As I reflect on my initial blog entry (see Appendix A), I realise that my understanding of literacy has developed expeditiously, from a simplistic view into a multi-faceted outlook that underpins learning throughout the curriculum. Although I had indicated an awareness of the interrelationship of speaking and listening, reading and writing (SLWR), I did not conduct in depth analysis that considers these elements specifically with the process of learning. This essay will discuss how my understanding of SLWR has evolved, and in examining the links between lectures and workshops, further reading and school based training (SBT), will reflect on how this has impacted on my development as an English teacher.
Initially, I understood the value of speaking and listening (S&L) as a foundation to progress to reading and writing. However, during the module I have discovered the significance of S&L, as an integral part of child development and learning beyond the initial formation of words. S&L is crucial to language development, which impacts on cognitive, emotional and social development not only in childhood but also throughout life (Brien, 2012). Research indicates that employers’ expectations of literacy levels in school leavers are not being met (CBI, 2011), while the National Literacy Trust claims that ‘1 in 6 adults in the UK possess literacy skills below that expected of an 11 year old’ (Jama & Dugdale, 2012:2). Therefore, it is imperative that teachers support development effectively to ensure young people are equipped for life. Subsequently, I have begun to consider how research and statutory documents contribute to the acquisition of these valuable skills.
S&L features prominently throughout the Rose Review (2006) with a particular focus on the development of S&L skills during the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), promoting seamless progression to the National Framework. Considering the Rose Review’s recommendation for a greater emphasis on S&L it is concerning that it has been re-termed as ‘Spoken Language’ in the new National Curriculum (NC)(Dept. of Education, 2013:3), as without adequate emphasis on listening the development of this precious skill may be neglected. This realisation caused me to reflect on how I can facilitate the development and refinement of both S&L.
The use of systematic synthetic phonics, to support the development of S&L, has been widely supported (Joliffe & Waugh. 2012). Additionally, inclusion in the Teachers’ Standards (Dept. for Education. 2012) has highlighted the need for my own personal development in this area. Through study of the Letters and Sounds programme, I feel confident in my ability to provide opportunities for progression, for example in auditory discrimination by exploring different types of sound as prescribed in phase 1 (2011). Observing weaknesses during speaking and listening activities may indicate a special educational need such as a hearing impairment. Furthermore, supporting...