerted to this Joseph Rowntree Foundation about 'Closing the attainment gap' which refers to the work of Sue Ellis. I left a comment which is yet to be 'monitored', so I copied it and pasted it on this thread (see below):


http://www.jrf.org.uk/publications/closing-attainment-gap-scottish-education

Quote:
Hold on, this is waiting to be approved by Joseph Rowntree Foundation.


Anne Glennie describes her grave concern that she trains many Scottish teachers in literacy but they are not trained in Systematic Synthetic Phonics knowledge and practices. This points to a teacher-training gap, and not just a learners' attainment gap. This is both ironic and tragic considering that the Clackmannanshire research is world-renowned. Anne also highlights that the official aspiration of 85% literacy in Scotland is signing-up for 15% weak literacy. Anne speaks about this very clearly in a fifteen minute talk at the March 2015 Reading Reform Foundation conference (theme: some schools teach 100% of their children to read. Why can't all schools?). See the second video on this page here:

http://www.iferi.org/the-readi...

I write about some views expressed by Sue Ellis and colleagues here:

http://www.phonicsinternationa...

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debbie



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2015 11:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've just checked out the Joseph Rowntree Foundation page and cannot see my 'comment' so it could that it has not been approved, or not been approved 'yet'. We'll see.

I tried to wade through the full report re the poverty/attainment gap and lost the will to live as it was so long and convoluting, full of acronyms with little to say of any immediate practical use (it seems to me).

Glance at this report and you'll see what I mean:

http://www.jrf.org.uk/sites/files/jrf/education-attainment-scotland-full.pdf

Surely if you want to reduce the poverty/attainment gap you irradicate poverty which is a political/economic/community issue and you train teachers to teach reading and writing by research-informed methods which are fit-for-purpose.

So, what is really being done to address 'poverty' and what is really being done to train teachers in Scotland well enough with research-informed content and methodology? The best and perhaps only hope for many of these youngsters is to teach them to be literate and to teach them thoroughly.

I suggest that Scotland should not ignore or undermine its Clackmannanshire research but, instead, see how they can be even better and more rigorous still with their basic skills literacy teaching.

How many so-called 'foundations' such as the Joseph Rowntree Foundation spend a lot of time and money writing such reports to not much practical avail?

I was utterly dismayed to see Sue Ellis doing damage yet again to undermine the Clackmannanshire research - see page 31 of the full report from which I've copied the paragraph below:

Quote:
Decoding and fluency

There are strong correlations between low socioeconomic status and low letter and vocabulary knowledge on starting school, and also between letter knowledge at the start of school and later reading attainment (Denton and West, 2002).

The arguments around phonics and teaching pupils to decode print have been fierce and often unhelpfully reductionist. Obviously, teaching alphabetic knowledge, and how to hear, to sequence, to isolate, blend and segment the sounds in words is important. However, large-scale longitudinal studies in the US show that mastering phonics alone does not improve the reading attainment of those children from low socioeconomic groups and that fluency is equally important (Denton and West, 2002).


In a cross-national study that included Scotland, Thompson and colleagues (2008) found that classes that focused heavily on phonics had less instructional time available to practice reading continuous text and
that over-prioritising phonics, or atomistic elements of reading, may not
be the best way to promote literacy in disadvantaged groups.

Nonetheless, the Clackmannanshire phonics study (Johnston and Watson, 2005) made headline-grabbing claims for phonics and has had a significant impact on Scottish practice through media publicity, local authority networks and commercial teaching materials, despite obvious evidence that the claims do not match reality (Ellis and Moss, 2013).

Research does indicate that children starting school with low letter and vocabulary knowledge (associated with socioeconomically disadvantaged groups) benefit from small-group, teacher- led, explicit literacy teaching at the start of their school career, with more open-ended literacy activities as the year progresses (Connor et al., 2004, 2007).


I think it is disgraceful that the Joseph Rowntree Foundation is including this in the report about closing the attainment gap.

I suggest that what we read here is more about Sue Ellis's personal view and understanding (or lack thereof) of leading-edge synthetic phonics practice and less about what this could look like and what it can achieve.

Systematic synthetic phonics is not just 'important' for children, it is essential and life-chance stuff.

The comment about SSP not being about 'fluency' is a red-herring - not relevant - if teachers do not also provide repetition and practice with cumulative texts and literature to enable 'fluency', then that is the issue - not that SSP isn't essential.

Quite frankly, this is shocking and is in danger of leading teachers and others away from working out truly 'leading-edge' systematic synthetic phonics provision.

According to Anne Glennie's experience (and she has trained thousands of teachers in Scotland), many if not most teachers in Scotland are not all trained in systematic synthetic phonics and yet many are very eager indeed when given the chance to express their interest in professional development in reading instruction.

By the way, the USA trawl of the research led to the 'Five Pillars of Literacy' being:

1) phonemic awareness (which is addressed directly within phonics programmes)
2) phonics (which ought to include code to word to text level work and is ideal for repetition)
3) fluency (which is about repetition to build up fluency)
4) vocabulary enrichment (to be specifically taught)
5) comprehension (spoken language comprehension and reading comprehension which can be specifically taught)

So the comments about phonics as if phonics is 'anti' fluency are simply not relevant or taken out of context.
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debbie



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PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2016 12:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are we surprised by Scotland's latest results in the international arena?

I was horrified when I first saw Scotland's 'Curriculum For Excellence' - and thought it would take me a year to read, let alone 'digest'.

Then we have well-known academics like Sue Ellis undermining evidence-informed reading instruction rather than welcoming the internationally famous 'Clackmannanshire' studies (Johnston and Watson).

