Traditional Teaching Spells Success in English

Daily Mail (London), November 21, 1997 | Go to article overview

Traditional Teaching Spells Success in English


By TONY HALPIN THE failure of trendy teaching methods was exposed yesterday by the results of the Government's summer literacy scheme.

Children who fell below the required reading standard after six years at primary school made dramatic improvements in a matter of weeks.

A third of those who took part boosted their reading ability by more than a year in just three weeks, a study concluded. Half made at least six months' progress in the same time.

More than 1,500 11-year-olds took part in the courses at 50 secondary schools.

Many teachers, who gave up part of their summer holidays for the programme, used traditional 'whole class' methods to improve reading skills.

School Standards Minister Stephen Byers hailed the success of the initiative. It had revealed a 'significant barrier to achieving steady progress in pupils' achievement', he said, and he would be asking the schools inspectorate, Ofsted, to investigate.

Nick Seaton, chairman of the Campaign for Real Education, said the scheme's success raised 'huge questions' about progressive teaching methods in many primary schools.

'If they don't change the way they are teaching children then they will fail pupils year after year,' he warned.

Dr John Marks, a former government advisor, said teachers were guilty of 'a form of child abuse' if they did not use the methods that worked.

Pupils on the literacy scheme were taught grammar and set targets for the number of books they had to read by the end of the course. …

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