Susan Godsland - sleuth extraordinaire!

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Susan Godsland - sleuth extraordinaire!

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Wed Jul 11, 2018 10:51 pm

IFERI committee member, Susan Godsland, writes detailed commentaries on the state of play of debate and events in the field of 'reading wars' and 'reading instruction'.

She has been commended for her site through which she works hard to keep on top of research findings and developments internationally.

I myself have called upon her services of broad and deep knowledge, and recollection, more times than I can recount. I am personally extremely grateful to Susan's friendship and support over many years - I have called upon her sleuthing expertise to short-cut me to links, articles, significant postings, research references and goodness knows what else.

Here is Susan's latest updated page entitled 'Ideology and Reading' as she addresses, through full references, the to-ing and fro-ing of the 'reading wars' that seemingly never end:

Ideology and Reading

Many educational academics remain vehemently opposed to synthetic phonics (Wyse. Rose Tinted Spectacles ppt). Even today they campaign to overturn the 2006 Rose report's conclusions and recommendations (Wyse/Styles.Editorial), and every course of action taken by every colour of government following the Rose report, each designed to increase the take-up of teaching synthetic phonics directly, systematically and as the sole decoding method.

Education consultant John Bald quotes Andrew Lambirth, professor of education and author of, 'Literacy on the Left: reform and revolution', as saying that the synthetic phonics method was ''designed to restrict and control children in the interests of the owners of the means of production''.

In their book 'Thinking Reading', James and Dianne Murphy describe how ''The political tenets of whole language were inextricably grafted into its methodology... emotive arguments about freedom from authority, autonomy of the individual and subjective construction of reality'' (p34)

''The idea that different teaching methods are political is faintly absurd. And yet it is an idea that has taken quite a hold within education itself'' (Greg Ashman)

These same academics concede that using synthetic phonics ''can be extremely effective'' when used for teaching decoding in transparent languages (Wyse/Goswami p693) but, in their opinion, there is still ''not enough evidence'' that ''discretely taught (i.e. synthetic) phonics is superior to ''contextualised phonics'' for teaching decoding in English. Despite their strong ideological preference for contextualised phonics, over many decades ''they have failed to demonstrate that their preferred method yields as good or better results than a synthetic phonics programme. Their method seems to be to merely attack the Clackmannanshire study and thereby imply that the approach that they advocate is as good or better, without collecting any supportive data'' (Prof Johnston & Dr.Watson)

''Those who have an opposing view [of synthetic phonics] have yet to produce any data showing that their favoured approach produces greater long-term benefits'' (Prof.Rhona Johnston)

The academics opposed to synthetic phonics cherry-picked two particular publications, from the extensive range of evidence that the Rose report team considered, to back their view. They singled out the American National Reading Panel (NRP) report and the DCSF commissioned 2006 Torgerson, Brooks and Hall phonics meta-analysis (Wyse/Goswami p693) because these publications tied in with their ideology, having as their conclusion that there was no strong evidence, ''that any one form of systematic phonics is more effective than another''.
The Torgerson et al meta-analysis carried little weight with the Rose report team. The reasons for this are explained in a report by Parliament's all-party Committee on Science & Technology, produced after they had examined the evidence base of the Rose report -see paras.22,23,24: ... 00we24.htm

Susan Godsland, I am in awe of your work.

Do read the whole of this page at Susan's site.

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