Feedback on Phonic Check

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volunteer
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Re: Feedback on Phonic Check

Post by volunteer » Mon Oct 14, 2013 2:55 am

Apologies for leaping in to the middle and spoiling the flow. I have an example now of my 7 year old's reading errors. She was reading a short timeline about Ronald dahl's school life. In stead of reading .... Started at Repton she read "started in reception". Yikes.

Toots

Re: Feedback on Phonic Check

Post by Toots » Mon Oct 14, 2013 9:04 am

chew8 wrote:Re. Debbie's point 2. above: the nutshell-statement that is never far from my mind is this:
Perfetti wrote:The hallmark of skilled reading is fast, context-free word identification. And rich context-dependent understanding. (Journal of Research in Reading 18/2, 1995).
Yes, fast context-free word identification is obviously a sign that a reader recognises and has learnt many words and word patterns. Segmenting and blending using SP is not the same thing as fast word identification.
chew8 wrote:Here's something which is relevant to the issue of the screening check - it's from the 1995 Share and Stanovich article which I mentioned earlier:
Share and Stanovich wrote:The ability to read pseudowords - the benchmark of phonological recoding - is probably the strongest known correlate of word recognition skill (see reviews by Jorm and Share, 1983, Rack et al., 1992, Snowling, 1992, Stanovich, 1994a, Stanovich and Siegel, 1994, Wagner and Torgesen, 1987). (Issues in Education 1/1, 1995)
By 'phonological recoding', S. and S. mean sounding out and blending. By 'word recognition skill' they mean the fast, automatic word-reading which usually starts to occur after a word has been sounded out and blended a few times. In other words, they are talking about 'sight'-word reading in the good sense.

Jenny C.
This seems to me to amount to saying that good readers are also good at decoding pseudowords, which is hardly shocking. Yes, it may well mean they have an extensive knowledge of grapheme-phoneme correspondences, but as long as the pseudowords replicate English spelling patterns what's to say that they use SP, ignoring their lexical knowledge, when decoding them? It's not surprising that people who recognise lots of written words can also have a go at nonwords, as long as the spellings are in line with the spellings they have learnt (ie follow English patterns). Note that S and S use the term 'correlate' which I understand as meaning that good word recognition and good phonological recoding appear to go hand in hand. This does not mean that the good phonological recoding is the cause of the good word recognition, or vice versa. Can you envisage a model in which there is constant interplay between word (where context is a factor), word chunk and grapheme recognition? I come, more and more, to see learning to read in terms of this interplay.

Meanwhile, being good at reading pseudowords doesn't mean you will always be good at pronouncing similar real words. For instance, you can be good at decoding the nonword 'flait' whether in your pronunciation guess you arrive at 'flate' to rhyme with 'trait' or 'flat' to rhyme with 'plait'. And yes, you could arrive at either pronunciation through knowing your GPCs. However, were 'flait' a real English word you would have to learn through experience and teaching which of these possible pronunciations it represented. So your recoding would depend on having the word in your lexical 'catalogue', or at the very least, your spoken vocabulary. Oh, and the context in which the word appeared would help you to twig (guess) that it represented the flate/flat word you have heard before.

volunteer
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Re: Feedback on Phonic Check

Post by volunteer » Mon Oct 14, 2013 9:40 am

Are we sure that S and S meant sounding out and blending by phonological recoding?

Toots

Re: Feedback on Phonic Check

Post by Toots » Mon Oct 14, 2013 10:03 am

volunteer wrote:Apologies for leaping in to the middle and spoiling the flow. I have an example now of my 7 year old's reading errors. She was reading a short timeline about Ronald dahl's school life. In stead of reading .... Started at Repton she read "started in reception". Yikes.
That's interesting isn't it, because while she is clearly using context as a shortcut (naughty girl) she has got the context all wrong. You and I know that a timeline of an author's life would be unlikely to have the label 'started in reception', because we have experience of the genre of genuine timelines. Your daughter's experience, and her whole world, is much smaller and more parochial than ours, and starting in reception figures as an important event in her life - were she doing her own timeline she would probably include it! So were we to make the mistake she made we would most likely do a double take and reread.

