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Learning to spell: An examination of Year 4 teachers’ beliefs, knowledge and practices for the teaching of spelling

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Kennedy, CE (2014) Learning to spell: An examination of Year 4 teachers’ beliefs, knowledge and practices for the teaching of spelling. Honours thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

This research explored the pedagogical practices of Year 4 teachers for the teaching of spelling. Currently, a gap exists between the recommended teaching pedagogies within the research literature, such as the development of four types of spelling knowledge (phonological, visual, morphemic and etymological), and the practices implemented by teachers within the classroom, particularly in the middle primary years. This study therefore aimed to understand this gap through two research questions, focusing on the types of pedagogical practices Year 4 teachers use to teach spelling, and if and how, Year 4 teachers incorporate the four types of spelling knowledge into their teaching practices.
Three Year 3/4 teachers from a Catholic school in Tasmania were selected as participants. The research involved a mixed-method approach for data collection, involving the observation of three spelling lessons and a focus-group interview. The qualitative data were analysed using thematic analysis, with three key themes revealed. The results found that the participants predominantly used traditional teaching approaches that implied emphasis on rote learning and memorisation. In addition, evidence of a significant absence of the four types of spelling knowledge was found within the participants’ pedagogical practices, with etymological knowledge in particular virtually non-existent within the teaching of spelling in Year 4.
The study concludes that more attention must be given to the teaching of spelling in the middle primary years. Both pre-service and in-service education needs to provide teachers with instruction on up-to-date pedagogical practices, particularly regarding the four types of spelling knowledge, in order to give students the greatest opportunities to become successful spellers.

Item Type: Thesis (Honours)
Keywords: literacy, spelling, phonological knowledge, visual knowledge, morphemic knowledge, etymological knowledge, pedagogy, curriculum
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2014 the Author

Date Deposited: 09 Dec 2014 05:44
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2016 05:52
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