Outstanding overview addresses nonsense in Davis's paper

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volunteer
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Re: Outstanding overview addresses nonsense in Davis's paper

Post by volunteer » Thu Jan 23, 2014 11:10 am

I wish there was more prescription in how to teach several basic skills at primary level - not just early decoding. My children's maths teaching is awful.

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Debbie Hepplewhite
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Re: Outstanding overview addresses nonsense in Davis's paper

Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Thu Jan 23, 2014 12:07 pm

With a work force most of whom have been brain-washed into using ineffective methods and have never received the sort of basic scientific training that would enable them to distinguish good research from bad, more prescription than is currently the case would be a very good idea.
Even with prescription - and the resources for teaching and learning - still teachers often 'do their own thing' or 'adapt according to their children' and actually undermine the best use of the resources and guidance. :neutral:

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Re: Outstanding overview addresses nonsense in Davis's paper

Post by chew8 » Thu Jan 23, 2014 2:18 pm

I agree with Debbie that many teachers are still doing their own thing – and this is not just our opinion as it's also confirmed by the first interim report on the Year 1 screening check from the National Foundation for Educational Research.

At the same time, however, what I’m seeing in my voluntary work at two schools is that children are resorting more automatically than in the past to sounding out and blending when they encounter unfamiliar words. Only this morning I have had a poor Y1 reader successfully decoding ‘talons’ and ‘nocturnal’ in a book about owls – he didn’t know what the words meant so of course I told him, but not until I had given him a big pat on the back for his decoding. What I’m seeing therefore makes me think that teachers have moved some way towards doing what the government wants but not all the way. In other words, they are putting more emphasis on a key feature of synthetic phonics (sounding out and blending as the first strategy for tackling unfamiliar words) but are not feeling forced to follow government recommendations/prescription slavishly.
Toots wrote:How does this escape criticisms of the research that has been used?
What I tried to point out in my last posting was that there were not only criticisms of the research but also criticisms of the criticisms. How would you escape those, Toots?

Jenny C.

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Re: Outstanding overview addresses nonsense in Davis's paper

Post by volunteer » Thu Jan 23, 2014 2:34 pm

Debbie Hepplewhite wrote:
With a work force most of whom have been brain-washed into using ineffective methods and have never received the sort of basic scientific training that would enable them to distinguish good research from bad, more prescription than is currently the case would be a very good idea.
Even with prescription - and the resources for teaching and learning - still teachers often 'do their own thing' or 'adapt according to their children' and actually undermine the best use of the resources and guidance. :neutral:

So true. Some teachers love prescribing ridiculous things unnecessarily too. (As an irrelevant aside - sorry - we have been given a £2.95 Schofield and Sims workbook as maths homework for the year, one page per week. But it's not starting in the right place in the scheme according to either commonsense or the Teacher Handbook from the scheme. They have invented their own test which, if you don't get 100% on in 10 minutes, means that you have to start at the beginning of book 2 whether or not it's useful practice for your child. Weird.)

Toots

Re: Outstanding overview addresses nonsense in Davis's paper

Post by Toots » Thu Jan 23, 2014 6:24 pm

chew8 wrote:I agree with Debbie that many teachers are still doing their own thing – and this is not just our opinion as it's also confirmed by the first interim report on the Year 1 screening check from the National Foundation for Educational Research.