Your daughter is only 7. I agree she should have noticed that it was 'at' not 'in', and that Repton was not reception. But give her a break. I would talk her through it and just keep on plugging the message that she needs to look at the words.

By the way, you made 2 errors in your post. Perhaps you were in a hurry. Perhaps you believe that it doesn't matter on an Internet forum, so didn't review your post. Whatever. My point being, we all make mistakes.

Why is she reading a timeline of Dahl's life? What's more guaranteed to suck the life out of reading enthusiasm? Except now you'll tell me she chose the book herself and was really fascinated to know the facts on his timeline. :grin:

Do you think she is sacrificing accuracy in order to be fluent? Have you considered getting her to point to the words when she is reading? I know she's probably officially past that but it might be worth trying. Or maybe get her to read the page to herself for the words, checking each and every one, before reading out loud. Also, has she had her eyes tested recently?

volunteer
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Re: Feedback on Phonic Check

Post by volunteer » Mon Oct 14, 2013 12:14 pm

:smile: She keeps on reading the Magic Finger again and again - I discovered her in bed reading the stuff about Dahl at the back of the book as I think she didn't want the book to come to an end! She doesn't usually read out loud to me .... I think that herein lies the issue.

She has read huge amounts for several years now. If she does read out loud to me she doesn't like being stopped in any way to read a word more carefully or discuss the action - unless it's her choice and she initiates this! So I find it easier from time to time (haven't done it for a year now :oops: ) to separate out the word recognition skills from the reading of a book. It saves an argument or two! At the moment I think the thing that will do her "good" (and which she likes!) are certain sections from Toe by Toe decoding multisyllable nonsense and real words. Strange but true.

She used to point or use a ruler when reading --- it's too fast now for this when she is reading independently.

Yes, a certain level of errors is OK, certainly in a 7 year old. I just feel at the moment (when I do hear her) that it is a higher than desirable percentage ... but I haven't calculated it.

Both my children make errors in maths ....some teachers at the school think there should be no errors in maths and do not move them on with any new learning until they think they are "error-free". This strikes me as a strange notion. So I don't think I am being too picky about her errors .... in fact I think I've probably let things slide for too long now. She doesn't seem to get heard at school either - once a week in a guided reading group would be the norm for her now, but she says they have only had the groups once or twice this school term.

volunteer
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Re: Feedback on Phonic Check

Post by volunteer » Mon Oct 14, 2013 12:15 pm

volunteer wrote:Apologies for leaping in to the middle and spoiling the flow. I have an example now of my 7 year old's reading errors. She was reading a short timeline about Ronald dahl's school life. In stead of reading .... Started at Repton she read "started in reception". Yikes.
:oops: Aware of the errors - my Ipad has a life of its own and I can't be bothered to correct it!

chew8
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Re: Feedback on Phonic Check

Post by chew8 » Mon Oct 14, 2013 2:12 pm

I'm sorry that it's taking me time to respond to various postings. I'm finding that as queries are raised about specific points I'm having to do a huge amount of re-reading to check details and to find clear and unequivocal statements. I'll say more when I feel able to, but am tied up with grandchildren for the next few hours and will need to do more re-reading after that.

Jenny C.

Toots

Re: Feedback on Phonic Check

Post by Toots » Mon Oct 14, 2013 2:43 pm

Volunteer, I think there's a difference between reading with the purpose of learning and reading for relaxation and enjoyment. I'm not saying that when we read for enjoyment we don't pay heed to the meaning, of course we do, but it's not like we're going to be tested on it. It sounds as if your daughter is reading The Magic Finger for the sheer pleasure of it, and that pleasure is about being absorbed in another world and discovering story. It's an emotional thing as well as being intellectually stimulating. If she gets some words wrong but still experiences these pleasures so be it.

I often think the simple act of looking at the squiggles and knowing what they say must be enormously satisfying for the novice reader. Reading is of itself pleasurable (I think), and must be especially so when the skill is new, though I can't remember that. I remember reading for comfort, excitement, story, knowledge, distraction, escapism, curiosity, interest....

