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Public response to Channel 4s 'Last Chance Kids'

 
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debbie



Joined: 08 Oct 2007
Posts: 2485
Location: UK

PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 2:34 pm    Post subject: Public response to Channel 4s 'Last Chance Kids' Reply with quote

I have had a number of phone calls from parents seeking advice and support following the television series on Channel 4 'Lost for Words' (or 'Last Chance Kids'). I am very pleased to hear from these parents.

I am so pleased that the Dispatches programme is supporting the notion of informing parents about the issues surrounding reading instruction in our schools.

People like Ruth Miskin and myself (and there are many of us but the television series doesn't seem to be making the extent of the reading instruction debate that explicit) - we are steeped in real-life cases of children who have not been taught The Alphabetic Code and the skills of blending and segmenting at all - or not well enough because the teaching is mixed with the guessing-words strategies. We do feel passionately for these children and their parents.

It feels so wonderful to be able to link up with parents who are pretty desperate for help for their children. I just want to provide them with information because armed with information they will be able to help their own children but also know what to look for in terms of what the local schools provide - or not.

I just have to reiterate to any parent who reads this forum, however, that this is NOT about bad teachers - but it is about overloaded and mistrained teachers - and we are in the middle of very big changes in England thanks to the Rose Report.

Be alerted, also, about the popular intervention programmes. If your child is receiving an intervention programme at school based on the 'guessing-words' strategies and the phonics is focused on spelling and not reading - then this is not synthetic phonics teaching.

The Institute of Education's 'Reading Recovery' intervention programme is being promoted by our Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, right now - but he is ill-informed to be promoting RR along with the synthetic phonics teaching principles. This is a contradiction in terms!

The Oxford Brooks University 'Catch Up' programme is another intervention programme that parents need to look out for. You can see a review of this programme and Reading Recovery on the Reading Reform Foundation website in the RRF newsletter no. 60.

Are Gordon Brown and many local authority advisers saying that the strongest schools and strongest pupils should receive reading instruction in line with the Rose Report (synthetic phonics) but that the weakest schools with the weakest pupils should receive teaching with the reading strategies that the Rose Report rejects? This is not a small issue - it is HUGE.

Unfortunately - the reading instruction debate has some way to go.... Confused
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Debbie Hepplewhite


Last edited by debbie on Thu Nov 01, 2007 1:26 pm; edited 1 time in total
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debbie



Joined: 08 Oct 2007
Posts: 2485
Location: UK

PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 2:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.rrf.org.uk/control/files/uploads/pdf/60.pdf

Here is the Reading Reform Foundation newsletter which includes a review of the Catch Up programme and comments about the situation regarding the government promotion of the Reading Recovery programme.

In effect, the government has failed to apply its own criteria for evaluating a reading instruction programme in its promotion of Reading Recovery.

This is very worrying, and not accountable behaviour.

The trouble is that once people are entrenched in their positions of power and authority, it is almost impossible to challenge that entrenchment.

Even though we are thrilled that the Channel 4 Dispatches people have focused on synthetic phonics teaching, there is still a failure to film really penetrating information about the issues and the research on reading.

You would think it would be easy to grab media attention to inform the public about the issues - not so. We have many sympathetic journalists who chip away with titbits of information - but then what?

Slowly but surely this begins to have an effect as we can see from the advent of the Rose Report - but we are talking of decades - indeed a centuries-old debate.

It is only thanks to the internet that I believe we are making any real progress in the educational and political domain - but it is proving very hard for this to reach the actual teachers, the teaching and the children in the classrooms.
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debbie



Joined: 08 Oct 2007
Posts: 2485
Location: UK

PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 3:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK - I'm in danger of sounding boring going on about this - but I have just one more thing to add about this topic of intervention right now -

Imagine the danger of the notion that mainstream teaching needs to be about teaching The Alphabetic Code and the skills of blending for reading and segmenting for spelling - but not for THESE children who are a little bit slower to learn.

So THESE children are given something different from the synthetic phonics teaching principles and the old myth that they couldn't learn well enough with synthetic phonics so they NEED something different is perpetuated - wrongly.

The danger is that we further create a sub-class of learners who MOST need structured teaching of The Alphabetic Code knowledge and blending skills teaching - but who are the LEAST LIKELY to get it.

Dearie me. Crying or Very sad
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