Educational News, from Great Britain

I found this article from the BBC astonishing. Considering the sad state of affairs for so much of education in the US and in particular reading and writing, these plans sound almost revolutionary. Consider these excerpts”

There will also be a new focus on spelling and grammar.

The plans will be put out to public consultation later in the year, ahead of a scheduled introduction in 2014.

The proposals come amid concerns over a decline in pupils taking foreign languages . . .

Under Mr Gove’s plans, primary schools could offer lessons in Mandarin, Latin and Greek, as well as French, German and Spanish.

A systematic approach to the teaching of phonics – the sounds of letters and groups of letters – would be advocated to help pupils to become fluent readers and good spellers, it said.

However, he added that teachers should be given the “respect and trust for their experience and professionalism” to know how to teach these subjects.

“For example, we have to strike a balance between teaching phonics and reading for meaning and pleasure.”

The plans are expected to emphasise the importance of grammar, setting out exactly what children should be expected to be taught in each year of their primary schooling, as well as giving lists of words they should be able to spell.

Pupils would be read poems by their teachers, learn simple poems by heart and practise recitals from the age of five.

Meanwhile, “No Child Left Behind” has essentially gutted grammar, spelling and reading. Why? These are not priorities on the national tests. The Common Core, developed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is starting to asset itself into education in a bigger way as well. Can this be compared to the British plan? I have not delved into these to put my thoughts together on this. From what I understand, The Common Core has as its center a “more comprehensive set of tests to measure performance.” This sounds like more teaching to the test, funded by Microsoft. I’m not sure I’m happy about this.

British Schools to focus on grammar and languages


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