We read differently for different purposes. Hopefully this is something she will understand as she continues learning and she will treat other texts with more sustained attention and care as necessary. I think you're probably right to do some separate work on accuracy with her alongside enjoying the fact that she loves to read.

Incidentally, I've just noticed that you wrote Ronald for Roald in your earlier post. Interesting that I didn't notice that mistake before; I must have just assumed the word Roald from the context. What is to be made of that? Was my reading erroneous or correct?

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Re: Feedback on Phonic Check

Post by chew8 » Wed Oct 16, 2013 9:27 am

I’m putting responses to Volunteer and Toots in two separate postings.
Volunteer wrote:Are we sure that S and S meant sounding out and blending by phonological recoding?
I’ve re-read the 36-page Share and Stanovich article but have not been able to find anything approaching a one-liner saying that what they mean is sounding out and blending using grapheme-phoneme knowledge – they seem to assume that what they mean is self-evident. Share, though, writing on his own in other articles, certainly mentions sounding out and blending at the grapheme-phoneme level.

Below are some extracts from the Share and Stanovich article which may allow people to make their own deductions. The heading and first sentence in the first extract show that S and S use ‘phonological recoding’ and ‘decoding’ interchangeably and envisage a simple start based on one-to-one correspondences..

[Immediately under the heading ‘The Lexicalization of Phonological Recoding’] Early decoding skill seems to be based on simple one-to-one correspondences that are relatively insensitive to orthographic and morphemic context. With print exposure, these simple letter-sound correspondences become “lexicalized” – modified by a growing body of orthographic knowledge. The expanding print lexicon alerts the child to regularities beyond the level of simple one-to-one grapheme-phoneme correspondences, such as context-sensitive (soft and hard g and c), positional (final versus initial y), and morphemic constraints ( DOGS rather than DOGZ). Ironically, the outcome of this process of “lexicalization” is a skilled reader whose knowledge of the relationships between print and sound has evolved to a degree that makes it indistinguishable from a purely whole-word mechanism that maintains no spelling-sound correspondence rules at the level of individual letters and digraphs. (p. 23)

According to the self-teaching model, phonological recoding (print-to-sound translation) functions as a self-teaching mechanism enabling the learner to acquire the detailed orthographic representations necessary for both fast, efficient visual word recognition and for proficient spelling. (p. 16)

...it is the acquisition of letter-sound knowledge together with a basic level of phonological sensitivity that bring the decoding possibilities of an alphabetic orthography to children’s attention. (p. 20)

Jenny C.

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Re: Feedback on Phonic Check

Post by chew8 » Wed Oct 16, 2013 9:35 am

Sorry this is so long.
Toots wrote:However, I am surprised that you on the one hand say that your knowledge of the context in which Ehri was working justifies your interpretation of this study and on the other show disregard for the within-article context in your analysis.

Let's look at the section you use to justify your beliefs that Ehri would support SSP as a learning method. You put great store on the section on page 179. But, as I mentioned in one of my previous posts, this section is not about decoding using grapheme-phoneme correspondences at all.

The heading of the section is 'Vocabulary Learning'. Within it, Ehri describes two studies the aim of which is to find out if seeing the spelling of a word as well as hearing the word spoken (and in some cases hearing its meaning explained) facilitates remembering it. This is not about remembering how to spell the word, and it is not about learning to read the word - the word is spoken while the spelling is available to the child. It is about the child remembering and saying the word, and as the aim of the studies was to see if being able to read vocabulary made it more memorable the conclusions Ehri draws are of relevance to this aim:

From these findings we conclude that the alphabetic system provides a mnemonic that helps students secure new vocabulary words in memory, both their pronunciations and their meanings. This constitutes one more reason why beginners need a strong alphabetic foundation when they learn to read. It helps them acquire new vocabulary words.
Yes, I realise that the section as a whole is headed ‘Vocabulary Learning’, but this doesn’t mean that Ehri can’t include something which emerged from those experiments but which is also relevant to the issue of ‘sight’-word reading, that being the subject of the first section of her article and also a key interest of Share’s.

