A Case Study.
Bella – Aged 10
One of the most difficult things I ever had to do as a teacher was to grade one of my most able writers as working below the expected level in writing!
Why did you do that? I hear you ask……… In 2014, with the introduction of the new curriculum, a child had to be working at the ‘expected level’ in all areas of writing – including spelling – to be awarded the ‘expected’ level. This has now changed but those children went into secondary school labelled as below average when, in truth, many of them were very able writers. One of these was Bella. She suffered from Dyslexia and writing was a difficult and arduous process. She worked so hard but however much effort she put into her writing, it was not neatly written and her spelling was weak. In this instance, I got her to work on the computer so that she could edit her work afterwards and end up with a piece of work that looked great in terms of spelling as well as being a fantastic piece of writing in terms of a content. This revolutionised Bella’s view of herself as a writer. Before this, she had judged her ability as a writer but the level of her spelling but now she was able to focus on the content of her work and see the spelling as a separate entity. As her confidence in her own abilities grew so did her self esteem and this had a positive impact on her learning in other areas. Spelling is just one aspect of literacy. Yes, it is important but not at the expense of creativity and the love of language.