Scotland needs to start using England's statutory Year One Phonics Check and to get on board with foundational literacy based on the research and leading-edge teaching experience:

http://reaction.life/scotlands-north-korean-education-system-ruining-lives/

Quote:
Scotland’s North Korean education system is ruining lives

Nicola Sturgeon declared education her priority, but of course it was no such thing

BY GERALD WARNER / 15 DECEMBER 2016

Congratulations to Nicola Sturgeon and her SNP government on the spectacular success of their equalities policy. The triennial Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) statistics for last year have been released and they make it clear no child educated in a Scottish state school is in danger of rising above its station or exchanging a lowly background for a high-flying career.

Scotland’s education system has recorded what the Sassenach media term its worst, but which Scottish socialists would prefer to see as its most egalitarian, performance ever in these international league tables which assessed 540,000 pupils from the 35 member nations of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and 37 “partner countries”.

Scotland has again slumped down the league tables in the three core subjects of maths, reading and science – the three disciplines most closely related to life opportunities. In maths, Scotland has dropped in ranking from 11th to 24th since 2006. In reading, the decline is from 11th place to 23rd and in science from 10th to 19th. The percentage of Scottish pupils classed as showing “low performance” at science rose from 12.1 per cent three years ago to 19.5 per cent. England’s score was 15 points higher, but no doubt that will be categorized by cybernats as “fake news”.

Scotland was formerly high above the OECD average in all three subjects: for example, it was ranked 6th for reading ability in 2000. The slump dates from the introduction of devolved government. The massive decline is most marked since 2006, the year before the SNP came to power. By 2012 Scotland was being outperformed in maths by countries such as Estonia and Vietnam, with 18 per cent of Scottish 15-year-olds rated as unable to “participate effectively and productively in life”.

In the wake of last week’s publication of the OECD figures, a report from Sturgeon’s own government, relating to its ironically named Curriculum for Excellence, declared that 28 per cent of P7 pupils are “not achieving required levels of literacy and numeracy”. That is by no means the first time the SNP has failed Scotland’s primary schoolchildren. The SNP came to power in 2007 on a pledge to cut primary school class sizes across P1-P3 to 18 or fewer. Today the average P1-P3 class size is 23.5, the seventh highest in the world. On the day the SNP entered government there were 55,100 teachers in Scotland; today there are 51,000.

Nicola Sturgeon declared education her priority, but of course it was no such thing: the obsession with independence and extravagant PC projects such as the proposal to impose a “Named Person” on every Scottish child, from birth to age 18, supplanting parents, took priority – until struck down by the Supreme Court.

But while the SNP, having been in power for the past decade, must bear the brunt of the responsibility for the destruction of what was once the finest state education system in the world, there are other accessories to this crime. Chief among them is Scotland’s largest teaching union, the hard-left Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS). The EIS is to Scottish education what Arthur Scargill’s NUM was to the coal industry. EIS members are the keepers of the flame of doctrinaire socialism, fanatical opponents of the slightest scintilla of educational reform, worshippers at the altar of comprehensive education and resolute to stamp out anything that smacks of selection, streaming or academic excellence.

When the last PISA report came out in 2013 showing continuing decline in Scottish schools, the EIS denounced “this damaging ‘league-table’ approach”. Damaging to EIS members, that is, who had been exposed as failing to maintain educational standards in Scottish schools. This year the EIS greeted the embarrassing OECD revelations with a warning that PISA results had previously been misrepresented “by those seeking to make political capital out of talking down education”.

“Talking down education” – you have to admire the chutzpah of the EIS – is Scottish lefty code for worrying about relentless educational decline at a time when a globalized world is demanding increasingly competent skills from anyone who aspires to be more than a hewer of wood or drawer of water. Since 1945, when the plague bacillus of state-dependent socialism infected the compatriots of Adam Smith, the consensual axiom of Scottish politics has been that the government must take care of everything.

If people leave school illiterate and innumerate, and therefore unfit for employment, they can live on benefits. As for the job vacancies – not a problem, we’ll summon more immigrants to do the work our Third World education system leaves so many Scots incapable of doing. Scotland invented engineering, yet several years ago a planeload of engineers from Slovenia (!) had to be flown to Scotland to fill urgent vacancies.

The other chief accessory was Scottish Labour, now vociferously denouncing the SNP’s educational failure without proposing a policy that significantly differs from the Scottish government’s: both leftist parties share the dinosaur consensus that no serious reform should be permitted in Scottish schools. Scottish Labour blocked even the cosmetic Blairite reforms.

Scottish politicians and “educationalists” are united in seeing education as a vehicle not of knowledge but of egalitarianism. No Scottish child must ever feel inferior to another, so selection is forbidden and exams are “dumbed down” to the point of futility. The dead hand of local authority stupidity holds Scottish education in its thrall. Remember those Darwinian charts portraying evolution in a line of silhouettes progressing from a squatting simian hominoid to an upright modern man? The silhouette third from the right is a Scottish Labour/SNP councillor.

The prevailing socialist philosophy is the egalitarian obsession that is marginalizing Scotland from the modern world: the tall poppy syndrome, expressed in the demotic aphorism “Ca’ the feet frae yon big b******!” Yet the tragic victims of this dinosaur class war are precisely those whose interests the Scottish Left purports to defend. Well-heeled Scots send their children to independent Schools or state schools in prosperous catchment areas.

The gifted poor, formerly enabled to fulfil their potential in senior secondary or grammar schools, are artificially held back, the less gifted are denied any upward ladder. It is grossly immoral. It is no exaggeration to say the mounting tally of unfulfilled lives sacrificed to outdated dogma amounts to an abuse of human rights. Nicola Sturgeon, who presides over this scholastic North Korea, has threatened to use her MPs at Westminster to vote down an increase in grammar schools for England. It is only natural that someone who owns a brilliantly successful education system should feel a missionary zeal to export it.

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