As I see it, she concludes her main remarks about vocabulary learning with the last paragraph quoted above (‘From these findings...’) – the language there is conclusion-type language. This is followed by two figures showing the findings. What I think then happens is that she adds a paragraph (see below) in which she says that the findings also bear on the aspect of ‘sight’-word reading on which she and Share differ – i.e. the contribution made by decoding. Share thinks that learners need to decode words on their first encounters in order to remember them well enough to read them ‘at sight’ later, but Ehri isn’t convinced.
Ehri wrote:These findings bear on Share’s (1995, 1999, 2004) self-teaching mechanism. They raise questions about the claim that learners need to apply a decoding procedure to retain sight words in memory when the words are read. In our studies, learners did not decode the words taught with spellings. Rather they heard the words pronounced by someone else. In fact, spellings appeared but were never even mentioned. Nevertheless students retained specific information about the spellings in memory. This suggests that it is not the conscious application of a decoding procedure (i.e., sounding out letters and blending them) that is critical but the implicit, spontaneous activation of alphabetic knowledge that connects graphemes to phonemes to secure the spellings of specific words in memory. Use of a decoding strategy may help students apply this knowledge, but it is the knowledge rather than the act of decoding that is critical. Alternatively, it may be that some of the children decoded the spellings subvocally when they saw them. This is an issue for future study.
The findings of hers that she is talking about emerged during her experiments on vocabulary learning, so she carries on writing under that heading, but if they ‘bear on Share’s (1995, 1999, 2004) self-teaching mechanism’, then Ehri can’t mean that they bear on his views on vocabulary learning, because the studies of his which she cites are not about vocabulary learning. She must mean that they bear on what he says about the relationship between decoding and ‘sight’-word reading.

You say, Toots, that Ehri’s section on vocabulary learning ‘is not about remembering how to spell the word’. It’s true that the focus in the experiments in question was not on remembering how to spell the word but Ehri says that her subjects nevertheless did some remembering – they ‘retained specific information about the spellings’, and they did this despite not having their attention drawn to the spellings and apparently not decoding the words. The retention of information about spellings is what she picks up on in making her point about Share. She is surely saying that this is the sort of information Share would regard as important for the development of ‘sight’-word reading, but that her subjects apparently retained it without the ‘conscious application of a decoding procedure’ that he thinks is necessary, so perhaps conscious decoding isn’t as necessary to the development of ‘sight’-word word reading as he thinks. Perhaps what is ‘critical’ is ‘the implicit, spontaneous activation of alphabetic knowledge that connects graphemes to phonemes to secure the spellings of specific words in memory’. But Ehri allows for the possibility that decoding ‘may help students apply this knowledge’ and also allows for the possibility that some of her own subjects ‘decoded the spellings subvocally when they saw them’.

If I’m right, then I’m not showing ‘disregard for the within-article context’ as you suggest, Toots.
Toots also wrote:Jenny, you seem to have taken this reference to 'strong alphabetic foundation' out of context to suggest that Ehri would agree that pupils should be taught through an SP approach.
No, I didn’t say that Ehri would agree that pupils ‘should’ be taught through an SP approach. I said that I thought she would accept that SP ‘may, like her own approach, lead on to good ‘sight’-word reading in her sense...’. I also said, in another post, ‘I think she would agree that UK s.p. is one way of ensuring that word-reading is underpinned by grapheme-phoneme knowledge’ – one way, not the only way. As I’ve tried to indicate, my perception of Ehri’s views has been built up over many years on the basis of reading things she has written. I also met her at a conference in 2000: I heard her speak, talked to her one-to-one, and had a brief e-mail exchange with her. As far as I know, she has never used s.p. in her own experiments, but I think she recognises its merits. For example, she chaired the ‘Alphabetics’ sub-group of the USA National Reading Panel: the report of that sub-group defines s.p. as ‘teaching students explicitly to convert letters into sounds (phonemes) and then blend the sounds to form recognizable words’, and states that one of its findings was that ‘systematic synthetic phonics had a positive and significant effect on disabled readers’ reading skills’. OK, disabled readers are not all readers, but on the basis of all that I know, I think she would see s.p. as a good approach, even if it’s not exactly the approach she uses. She says things elsewhere about the importance of applying phonemic awareness and letter-sound knowledge in reading words by blending phonemes.

