chapter  1
6 Pages

Spelling: current issues and perspectives

WithPeter Westwood

The purpose of learning to spell is so that writing may become easier, more fluent, more expressive, and more easily read and understood by others. In precisely the same way that the teaching of grammar in schools ‘incites an enormous amount of active and sharp debate’, so too the teaching of spelling is an issue that arouses strong emotions in both parents and teachers. One viewpoint is represented by those educators who argue that when students write, the ideas they attempt to convey and the quality of the language they use are far more important considerations than any accuracy in spelling. An alternative viewpoint considers that learning to spell accurately is extremely important and that direct teaching from an early stage is necessary in order to help students master spelling principles. The whole language approach to spelling appears to be an excellent way to individualise instruction; but in practice it is an extremely difficult approach to implement.