KSSR seems to be the 'talk of the nation' among educators and those directly involved in the education system in Malaysia for the past few months, and I am grateful to be one of the few hundred thousand people who are lucky enough to get an early (though not so early) glimpse of what it is all about. I am not going to write about KSSR in detail in this post, although I do plan to do so in my future posts. For now, I am just feeling the need to share something that I feel so strongly about, and have all the intention to delve into more deeply in the near future. This whole thing started during our session on Phonics this morning, when in the midst of the learning session the speaker, a lecturer from IPG, suddenly expressed her own long-held view on Phonics and its efficiency in the teaching of reading. To cut a long story short, I would say that this very experienced and respectable educator can be grouped together with those who are a little skeptical towards embracing Phonics as 'The Method' for teaching beginning reading. It is from her that I learn about the ongoing debate among educators, parents and experts on the best way to teach beginning reading. To be honest, before this I was completely clueless about it, let alone aware that there is indeed a debate going on. (My bad!)
I find this small piece of information intriguing and it has driven me to do a little bit of reading on the subject. In a way, I am glad, very glad indeed. It opens my eyes to see the teaching of reading in a much broader view and perspective and it truly enriches and enlightens me as a teacher. I have not, of course, conducted an in-depth study on the subject yet (though this might very possibly become my next 'big project' - kononnya lah!). But from the few readings that I have done, I learn that there are four main approaches to teaching beginning reading, and they are:
2. 'Look and Say' or 'Whole Language'
3. Language Experience
4. Context Support
(To read more, visit this: Four Reading Methods).
Though all four are valid methods and has proofs of success all over the world, it is interesting to note that 'controversies' do exist (!!! :-O), especially with regard to Method 1 and Method 2. Apparently, I am the last teacher on earth to be aware that such debate as 'Phonics vs. Whole Language' has existed since God-knows-when! (My bad!!! Again!!!). I would not want to write about it here, at least not now (it's 3.55 in the morning), but for those who are curious about it, I would recommend you to read what Wikipedia has to say about the two methods:
Phonics according to Wikipedia
Whole language according to Wikipedia
Opinions from educators and teachers are also worth looking at:
1. Halcyon House is a division of Educational Research Associates in the United States of America, a nonprofit research organization formed more than 30 years ago to help provide some information on the nation's educational system and issues related to it. This writing clearly expresses its view on the Phonics vs. Whole Language debate: Whole Language vs. Phonics
2. This is an interesting article by Dr Jon Reyhner of University of Northern Arizona that looks into each of these two methods of teaching reading from a psychological view point. Apparently, from the psychological perspective, the Whole Language vs. Phonics debate can also be viewed as the Constructivism vs. Behaviourism debate. Refreshing, isn't it? To read more: The Reading Wars
3. This particular site, Succeed to Read, is also worth visiting. Read its view on this whole 'Reading Wars' subject: Teach a Child to Read
There are, of course, many more excellent resources on this matter. All you have to do is do some Google search, and take it from there.
We talked about this matter over cold double cheese burger and soggy fries brought from town by my lovely roommate a few hours ago. After a few minutes of listening patiently to me blabbering away, Haniza finally asked me the inevitable question: "So do you consider yourself to be 'pro-Phonics', or 'anti-Phonics'?"
Hmm. That, my friend, is a question that I would love to answer. But not now. Not yet. In my next post, perhaps.
Till then. I have to catch some sleep.
Update: For continuation of this post, read Part 2 (click here).