Jenny C.

Toots

Re: Feedback on Phonic Check

Post by Toots » Wed Oct 16, 2013 10:48 am

I agree that the 'strong alphabetic foundation' reference is part of Ehri's conclusion regarding the vocabulary learning study. So we cannot use that quote to imply that the 'strong alphabetic foundation' is the same thing, in Ehri's mind, as applying or knowing segmenting and blending strategies. Thank you for that acknowledgement ; I am sorry if I overstated your argument.

To look again at the following paragraph I take your point that there is a shift from conclusion to what might be called, 'consequential speculation'. This interpretation is supported by Ehri finishing with the phrase, 'This is an issue for further study'. As regards this paragraph my argument with your interpretation was based on the fact that Ehri explicitly states that decoding was not a feature that could be attributed to the children in the vocabulary studies. If that is the case, then the findings may have a bearing on the S&S work but cannot be used, as I felt you were using them, to imply that Ehri believed that segmenting and blending was what enabled the children to read the vocabulary. In your original reply to me on this thread you wrote: " There is evidence that a synthetic phonics start leads not only to the ability to sound words out phonically but also to the ability to read unfamiliar words by analogy with familiar words and to recognise words apparently as wholes" and referred me to the Ehri article. I think that your present posting shows that you acknowledge that this article does not support your assertion.

Clearly the children did some remembering, which was enhanced by seeing the written word. But we cannot conclude anything beyond the fact that seeing appropriate letters (alphabetic units, if you like) each time a word is uttered helps a person to recall the (spoken) word. And there is no evidence that Ehri concludes any more than that. Retaining specific information about the spellings? Does that mean any more than remembering what the word looked like? Ehri doesn't explain exactly what she means or her grounds for saying this; it's something of a throwaway remark, which reflects the speculative nature of what she says in this paragraph.

It seems from this reply that you have looked at little harder at the article. I hope you can now acknowledge that there is nothing here to support your belief that she 'would agree that UK s.p. is one way of ensuring that word-reading is underpinned by grapheme-phoneme knowledge'. In fact, this article is silent on the subject of reading instruction and would suggest that she has a much more nuanced understanding of the way words, sounds and letters are used in learning to read than suggested by the SP aggressively bottom up approach. And this understanding is borne out on the evidence and studies she explains here, which do not show readers segmenting and blending in order to read and remember words or achieve the requisite 'alphabetic foundation'. It may be that elsewhere she expresses a positive support for SP, as you claim, but the merits of that support would have to be assessed in the appropriate context of her further remarks - not in the context of this article.
Last edited by Toots on Wed Oct 16, 2013 11:05 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Debbie Hepplewhite
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Re: Feedback on Phonic Check

Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Wed Oct 16, 2013 11:01 am

I'm writing this in great haste and as a knee-jerk question.

Do we know what prior experience the subjects of the studies had received on which Share and Ehri noted their observations and drew their conclusions?

I really don't have to time to find and read up on these papers myself right now.

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Re: Feedback on Phonic Check

Post by chew8 » Wed Oct 16, 2013 11:30 am

A quick response to the following:
Toots wrote:In your original reply to me on this thread you wrote: " There is evidence that a synthetic phonics start leads not only to the ability to sound words out phonically but also to the ability to read unfamiliar words by analogy with familiar words and to recognise words apparently as wholes" and referred me to the Ehri article. I think that your present posting shows that you acknowledge that this article does not support your assertion.
I feel, Toots, that you persistently overlook the fact that in that original reply of mine, what I put immediately after the sentence which you quote ('There is evidence..') was a reference to research by Johnston and Watson, including a quotation. It is that research which I regard as most directly providing the sort of evidence that I have in mind. The Ehri link was secondary, and I gave it only because of Ehri's interest in the development of 'sight'-word reading.

Jenny C.

