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Group Proposes Synthetic Phonics As Panacea To English Language Literacy, Proficiency


STRIVING to achieve English Language literacy and proficiency among children, the Institute of Learning and Skill Development Limited (ILSD), a Non Governmental Organisation in conjunction with Adeyemi College of Education (ACE), Ondo, has identified synthetic phonics as a better way to teach language beginners.

This was made known by ILSD in a 2-Day Synthetic Phonics Capacity Building Training organised for 50 participants, who are mainly ACE senior lecturers from Faculties of Languages and Education.

Declaring the training open, the Provost, Prof. Olukoya Ogen, said, “the capacity building training is a new area of research, which scholars, especially language teachers can utilise and impact positively on the society when it comes to mass literacy and literacy of Nigerian kids.
“It is all about bringing our culture into developing a reading culture for our children and make the learning of English Language easier for them as a second language,” said.

The Facilitator, Dr. Olubusola Eshiet, who is also the Chief Responsibility Officer of ISLD lamented that among the young people, the standard of reading, writing and comprehension in English Language has deteriorated so much thus affecting the quality of the certificates obtainable from Nigerian colleges and universities.
“I found out that the major obstacle to acquiring literacy skills is the inability to read properly in the language of instruction (English). The traditional rote learning ‘cram and chant’ method of teaching beginners how to read has contributed much to this deficiency,” she added.

Eishet proffered ‘Synthetic Phonics as solution. According to her synthetic phonics has a record of success in getting readers to read and write within a very short period.

She explained that the phonics method focuses on teaching of sound-letter correspondences, is not a new method, it has been in existence since the 19th century.
“The method works by rapidly teaching the pupils, starting with the smallest units of speech, teaching them the sounds and building up bigger units by blending the sounds together. It is very much like the way we learnt to read our mother tongue. It is fun. The teachers love it, the pupils too love it; the teachers are playing with the pupils and the pupils are learning,” she said.

Eishet disclosed that ISLD international partner, Jolly Learning UK, has provided N150, 000 worth of books to facilitate literacy in pupils in the primary one and two grades.

The ISLD boss mentioned that the training would empower the language teachers on how to easily teach beginners without stress.

She said ISLD has partnered Ondo State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) to train 1,400 primary school languages and health teachers, 80 officials of SUBEB and local government secretaries on how to systematically use sounds to facilitate and monitor literacy in the pupils, whose achievements does not only border on languages, but also encompasses all human endeavours.
“The reason we are involving Adeyemi College of Education is to help in this monitoring exercise. The academics that are trained can also go into the field, see how the teachers are doing, mentor and monitor them. They also check on the implementation.”

Dr. Clinton Adebiyi, the Laboratory Coordinator of ACE, affirmed that it is a new approach to teaching languages at the primary school level and for beginners based on ‘experiential approach’ to teaching that hinges on the ‘theory of constructivism.’

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