Phonics – once a might do, now a must do

10 August 2014
 
Minister for Education Adrian Piccoli today announced that providers of teacher education courses in NSW will risk losing their accreditation if they do not provide comprehensive instruction in phonics.
 
"Phonics is a key skill in the teaching of reading. We want to ensure it is treated as a ‘must do' in teacher education courses," Mr Piccoli said.
 
"The clear verdict of international and national research supports the teaching of phonics. I have been unapologetic in saying that we need high standards in education — and we have moved to lift those standards through our Great Teaching, Inspired Learning reforms."
 
President of the Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards (BOSTES) Tom Alegounarias said that training in phonics is a key skill for beginning teachers.
 
"The starting point is what is taught in teaching courses and our concern is that the teaching of phonics has been superficial in some teacher education courses," Mr Alegounarias said.
 
"Although most institutions offer phonics as part of their courses, not all beginning teachers are entering the classroom with explicit skills in phonics.
 
"In addition to ensuring new teachers can confidently and competently use phonics, BOSTES will:

  • produce online resources to support the teaching of phonics; and
  • provide professional development for existing teachers on the systematic and explicit teaching of phonics.

"BOSTES recognises that not all students will need the same level of phonics instruction — but the teacher will only know that if they have been taught to teach reading properly."

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