Toots

Re: Feedback on Phonic Check

Post by Toots » Wed Oct 16, 2013 11:41 am

No, I haven't overlooked that. I assumed that both references would support your position and read the one I could get my hands on. I was not about to argue about the Johnston and Watson quote without reading where it came from. The Ehri was more accessible and I could read the whole thing. You wrote:

"Most proficient adult readers probably feel as you do, Toots, but what we are concerned with is the question of how best to get young children to this point. There is evidence that a synthetic phonics start leads not only to the ability to sound words out phonically but also to the ability to read unfamiliar words by analogy with familiar words and to recognise words apparently as wholes:

Johnston and Watson, for example, wrote:
Synthetic phonics-taught children read irregular words better than the other two groups, indicating better development of the recognition of words by sight. They were also the only group to be able to read by analogy (Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 17, 2004)

See also the following, by Ehri:

http://www.wce.wwu.edu/Depts/SPED/Forms ... arning.pdf"



Are you surprised that I thought the Ehri article would support your contention about the synthetic phonics start?

Are you surprised that once I got my teeth into it I posted my thoughts on the forum?

Are you surprised that I treat all statements about an evidence-base for SP with scepticism?

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Re: Feedback on Phonic Check

Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Wed Oct 16, 2013 1:20 pm

No - not surprised because you are persistent and vociferous with your comments - and anyone's replies to various issues you bring up both here and on other forums make no difference to you.

What you are really missing is the evidence in its entirety - the commonalities of findings through looking at historic and more recent research and leading-edge practice.

What Professor Diane McGuinness did was look at those practices in common across studies and one always has to research the research to understand the understanding of the researchers who make their observations and to understand the realities in the classroom.

You did not appear to acknowledge, that I noticed, my comments about Ehri's statements (said to everyone as part of her talk) during the 2003 DfES phonics seminar about the worrying 'guessing habits' of children from multi-cueing. Perhaps you missed my posting or perhaps you were only focused on the discussion with Jenny re digging deep into the exact wording? Perhaps it did not suit you to hear that Ehri brought up the issue of children's guessing habits personally?

When you look at the various phonics programmes, resource designs and specific guidance, for example, in the ESPO match funded catalogue, they are not all the same, they do have differences.

But what they have are commonalities, features which we all understand are evident from the breadth and depth of research and classroom findings - and common sense and our experiences.

Ehri, Share, Perfetti, Stanovich and so on - are all reputable researchers who have contributed a huge amount to our understanding of reading instruction - alongside our own experiences and observations.

You are sharing a forum with people with an enormous range of teaching experiences and life experiences with learners of every description in classes, tutoring, our own children and grandchildren, children who are gifted, children with learning difficulties, adults with learning difficulties and so on.

What you seem to miss in your passion to get to some kind of truth of the matter is that we are all extremely satisfied and happy that we are basing our understanding and practices on a very good look at the research in depth and breadth, alongside our personal experiences - and we hugely share the same conclusions.

Maybe (and you may not even have considered this possibility) we may have even more insight than various researchers, steeped as we are with real learners of all descriptions - some as individual learners, some in groups, some in whole classes of a whole range of abilities and home experiences.

No-one denies that learners are different from one another, both in terms of their genetics and their socio-economic circumstances - but they all need to learn the alphabetic code to develop their full potential. Whether they are left to 'ferret it out' as Sir Jim Rose said in his landmark report, or whether they are taught explicitly.

As teachers and parents, then, why would we not want to teach the alphabetic code explicitly? And why would we want to tell children to guess words which, at best, might get them through the book but not much more than that?

Yes, in 'phonics' there are many possibilities for units of sound which are different sizes and even having taught in units of sound based on the phoneme (the smallest sensible unit of sound to teach linked to the letters and letter groups), the chunking of words for reading and spelling does not become an issue over time.

But to teach children in huge numbers of units of sound which give contradictory messages does not make sense because of the maths and because of the inconsistencies.

So, we're talking about not only what readers may 'do' as individuals, but actually what we need to teach as teachers on that journey.

The beauty of our studies and experiences is the confidence we can bring to the table shared in common with one another - despite differences within research descriptions, resources, programmes and practices.

We look at the minutiae and we look at the big picture.

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