Nowadays, when orders are issued by our educational masters, we know better than to question them. Ours is not to reason why, but to jump to it. But which way do we jump when the orders contradict one another?
Jim Rose, the Office for Standards in Education's director of inspection, has recently re-stated OFSTED's basic directive on reading: "Good teaching of reading has at its core the teaching of phonic knowledge and skill." (Letters, TES, November 8). But now the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority, in its analysis of the national curriculum tests, declares that "spelling is held back by an over-emphasis on phonics" (TES, November 22).
What's all this, then? Are our educational masters having an argument? Or are they telling us that good teaching of reading is bad teaching of spelling? And, presumably, vice versa? What if we teach both well? Will we cancel ourselves out?
We must obey, but which master?
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