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Improving language and literacy 'starts with teacher training'

16/11/2012 Joanna
Effective training for teachers, including newly-qualified professionals looking for their first teaching jobs, is crucial to improving early language and literacy standards, according to a new review.

The research, by Ofsted, suggests that adequate knowledge of teaching reading and writing skills is particularly crucial for educators at Early Years Foundation Stage, as well as Key Stages 1 and 2.

In order to evaluate current teacher training standards, inspectors followed 44 trainees from their final training placement to the first and second terms of their first post.

They found that initial teacher education programmes played a fundamental role in ensuring that every trainee had a proper understanding of how children develop language and literacy.

Nearly all of the 44 new teachers were found to be teaching at a satisfactory or better level by their spring term, although 14 of the sample were adjudged not to have received sufficiently in-depth training when it came to assessing pupils' knowledge of language and literacy and applying this information to their lesson plans.

The vast majority had been given a solid start to understanding how to teach phonics in an effective manner, even if nearly half of the trainees did not have an adequate grasp of how learning at each age group related to children's previous language and literacy learning.

"In the best initial teacher education programmes, trainees developed a good understanding of how language skills underpin literacy, and how the development of phonic skills relates to reading and writing across the age groups from the Early Years Foundation Stage to Year 6 and beyond," said Ofsted.

"The most successful training and induction occurred in schools where there was a whole-school focus on improving the teaching and learning of language and literacy."

Although no guarantee, the survey indicated that an initial degree in English and other language-based subjects tended to correlate with a stronger foundation of understanding among trainees for teaching language.

Posted by Harriet McGowanADNFCR-2164-ID-801489408-ADNFCR
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