Common themes have emerged across the programme, such as the fundamental problems caused by low motivation and disengagement in learners who have experienced repeated cycles of failure in English, and the positive outcomes when these learners experience success in their efforts.
For example, in the post-16 phonics projects there are frequent references to turning failure into progress – e.g., the motor vehicle apprentice who spells “diaphragm” as “diafram” has 5 of the 7 graphemes correct. For demotivated learners, teachers recognised that some impact could be detected when learners began actively engaging (rather than passively complying) with activities, showing curiosity and often pride in their newfound potential, no matter how limited.
Another theme was the importance of learning with colleagues from different subject backgrounds, for example, vocational tutors introduced to English activities were delighted to discover manageable approaches that had an immediate usefulness in workshops, and this was evident across colleges, adult learning providers and prisons (see Novus’ project, where Construction, Catering and Horticulture staff adopted Phonics approaches as a key to improving spelling and confidence of craft terminology). This practical cross-subject approach enhanced the value of English to other staff and was most evident in approaches to assessment for learning, reading, scaffolding and resilience activities.
I am sure there is much that you will enjoy reading and I now invite you to delve deeper into this important publication. Perhaps the reports here will inspire you to investigate and improve your own practices and certainly you will see that there is much to build on from this action research undertaken by the sector for the sector.