At the same time, however, what I’m seeing in my voluntary work at two schools is that children are resorting more automatically than in the past to sounding out and blending when they encounter unfamiliar words. Only this morning I have had a poor Y1 reader successfully decoding ‘talons’ and ‘nocturnal’ in a book about owls – he didn’t know what the words meant so of course I told him, but not until I had given him a big pat on the back for his decoding. What I’m seeing therefore makes me think that teachers have moved some way towards doing what the government wants but not all the way. In other words, they are putting more emphasis on a key feature of synthetic phonics (sounding out and blending as the first strategy for tackling unfamiliar words) but are not feeling forced to follow government recommendations/prescription slavishly.
And, anecdotally, with your pupils the approach adopted by their teachers seems to be making a positive impact. Perhaps they have found a balance that is having good results with the children, falling short though it might be of government policy. Of course, if the pupils are being taught decoding more intensively they are likely to be better at decoding than previous cohorts, but that begs the question of whether any other element of reading has suffered. One would have to do an exhaustive study to identify all the factors involved. All that can be said is that whatever the teachers are doing seems to be good news re decoding for their pupils, but of course that is a positive which I am sure you are pleased about.
chew8 wrote:
Toots wrote:How does this escape criticisms of the research that has been used?
What I tried to point out in my last posting was that there were not only criticisms of the research but also criticisms of the criticisms. How would you escape those, Toots?
Yes, of course there are criticisms of the criticisms, and I wouldn't try to escape them. Why else do you think I carry on posting on here despite all the snide remarks and insinuations. I extract the criticisms from the haystack and address them. Then someone on here tries to come back with some criticism of something they think I have written and so it goes on. As regards the specific point about the Torgerson metastudy I am in fact very surprised that Clack experiment 2 made it into that study at all without someone picking up on its flaws as a piece of research that purports to compare SP with AP. But we've had that discussion. Let's not do it again.

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Re: Outstanding overview addresses nonsense in Davis's paper

Post by chew8 » Thu Jan 23, 2014 7:40 pm

Toots wrote:And, anecdotally, with your pupils the approach adopted by their teachers seems to be making a positive impact. Perhaps they have found a balance that is having good results with the children, falling short though it might be of government policy. Of course, if the pupils are being taught decoding more intensively they are likely to be better at decoding than previous cohorts, but that begs the question of whether any other element of reading has suffered. One would have to do an exhaustive study to identify all the factors involved. All that can be said is that whatever the teachers are doing seems to be good news re decoding for their pupils, but of course that is a positive which I am sure you are pleased about.
I should perhaps start with a reminder that one of the schools where I help is a junior school – its 90-strong Year 3 intake comes from several different infant schools, and in most cases I can judge the efficacy of those schools’ teaching of reading only by what I see the children doing in Y3. I do see signs that the children are resorting more automatically to decoding than previous cohorts, and I don’t see signs that other elements of reading have suffered. That other elements have not suffered is also suggested by the slight improvement in the national Key Stage 1 results in 2013 - those were the results of the first cohort to do the screening check in 2012.

Toots wrote:chew8 wrote:
Toots wrote:
How does this escape criticisms of the research that has been used?

What I tried to point out in my last posting was that there were not only criticisms of the research but also criticisms of the criticisms. How would you escape those, Toots?


Yes, of course there are criticisms of the criticisms, and I wouldn't try to escape them. Why else do you think I carry on posting on here despite all the snide remarks and insinuations. I extract the criticisms from the haystack and address them. Then someone on here tries to come back with some criticism of something they think I have written and so it goes on. As regards the specific point about the Torgerson metastudy I am in fact very surprised that Clack experiment 2 made it into that study at all without someone picking up on its flaws as a piece of research that purports to compare SP with AP. But we've had that discussion. Let's not do it again.
I don’t think that I myself have ever made snide remarks and insinuations.

Re. the Torgerson et al. metastudy: the fact that you are ‘very surprised that the Clack experiment 2 made it into that study at all without someone picking up on its flaws’ raises the question of whether you are a better judge than Torgerson et al. I don’t know the answer to that, but the fact is that Experiment 2 did make it into the meta-analysis, and that is something that needs to be reckoned with by anyone who takes that meta-analysis seriously. I would also want critics to reckon with the possibility that Johnston et al’s. criticism of Torgerson et al. is justified. My own view is that it is, but I’m not an expert.

Jenny C.

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Re: Outstanding overview addresses nonsense in Davis's paper

Post by geraldinecarter » Sun Jan 26, 2014 2:38 pm

Perhaps Professor Davis could look at Tower Hamlets and Newham with particular reference to the discrepancy between their results and the lowest performing London borough, Barking and Dagenham. It would also be exceedingly helpful if he would produce evidence of numbers of high level FSM schools with a more eclectic approach to early reading.

Also it is recommended that Professor Davis looks at the most successful group of Academies - ARK - where a rigorous synthetic phonics approach is followed. Without such comparison, we will continue to have circular discussions. A great deal of time is fruitlessly spent without specific evidence from those who do not believe in a synthetic phonics 'only' approach for early readers.

