We’re all happy its Friday but we’re also SO GUTTED that today is the last day of extracts from Carol Hayes‘ new book.
We’ve saved the best for last so enjoy!
DEVELOPING CRITICAL THINKING
When you are reading critically it is important to distinguish whether what the writer is saying is fact or opinion. Sometimes this is hard to ascertain but consider the following and try to decide whether it is fact or opinion.
This is more difficult and could fall into both camps, as it depends upon your definition of the word ‘good’in this context. If you are saying that Letters and Sounds receive Government support as a ‘good’ way to teach reading, this may well be fact. However if you are saying that most teachers consider it to be good for their children, this is opinion.
You can see from this that critical reading requires a different approach to that of reading a novel or a magazine. You need to actively engage with the text in a sustained manner, to learn from it rather than simply be entertained by it.
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In this lovely snippet, the text discusses the mechanics of the hearing process. Enjoy and please email with feedback!
Do we acquire language through the eye or the ear?
When you listen to someone speaking, you are not only taking in information from your hearing and auditory processing, but you are also watching them, their physical gestures and mouth movements. Without this capacity to combine the visual sense with the auditory, you would be limiting your ability to understand the information from the receptive language. This combining of information across the senses is called ‘intermodal perception’ or ‘intermodal co-ordination’. One example of this is your ability to understand who is speaking when you hear spoken language.
Most humans are much slower than a computer at numerical calculation or recalling numbers or facts, but humans far surpass computers at language related tasks. Pinker (1994) suggested that the ear, as miraculous as it is, acts like an ‘information bottleneck’ constricting the hearing process. In the 1940s engineers attempted to produce a reading machine for blind and partially sighted people, but discovered that merely isolating the phonemes in words and then sticking them back together again in an infinite number of ways to form words, was completely useless. As real speech is understandable at between 10-50 phonemes a second, this showed that it was not possible for you to ‘read’ speech in this way, at approximately three phonemes a second, (approximately the same speed as a ship’s radio officer ‘reading’ Morse code). To illustrate this, when we hear the tick of a clock we hear each individual sound, if this were speeded up to 20-30 ticks per second it would sound to the human ear, as a continuous sound, as the spaces between the ticks would be indistinguishable from each other.
Speech is a river of breath bent into hisses and hums by the soft flesh of the mouth and throat.
– (Pinker, 1994, p 163)
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Hello everyone. We have decided to do yet another week of extracts from Carol Hayes book ‘Language, Literacy & Communication‘. This book has received of positive feedback and is commonly credited with being accessible, interesting and necessary, so we thought WHY NOT SHARE a few snippets with our followers!
“I really do like the way that key ideas are explained in an accessible way, while drawing on the research literature. There are also some useful case studies/observation material which could be used.”
To begin the week, we have an entry from Carol Hayes the author.
There are of course, many books written about language development and sometimes students complain that there are too many and that they are dealing with an overload of information. This book however, is written to help to guide students through this and to point them in the direction in which their research can take, by breaking the area down into manageable “chunks” and then drawing these together into an understanding of the holistic and political nature of language development.
Learning more than one language is of particular Importance, in particular to the children of Wales, where a culture of bilingualism has been enshrined in the Early Years Foundation Phase. Students in the Principality often complain that appropriate texts to accompany their courses do not directly refer to education through the medium of Welsh. This book tries to address their particular concerns and integrates this with a general discussion of bilingual and multilingual learners.
Critical thinking is vital to students in higher education and is certainly the difference between a pass and a first class degree or post graduate acceptance. Yet this is an area that students struggle with and tutors find hard to teach. I frequently hear tutors bemoaning their student’s lack of ability to move beyond the descriptive stages. One intention of writing this book was to offer carefully structured activities to guide readers through this complex area of academic development and encourage them to use their practice knowledge to relate theory to practice. These pedagogical features within the book help the reader to go beyond using the text as a ‘gospel’ of information and encourage them to question the unquestionable, thereby enhancing their capacity for critical thinking through a subject specific framework.
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We have a pretty morbid extract today, (sorry folks), on child death. A very interesting read so take a look.
Note: She is commenting on studies of child death enquiries discussed on previous pages.
As I have read these, and many other reviews I was struck by the reliance on how parents presented and on what they told practitioners, in contrast to the limited attention paid to listening to children, observing and understanding their lived experience. The impact of scepticism about the competence of children is illustrated in an analysis of some 45 child abuse inquiry reports between 1973-1994 undertaken by Munro (1999: 752). She found that in the ten cases where communication with children was considered, what children said was listened to when it corresponded with the social worker’s existing view and ignored when it did not. Hence, in three cases where the children said they were abused and it was true, they were not believed. This does suggest that careful thought needs to be given to perceptions of children and the value, or lack of value, that we accord to what they say, what they do and to time spent being with them.
What also emerges is that the reasons why the parents and carers of these children have killed them are inevitably complex and whilst a better understanding of the impact of our perceptions of children should be very helpful, it is clearly not the only reason for the persistence of the difficulties in really seeing and hearing children. It does however provide the context that frames individual practitioners thinking. So next, we will begin to consider issues that emerge at a personal level that may contribute to these difficulties.
To have a look at these case studies yourself, see here. Why not formulate your own opinions and contact us with feedback?
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