Archive for June, 2013

Moving on

I haven’t been writing this blog regularly, I know, but I’ve developed a new interest in exploring the teaching of ESL through my other blog “teaching the esl learner”. So that’s where I will be more often for a while as I chart my teaching and learning experiences within the Intensive English Centre.


Decoding and Fluency

I’ve been prompted to write this entry after reading a letter to Shanahan at

The question asked if students who hadn’t achieved the standards for decoding and fluency should be retained even though all other achievement standards had been met.  Shanahan points out that recent results with Florida’s policy of retention have shown that this is the way to go. I look forward to his next blog post when he suggests why, despite this compelling evidence, it may not be the best policy.

My students are with me for a 10 week programme before they move up the ladder within the Intensive language centre. These students are moved on based on our assessment of their development and needs and many are able to move into the ESL programme or mainstream within 2 years. 

I’m close to the end of the 10 week programme now and have 3 students have developed remarkedly well in all areas except their decoding skills. I do not think they should remain another term with me just for this, but I am conscious that the majority of students who leave my level have achieved a very good standard of decoding and fluency skills. I agree with the evidence that shows how crucial the early acquisition of decoding skills is, but how does it weigh against all other achievements?