Why are Teachers so Threatened by Phonics?

I am on record as saying that I find teaching phonics to be a challenge because it can be so dry and tedious to students. However, I can clearly see the benefits of the method.

There is a clear campaign from teacher’s unions and academics against phonics. This campaign is heated and vitriolic and makes absolutely no sense to me. Why would an organisation which is entrusted to help children to read, write and spell condemn a method which has a favourable track record? Even if you believed in other approaches (I like to incorporate other approaches too), it makes no logical sense to rant and rave about strategies that others support such as phonics.

Surely, as our students learn in different ways, it is incumbent on us as teachers to teach skills using a variety of different methods:

Nearly nine out of 10 teachers said they practised nonsense words in the run up to the test.

Words like spron, fape and thazz were included in the test designed to check pupils’ abilities to decode using phonics.

And four out of 10 admitted drilling phonics in the week prior to the test.

One Year one teacher said: “Some able readers failed and some non-fluent, less-able readers passed! What does that prove?

“It proves synthetic phonics is only part of a variety of strategies used in learning to read.”

Another teacher said: “I was willing to try it to see if it helped the children and if it helped inform my planning and assessment.

“It was a waste of time and money – (I had to have) a supply teacher to cover me – and had a negative effect on several of the children in my class.”

A Year One teacher said: “Many children made mistakes trying to turn the pseudo words into real words – ‘strom’ became ‘storm’.”

Some 86% of those polled believed the screening check should not be continued.

Perhaps the test needs some improving, but educators can’t be too tough on phonics as a method. After all, many of us can attribute being able to read by phonics.

Click on the link to read Who Said Grammar Isn’t Important?

Click on the link to read The Resistance Against Teaching Grammar

Click on the link to read Captain Phonics to the Rescue!

Click on the link to read the Phonics debate.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: