Tes reports that the way reading is being taught has “disturbing and potentially destructive consequences” for teachers and pupils, warns Dr Andrew Davis, honorary research fellow at the University of Durham’s school of education.
Synthetic phonics teaches children to sound out letters and blend those sounds into actual words and is the government’s favoured reading method for primary school pupils.
In a new book, Dr Davis says: “It really does look as though they are trying to make all teachers teach all pupils in a particular way, regardless of what those teachers know of individual differences and needs”.
He adds that giving children who are already reading “a rigid diet of intensive phonics could make a destructive impact on their emerging identities as persons”.
It is wrong to claim that science can show the best way of teaching reading, according to Dr Davis, who says: “The legitimate authority of [science] has been extended to domains where it has no place. Popular culture – and even educational research – sometimes endorse this aberration”.
Dr Davis “used phonics in all shapes and sizes” during his time as a primary school teacher and says “this aspect of supporting early readers seemed like basic common sense”.
But a “fundamentalism” has sprung up around the issue, where unless you teach only synthetic phonics “for a period of time for early readers, you are in fact deemed to be against it”.
Read the full article Phonics ‘fundamentalism’ is based on flawed science, says education expert
Do you agree with Dr. Andrew Davis? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
Are you a trainee teacher, NQT, teacher, headteacher, parent or just someone who cares about education and has something to get off your chest in a Schools Improvement Guest Post? Follow this link for more details at the bottom of the page.Don’t forget you can sign up to receive our daily email bulletin (around 7am) with all the latest schools news stories. Your details will never be given to anyone else and you can unsubscribe at any stage. Just follow this link.
We now have a Facebook page - please click to like!