The child’s view at the point of learning …

This video is an excerpt from a 4 day conference I recently attended in Melbourne. Let me say that I have never experienced a more generous after-conference access to resources and contacts. The other bonus was that both presenters (John Walker & Mary Gladstone) were practitioners themselves.

This video is a part of the conference that really impressed me, as it highlighted the child’s view at the point of learning – one step further than empathy? I don’t really have the words to describe it but I do believe that many highly effective teachers tap in on this deep understanding when introducing new concepts. John Walker is clearly one of them. Thank you John.

Further thanks to Mary who painted the picture of a classroom experience of the Sounds-Write programme.

And to Alison who made this video for us all to watch – as well as orchestrating the conference and ensuring it all ran smoothly.


6 thoughts on “The child’s view at the point of learning …

    1. Hi Jean,
      Yes, I do. The person I’m indebted to for giving me a much better understanding of ‘cognitive load theory’ is your very own Professor John Sweller, Emeritus Professor of Education at the University of New South Wales. His paper, ‘Human Cognitive Architecture’ is available as a free download here:
      I think that one of the problems for many children learning phonics is that many of the various programmes go too fast, thus favouring children who have lots of prior learning but giving insufficient time to those encountering phonics for the first time.
      Sweller’s (and his collaborators: Paul Kirschner and van Merrienboer) ideas fit very well with what we know about how we develop expertise, for which see The Cambridge Handbook of Expertise and Expert Performance.
      It’s fascinating stuff and has influenced enormously how we teach Sounds-Write.
      Anyway, I hope you’re well and thanks for following the Literacy Blog.

      1. Why in the video John, do you say “mmmaaa – t” and “sssaaa – t” as if there are only 2 sounds? I realise that you don’t want to say ‘muh’ and ‘suh’ but with your pronunciation it is hard to hear the ‘a’ sound. I cannot imagine this being acceptable in the UK?

        1. Let me first say that I am reluctant to approve this comment on the grounds that the commenter has failed to identify themselves. All I can suggest is that the quality of video sound is poor. I attended the conference and found no difficulty in clearly hearing all of the sounds in the words. I note that, to my dismay, there appears to be an element of point scoring and nit-picking within the phonics camp that is counterproductive. Ironically, the commenter’s failure to identify themselves has freed me to make this disappointing observation.


        2. I don’t mind answering this question, Jean.
          Hi Anon!
          I’m not saying ‘mmmmat’ as if it’s two sounds. I’m stretching out the whole word (without any pauses or breaks between sounds). This is because the exercise is one of segmenting. The child has to identify the first sound in ‘mat’. Stretching out the first sound in this way simply provides the scaffolding the child needs to support them. When they’ve identified the /m/ sound, we go on to the /a/, like this: ‘What’s the next sound you hear in ‘maaaaat’?’ Again, stretching out the sound so that it can be identified. Finally, when this has been accomplished, we ask the child to identify the final sound /t/, by saying, What’s the last sound in ‘mat’?’ And here we emphasis the /t/ by saying it precisely but a little louder.
          Here’s a more complete explanation (one of many!) I wrote some time ago on my blog:
          I hope this answers your question.
          Best, John

  1. Hi Jean and many thanks for posting this and for your support throughout the course. I do very much like your encapsulation ‘the child’s view at the point of learning’ as a description of what’s going on in the video. Smashing! I shall use it on future trainings.
    Best regards,

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