Unspeakable Acts, Unnatural Practices: Flaws and Fallacies in

Unspeakable Acts, Unnatural Practices: Flaws and Fallacies in "Scientific" Reading Instruction / Edition 1

by Frank Smith
     
 

ISBN-10: 0325006199

ISBN-13: 9780325006192

Pub. Date: 08/04/2003

Publisher: Heinemann

At last, noted language researcher and educator Frank Smith weighs in! Using his razor-sharp analytical skills in linguistics and intimate understanding of professional teaching, Smith dismantles the shoddy science undergirding direct, intensive, and early phonics training. His book title is to be taken literally. The very reading instruction that claims to be

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Overview

At last, noted language researcher and educator Frank Smith weighs in! Using his razor-sharp analytical skills in linguistics and intimate understanding of professional teaching, Smith dismantles the shoddy science undergirding direct, intensive, and early phonics training. His book title is to be taken literally. The very reading instruction that claims to be "scientific," "research based," and "evidence based"-imposed on teachers and enforced through innumerable mandated tests-is founded on activities that are unspeakable and practices that are unnatural. The mandated approach to language teaching is, in fact, linguistically impossible, as Smith proves.

Developed from years of research and multiple work sessions with groups of teachers, each of Smith's essays in this book helps teachers understand the nature of thinking, learning, and reading. The essays also address the problems arising from pressure on teachers to adopt dubious practices that ignore their own judgment and experience. Smith acknowledges that reading is not the only area of education where unspeakable acts and unnatural practices abound. He devotes two essays to the teaching of mathematics and to the use of technology for good or ill in teaching.

Smith counters the pseudoscience we've seen of late with impeccable logic, clarity, and wit. When instruction is predicated on the idea that children learn complex skills by being taught parts of them that they can somehow integrate . . . when children are required to read or listen to nonsensical material and then engage in meaningless activities . . .when imagination, identification, and personal relationships-the soul of the classroom-are given short shrift . . . the consequences are intellectually stifling, as Smith so cogently shows. At the end of his book he offers a challenge and a plea-to keep the human heart of education beating no matter how heartless the environment in which we live, teach, and learn.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780325006192
Publisher:
Heinemann
Publication date:
08/04/2003
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
112
Product dimensions:
6.03(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.27(d)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

Table of Contents

Preface
1Why Reading Is Natural1
2Making a Mystery out of a Marvel14
3Clarifying Some Phon-ey Words22
4How Phonics Can Become an Educational Hazard26
5The Just So Story - Obvious but False40
6A Federal Fetish45
7So How Do You Identify a New Word?53
8Just a Matter of Time59
9Going Bananas With Mathematics69
10When Irresistible Technology Meets Irreplaceable Teachers81
References96
Author Index101
Subject Index102
About the Author104

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