Educational Error and Parental Advice!
Our Readers' Opinions
April 3, 2020

Educational Error and Parental Advice!

EDITOR: Some educators are of the opinion that if a teacher reads the instructions and items of a test to students who cannot read well, the teacher is telling the students the answers. While I respect those educators’ opinions, is it really true to say that a teacher is telling the students the answers by reading instructions and test items? For example, a teacher says: “Underline the Noun(s) in this sentence.

‘The little girl walks slowly to school.’ “ Will the teacher reading the sentence cause the students to know that “girl”, and “school” are Nouns? What if the teacher had asked for the Verb in that same sentence, would the students know that “walks” is the Verb because the teacher read the sentence? Would the students know that “little” is the Adjective, and “slowly” is the Adverb in the sentence because the teacher merely read the sentence to struggling readers?

Hence, it is NOT correct for any educator to say that reading instructions and test items for students, is telling the students the answers. Some time ago, a Senior Education Officer (SEO) said at a Teachers’ Workshop that she has no problem with a teacher reading or helping struggling students to read test items, for the test is not testing reading ability/skills, but whatever knowledge and skills in that particular subject area.

The SEO said it is better to help the students with understanding the instructions and test items than to allow them to perform poorly on the paper, when they may have good knowledge of the subject tested.

However, if some educators want to say that they prefer the students try to read and understand on their own, I respect that and can possibly go along with such. But when the results of a test reveals below standard grades for students who are struggling readers, these educators must be willing to acknowledge that the tests may be showing up that the students did not understand the instructions and items, and not necessarily showing that the teacher did not teach the students properly.

Parents and guardians, I urge you to help your struggling children to learn to read well during this vacation and beyond. Search online for videos teaching Phonics and other helpful reading strategies. Help, or get help for your children to improve in any areas they may be weak in – Maths, Language Arts, or some other area. Doing so, you will be happy to see your children improve and do very well in the long run. 

A Concerned Teacher!