[Spelling Progress Bulletin, Spring 1983, p1,12]
[Also on this page: Understanding the Basic Psychology of Learning, Chris Jolly letter.]
[Newell Tune: see Newsletter, Anthology, Bulletins.]

Newell W. Tune. In Memoriam.

Newell Tune passed away on July 21, 1983, following a long illness. His failing health greatly hampered his writing and editorial work during the past two years, but he still managed to publish SPB on a regular basis. What is most remarkable about this accomplishment is that Newell handled every detail of SPB alone, from managing the mailing list to setting the type for each issue. He devoted his life to spelling reform and to improving education in the English language, and will be greatly missed by his friends and colleagues.

Harvie Barnard.

Spelling Progress Bulletin to Change Hands

Despite the passing of Newell Tune, SPB will continue to be published. Newell's wife Irene, knowing she could not manage the publication alone, sought help from Dr. Emmett Betts. Dr. Betts, in turn, contacted Dr. Walter Barbe, the editor-in-chief of Highlights for Children, the most honored juvenile publication in the world. Dr. Barbe, who is one of America's foremost language arts educators, agreed to serve as editor of Spelling Progress Bulletin for one year, and has made arrangements for SPB to continue after that time. Through Dr. Barbe's efforts, SPB will acquire a new look, and beginning with the spring issue, will feature a dramatic new design that is consistent with the high quality of the manuscripts published in the journal. We hope that the new Spelling Progress Quarterly will be a journal of which Newell Tune would be proud, and that it will become an even more significant contribution to the literature in education.


[Spelling Progress Bulletin, Spring 1983, p12]

Mark your calendar.

Wednesday, May 9th, 1984

Special Interest Group 18 of the International Reading Association will meet during the annual convention of the IRA in Atlanta, Georgia. This SIG focuses on Orthography and Word Perception, and is closely allied with Spelling Progress Bulletin. Plan to attend the meeting, as this is an opportunity to promote the cause of spelling reform at a national forum of educators. At the meeting of SIG 18, the premiere edition of the new Spelling Progress Bulletin will be introduced.

Spelling Progress Bulletin. Honesdale, PA


[Spelling Progress Bulletin, Spring 1983, p24]
Harvie Barnard: see Journal, Anthology, Bulletins.]

Understanding the Basic Psychology of Learning,

by Harvie Barnard.

Education is essentially learning) and learning is "programming the human organic computer," the brain. The human brain is ready for programming at birth, which is when education begins, and continues thruout life. Any educational program which fails to, recognize and to function in accordance with these fundamental assumptions is not only inadequate but is doomed to eventual failure, failure not only for the individual, but also for the society which fails to plan and act on the basis of these psychological truths.

In keeping with these precepts, it is apparent that:

1) education should begin very early, earlier than the present mode;

2) education must be continuously progressive, following the principles of computer programming;

3) educators should recognize different rates of learning, input acceptance, and accomodate to these differences.

These three fundamentals are of course, only a beginning, but if not recognized and observed, all the add-ins, refinements, extensions and rules which can be devised will add little or nothing to the educational process.

Preschool education, except for privately organized and funded nursery school, has been and still is an area of virtually total neglect, The essentials of early preparation for conventional public school education are not spelled out in sufficient detail to provide adequate, guidelines either for our present system or for the parent who is assumed to have, the concern, the knowledge or the experience to satisfy the demands of this awsome responsibility for preschool education.

Since the average parent is simply unprepared to do this basic job, whether because of lack of training, time, or inebriation, it is not being done for a substantial number of our children. Hence they are not "ready" for our production line program when school age has been reached. Just how this pre-school education may be best accomplished, whether by schools for parents or by a national program of nursery schools for all young children, or by a combination of both, remains to be developed

But if our present system is to be strengthened and made to work without a complete revision of what we already have, then the place to begin is with an early education plan to get the preparation program in order and working smoothly before injecting our young computers into a standardized process of conventional "input" which assumes readiness that under present conditions does not exist.

There are teaching skills which are learned mainly by experience, much of which is well beyond the collegiate training for education majors. Certainly it would be appropriate to recommend that all future teachers be required to study the principles of computer programming in terms of basic human psychology.

Beyond the principles of computer technology, three basis instructional principles should be recognized:

1) the child must have complete faith and confidence in the teacher; the implications of this statement are infinitely broad;

2) this faith must never be hurt by confusion, frustration, misinformation, or an unsympathetic aptitude.

3) When programming is satisfactory in terms of subject matter content, progressive continuity of input, and at a level of difficulty consonant with the capacity, of the pupil - according to the principles 1, and 2, above - learning will be joyfully embraced, and our youthful computers will be prepared for the higher levels of communication and computational training which are to follow.


[Spelling Progress Bulletin, Spring 1983, p11]
[Chris Jolly: see Journals, Newsletters, Media, Bulletins, Web links.]

Letter to the Editor.

In the Fall issue of 1983, Edward Rondthaler wrote in SPB that spelling reformers must settle their differences. He explained clearly that we must present an agreed plan. He is quite right of course. However in doing so he brings spelling reform down to a simple matter of agreeing the answers to a well-known problem. In practice of course it is not just a matter of agreeing the answers - the fact is we do not even know the questions.

We should not be surprised that spelling reformers can have such different views of the subject and produce such different results. In a practical sense spelling reform is still in its infancy even though the subject has been in existence for several hundred years. Workers have an enormous undeveloped field to work in and we should not be surprised if they all go in different directions. As an example of the problem let us consider one of our basic building blocks - the different phonemes as defined by the International Phonetic Association. These phonemes each have their own graphemic symbols, either those in the Latin alphabet, or new graphemic symbols that have been developed. The surprising fact is that these new symbols still have no name - we remember them solely by their symbol. Yet for the common phonemes a symbol alone is really not enough. We need names for them which are agreed and commonly used. (The one exception is the schwa or neutral vowel, (ə), which has a clear name, widely used and a name which has helped in the recognition and understanding of an otherwise complex phoneme.) It has long been commented on, that the French only began to make the most of their weekends when the word "Le Weekend" entered their vocabulary, so establishing the concept. The same will be true for the building blocks of spelling reform. But not only names - phonemes need identifying with symbols which have upper case and cursive derivatives. How else can they be used effectively in writing? This is not to suggest that the symbols would be used in a reformed spelling, simply that we must enable the layman to obtain some understanding and recognition of each phoneme if we are to manipulate and reform our spelling.

Over the years spelling reformers have disagreed not only on the end result of their reforms, but just as importantly on how to achieve them. Some have advocated total change to a new system, others a gradual change over a series of stages. Nowadays most workers probably support the process of gradual change if for no other reason than the sheer extent of reform needed would make it unacceptable otherwise. But this comes back to the need for agreement. Gradual change has the very real risk that

(i) different reformers and different communities would steer their reforms down different routes, and

(ii) different communities would be at different stages of progress. Some will have implemented many reforms, others hardly any at all.

The diversity of spelling which this could introduce is, to me, the most worrying aspect of the whole process of spelling reform. I also see it as almost inevitable. It could make the difference between present day American and British spellings seem like chickenfeed, a mere irritation. Hence I endorse again Edward Rondthaler's call for agreement. We must discuss the issues widely and seek to develop common programmes for reform to minimise diversity and give direction to those who so earnestly seek to work with us.

C. J. H. Jolly, London,

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