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What Is Taught in an MSLE Teacher Training ?
The content includes phonology and phonological awareness; sound-symbol association; syllable instruction; morphology; syntax; and semantics. The method of instruction includes techniques that are simultaneous and multisensory (VAKT); systematic and cumulative; directly taught; diagnostically taught; synthetic and analytic in principle.
Let’s take a look at the content piece, and what the words mean.
- Phonology and Phonological Awareness: this means the study of sounds. A phoneme is the smallest unit of sound in a language; to understand the internal lingustic structure of words one has to be able to distinguish these discrete pieces.
- Sound-Symbol Association: this is the understanding that arbitrary marks on a page stand for particular sounds in a language.
- Syllable Instruction: a syllable is a single burst of phonemes which must include one – but only one – vowel sound. In English there are six kinds of written syllables (closed, open, vowel-consonant-E, r-controlled, diphthong — aka “vowel team”, and consonant -LE).
- Morphology: a morpheme is the smallest unit of meaning in a language. Any suffix or prefix is a morpheme, carrying its own peculiar meaning. So is a base word. So is a word root. So are common final syllables such as -tion and -ence.
- Syntax: this is the set of principles that dictate the sequence of words in a sentence a well as their function. Grammar, sentence variation and the mechanics of language are syntactical elements.
- Semantics: the aspect of language that concerns itself with meaning. Since comprehension is the goal of literacy, semantic information is included at every level of a lesson from the very beginning.
And now the method elements.
- Simultaneous, Multisensory (VAKT): this teaching uses all available sensory pathways – visual, auditory, and kinesthetic-tactile; all are employed together to enhance memory and learning.
- Systematic and Cumulative: teaching material must be organized to follow the natural order of language, beginning with the easiest and progressing methodically to subsequent elements. Learning builds from simple to complex, never skipping steps.
- Direct Instruction: instructors never assume something will be inferred. Every element is presented directly, and involves continuous student-teacher interaction.
- Diagnostic teaching: every instructional session is in a sense an assessment, and based on the daily assessment of a student’s needs, the teacher knows what to prescribe for the following lesson.
- Synthetic and Analytic Instruction: teachers show how to bring the elements of language together to form a meaningful whole (synthetic – bringing together) as well as separately presenting the whole and showing how to break it into its parts (analytic – taking apart). This is “critical thinking”.
sole source for this posting is a “Perspectives” article from Fall 2006 by JS Pickering and VG Tucker
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