David, Please send this along - perhaps copy to Mr. Larsen too?
in a message dated 97-06-07 14:10:29 EDT, you write:
<< As I walked through a College of Education recently, I was interested to note that some of the strongest voices against phonics were in fact not opposed to using phonics. Instead their opposition was to an ideology. In practice, they would gladly use phonics together with a perspective from whole language.
Might there have been some straw men created on this list recently?
Phil Larson >>
Unfortunately, the straw men have been around a long time. I first learned about WLL from reading a 1992 dissertation (all 220 pages) from the USC education school. This document, which was self-reportedly a clone from a group of sixteen using the same methodolgy, was absolutely emphatic against the introduction of phonics - or grammar, spelling, or another other "consitituent part" of English. "Language must be kept whole" is vehemently stated - a theme which was developed for tens of pages. Its author actually demonstrated her dedication to this exclusionary principle by throwing all the grammar books belonging to the English department at a Southern California high school into the dumpster one summer.
If the "perspective from whole language" means to add some good children's literature to a sound, balanced, language arts program, I can't imagine anyone sensible opposing it. I'm heartened to hear of such sensibility coming from the halls of an education school. Please send them my compliments.