This is also a very perceptive blog on academic gobbledegook:

http://malingual.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11 ... x.html?m=1

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Re: Outstanding overview addresses nonsense in Davis's paper

Post by kenm » Mon Jan 27, 2014 11:08 am

geraldinecarter wrote:This is also a very perceptive blog on academic gobbledegook:

http://malingual.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11 ... x.html?m=1
The quote from Sokal's spoof is very clever, because whereas the sentences are meaningless, they contain short meaningful phrases.

Many with some knowledge of science and epistemology would have their suspicions raised by the mention of Derrida. I looked up the Einstein field equation in a Wikipedia article; it is nothing to do with mappings and Sokal misquotes it.
"... the innovator has as enemies all those who have done well under the old regime, and only lukewarm allies among those who may do well under the new." Niccolo Macchiavelli, "The Prince", Chapter 6

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Re: Outstanding overview addresses nonsense in Davis's paper

Post by geraldinecarter » Mon Jan 27, 2014 3:52 pm

I'm getting lost here, Ken. If Sopal was writing a spoof to make a (very serious) point, surely his misquoting is legitimate? It was up to whatever distinguished academic journal accepted the article for publication to realise that Sopal was talking poppycock...that's how I interpreted it.

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Re: Outstanding overview addresses nonsense in Davis's paper

Post by kenm » Mon Jan 27, 2014 8:54 pm

geraldinecarter wrote:I'm getting lost here, Ken. If Sopal was writing a spoof to make a (very serious) point, surely his misquoting is legitimate? It was up to whatever distinguished academic journal accepted the article for publication to realise that Sopal was talking poppycock...that's how I interpreted it.
Yes, Sokal was making an important point very cogently. What I am pointing out is that the editors who accepted his paper had not checked something that they could have easily found in a book on General Relativity. The combination of Einstein's name and Newton's Gravitational Constant points you at the relevant part of physics. If they couldn't work that out themselves, they should have consulted someone with a Physics A-level or equivalent. Sokal was making it easy for them.
"... the innovator has as enemies all those who have done well under the old regime, and only lukewarm allies among those who may do well under the new." Niccolo Macchiavelli, "The Prince", Chapter 6

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Re: Outstanding overview addresses nonsense in Davis's paper

Post by Sue Blackburn » Tue Jan 28, 2014 10:19 am

Sorry to ruin your day everyone - this is the main story on the BBC Education site -

Able readers damaged by phonics, academic says... http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-25917646

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Re: Outstanding overview addresses nonsense in Davis's paper

Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Tue Jan 28, 2014 11:58 am

http://news.tes.co.uk/b/news/2014/01/27 ... demic.aspx

Helen Ward (TES) phoned me up yesterday to see if I knew about Davis's paper.

I had lots to say (we talked for over forty minutes) but at least her quote is measured and not anti-phonics which has been known in the past! :???:

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Re: Outstanding overview addresses nonsense in Davis's paper

Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Tue Jan 28, 2014 12:59 pm

http://www.phonicsinternational.com/for ... .php?t=556

Now started a thread with my thoughts (or some of them) on the Davis paper - good to see on Twitter that other people see it for the nonsense it is.

The most astounding aspect of this issue is that Davis declined to visit a local school with good phonics teaching taking place - and yet one section of his paper reveals his lack of knowledge and understanding about content-rich, quality synthetic phonics and linguistic phonics teaching.

And does he really not realise that we are teaching phonics for spelling from the outset - and not just for reading - so how many early readers don't benefit from phonics for spelling? :roll:

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Re: Outstanding overview addresses nonsense in Davis's paper

Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Tue Jan 28, 2014 3:36 pm

http://news.tes.co.uk/b/opinion/2014/01 ... cs-39.aspx

Just been approached by BBC Radio 4 PM to discuss Davis's paper with Davis at 5.30pm today!

I welcome the opportunity and thanks to Nick Gibb and others for passing on my name!

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Re: Outstanding overview addresses nonsense in Davis's paper

Post by john walker » Tue Jan 28, 2014 3:53 pm

Great news, Debbie! :grin: I'll be tuning in.
I hope it goes well.
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