IN the recent Pacific Education Conference (PEC) held in Majuro, on 28th -31st July 2015, Christopher Jolly highlighted the importance of our children’s basic learning from primary to secondary Education level .
To meet children’s need, his team developed the Jolly phonic programme.
The Jolly Phonic programme is a multi-sensory, active and specifically designed for young children at the age of 4-7 years.
It is a synthetic programme designed to teach children to read and write.
Children learn the 42 letter sounds of the English language, rather than the 26 letter of the alphabets.
That is because learning to read and write in English is complicated as there are more than 42 sounds, but only 26 letters with which to write them.
This means that sometimes two letters are put together to make a new sound which is quite complicated for some children.
Based on statistic and research, Jolly phonics programme has proved to be essentially and successfully solved this digraph.
There are lot more to tell you about jolly Phonics but basically, it teaches the five key skills for reading and writing.
These skills form foundation that children build on with each year of grammar teaching.
The five skills are, learning the letter sounds, learning letter formation, blending, identifying the sounds in the words and learning tricky words.
These basic skills are all taught at the same time throughout the programme.
Historically, Jolly Learning founded in 1977 and after many years of teaching the above methods, a couples of co-authors and Christopher Jolly compiled The Phonics Handbook which was published in 1992.
Since then, the range of products has been developed and Jolly Phonics has now been used in over 100 countries, such as Africa, Australia, East Asia, PNG, New Zealand, Europe, India, Middle east, Japan, USA, UK and few other Pacific countries.
Interestingly, government schools, private schools in many countries have adopted it as government policy and most of the school administrators and teachers have responded positively of the outcomes.
Many teachers have commented that those students who were previously demonstrating difficulty in reading and writing had significant improvements in abilities.
By the end of the year, their teachers believed these children were now a year ahead of where they would have been without the change in methods.
This was confirmed by a standardized reading test.
During the conference, it was fortunate to converse with Christopher Jolly, the publisher and the managing director of the Jolly learning Ltd in London, UK.
He is truly a dedicated and a resourceful person that wants to assist our children for the next generation.
He stated with much assurance that if he has given the opportunity from the Ministry of Education in Solomon Islands as well as few others who have known him from the Curriculum development office in Honiara, he would be very much appreciated to assist our local teachers.
He also stated that he is willing to provide resources (Materials) for pilot trials of the programme, assessment and provide training for our local primary teachers in the years to come.
In our country today, many teachers can diagnose the intellectual and learning inability of most students in their classrooms, they can tell what category the students are, and mostly they are at risk or below an average.
Majorities of students are slow learners while few are quick.
Some may be dropped out of the education system or suspended not because they are failures, or engaged in disciplinary issues, they are actually “shy” because some may have problems with their basic reading comprehension and writing, aggregate from their low grade level.
Some do not want to be picked on for answering questions or avoid other students from being giggling at them.
This will eventually put them off and you will see them at the back of the classroom or being discouraged.
That is the problem we experience now in the country or abroad.
As teachers, we do not want to see our children to feel that way, as much as possible, all children, either eligibility with disability; whether rich or poor have the right to education.
By learning essential phonic skills rapidly, your children gain confidence, becoming fluent readers who explore different text types and produce more independent writing earlier.
As your children continue to build on their knowledge they are able to move onto more creative writing tasks and develop their reading, spelling and comprehension abilities.
Therefore it is strongly recommended that Jolly Phonic programme could be one of our learning tools that can be integrated into the current curriculum for the primary education.
Some private schools may have done this programme .What about the public schools in the country?
Why don’t we try it, assess it and re-evaluate it?
This could be possible only if the Minister of Education, responsible authority and teachers see the value of it, and then they have the mandate to adopt this programme onto the national curriculum for primary education in the country.
By OLIVER MINT
Majuro, Marshall Islands
UK publisher offers to assist primary teachers and students here