100 education and teaching students learnt the importance of phonics with leading literacy educator David Hornsby.
The Teaching Phonics in Context workshop explored how crucial phonics are to children’s learning processes, while demonstrating how being taught through authentic literature lead to improved student outcomes.
As pre-service teachers, RMIT Bachelor of Education and Master of Teaching Practice (Primary Education) students had the opportunity to use this emerging research to inform their teaching habits and become knowledgeable advocates for literacy.
David Hornsby, who has worked in education for 51 years, presented the workshop, offering advice on effective phonics teaching methods in a way that genuinely improved student understanding.
Third-year Bachelor of Education (Primary) student Kathryn O’Donnell said the workshop made her feel more optimistic about the future of her career.
“I feel more confident in knowing what to do in the classroom and I feel like I am better equipped with a lot of resources that will assist in the classroom that I had no idea about before,” she said.
“I will be able to have a discussion about phonics programs and be an advocate within a school for phonics with this knowledge.”
Hornsby’s reputation as a respected education consultant also made him an ideal workshop host, and O’Donnell said he held a wealth of information and kept students “highly engaged”.
“He is very good at explaining things in ways that everyone can understand, as well as making everyone feel like they are involved and contributing to the workshop.”
For RMIT students, this was an exclusive chance to get personalised guidance from a successful figure in the education sector.
Many students felt “inspired” and “invigorated” following the workshop, and O’Donnell described it as a “priceless experience” for all attendees.
“The fact that we were able to have this opportunity as students for free was absolutely amazing,” she said.
“Being able to have a certificate saying that I have been present at a David Hornsby workshop is giving me a competitive edge.”
Hornsby’s workshop followed an announcement by the federal government earlier this year, declaring the possible introduction of a compulsory phonics test for year one primary school students.
Story: Jennifer Park