Phonics in the new National Curriculum for English: Pavlov’s dogs or Pavlov’s cats?
http://londoncentreforpedagogy.net/2014 ... lovs-cats/
With the advent of the new National Curriculum (2014) for English the sole method for developing word reading skills is systematic, synthetic phonics. To be clear, there is nothing wrong with synthetic phonics; and there is nothing wrong with teaching synthetic phonics in a systematic manner (why would you want to teach it unsystematically?).
However, there is something rather disturbing in how it is presented in the new curriculum. Basically, this states that those struggling with decoding in Year 2 should be provided with more phonics instruction, and if they are still struggling in lower Key Stage 2, they should be given even more phonics instruction, and if they are still struggling in upper Key Stage 2? Yes, even more phonics instruction.
This raises two important points. The first point is that the curriculum appears to acknowledge that some children are going to have difficulty with phonics, and this difficulty may last across the primary age phase. The curriculum itself implies therefore, that phonics is not going to work for all children.
The second point is a pedagogical one. If something is not working, and continues not to work, why would you continue with it? Isn’t it better to try something else?