Writing By Ear: This Is Why This Method Is Criticized

Few topics are as controversial as writing by ear. Parents of elementary school students can only shake their heads at the idea of matching writing to pronunciation. How problematic is writing by ear and what restrictions does it place on learning to write for our Abc pupils?

Writing By Ear: What Does It Mean?

Writing by ear is a concept that is practiced in most German elementary schools. Explicitly, it is about teaching students to write without correcting mistakes In front of parents’ and primary school teachers’ minds, there are huge question marks. And rightly so, as we know today. Because the spelling table is not enough to teach a child the basics of spelling and to make him or her orthographically confident. Teachers who teach at secondary schools and grammar schools are faced with this problem. If a child has spent four years of his or her life writing by ear, conversion to the correct orthography is very difficult – in stubborn cases even impossible.

Why Parents Reject This Method

“Ich hap tisch lip” and “Hunt” or “Fata” are just a few examples of a practice that is now common in German elementary schools. This is because when writing by ear, mistakes are pre-programmed. The clearer the pronunciation, the higher the error rate. Thus, elementary school students from Saxony or Bavaria are particularly affected, know professors of the German language. “Isch hap düsch lüb” may sound cute to a first grader. But how does it look when adults write more mistakes than correct words in a sentence? Experts agree that there is no need to be surprised about the results of the Pisa study. The result of writing by ear is LRS, which is becoming more and more widespread in Germany. And this, although we were once the country of poets and thinkers. If you are upset about this concept of writing, you are not alone in your anger. You can breathe a sigh of relief, because in more and more German states, writing by ear is being abolished or is already banned.

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Pedagogically Supported Dyslexia – An Explosive Topic

Not only parents, but also elementary school teachers are going on the barricades. Poor grades foster school anxiety and cause children to doubt themselves. If the 10-year-old comes home and thinks he is stupid, you should seriously think about it. By writing by ear, we raise children with dyslexia and wonder afterwards why other countries overtake us in school education. It is important to know that the phonetic table has nothing to do with writing. Rather, it is about finding letters and “painting” them. The transition from poor spelling could therefore also be drawn directly to lettering. Calligraphy is no longer taught, because kids in elementary school paint letters and practically don’t learn the connection to a whole word.

On The Sense And Nonsense Of The Phonetic Table

In some German states, such as Schleswig-Holstein and Hamburg, writing by ear is already banned. In Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg and in many eastern German states, elementary schools have also abandoned this method. According to experienced elementary school teachers, those who learn to write according to the phonetic table are more likely to learn to draw, but not to understand the orthography of the German language and to put it into practice in a meaningful way. Another issue is the “reading by writing” method, which is also controversial. There is a reason why today’s high school beginners are hardly able to read a longer text AND understand its content.

What Digitalization Has To Do With Generation Z’s Spelling Weaknesses

Writing by ear is an important reason for spelling problems, but not the only one. The age of digitalization has also played its part. WhatsApp and Co. don’t need capitalization, punctuation, or sentence starters. But if your child communicates like this right from the start, don’t be surprised if there are problems at school and that the German grades from the 5th grade onwards go down the drain with a bang.

Writing By Ear – Why Hasn’t It Been Abolished Yet?

One can discuss it as one likes: Writing by ear never brings an advantage and always has a negative effect on the orthography. Nevertheless, and against the protest of numerous parents and elementary school teachers, the Reichen method stubbornly persists. Experts agree: we are raising a generation of dyslexics. To make matters worse, more and more children and teenagers are addicted to the Internet. What does this have to do with writing by ear? A lot, according to linguists. Because the slang of YouTube and Co. contributes to long-term language and writing difficulties with writing by sound. Germany can only score again in Pisa if our children learn to write and read correctly.

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Why German Elementary School Students Can No Longer Write Correctly?

While we used to have to learn spelling, capitalization and punctuation from first grade on, writing by ear does not provide for this practice. But you have to know that mistakes become automatic. It is therefore completely normal that your child does not recognize an error if he has always spelled a word the same way from the beginning of school. It is also questionable to what extent elementary school children already have to invent and write their own stories. Wouldn’t it be more important to learn to write and read first, before inventing stories?

Realschule And Gymnasium Teachers Despair

Depending on the state, the challenges for 5th grade developmental teachers are more difficult. Those who teach children who have learned to write by ear need a lot of patience and the ability to explain. The peculiarities of spelling learned in elementary school, which are now suddenly apparent as errors, are not always met with approval. Students wonder why a word is always right – and now suddenly wrong. In practice, it turns out that parents who want the best for their child are not advocates of the spelling table and German lessons with writing by ear.

Can Automated Errors Be Trained Away?

In principle, correct spelling can be learned later. But it is a fact that already automated errors cannot simply be trained away. Because in order to spell a word correctly, your child must be aware of the error. But this awareness is impossible if at least the first two years were spent simply writing by ear. Nevertheless, with a lot of practice, a lot of commitment on the part of the teachers and sacrifice on the part of the parents, a lifelong weakness in writing can be avoided. Considering that accuracy in the native language is more significant today than ever, this spark of hope is worth every effort.

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Why Spelling Mistakes Are Persistent?

Habits in writing are no different than other rituals. Well-loved habits become flesh and blood, so they happen subconsciously rather than consciously. For example, if your child always wrote hunt instead of dog in elementary school, it is difficult to make him understand that this form of writing is a mistake. Your child understands your words and makes the change. But in the next dictation, the t will again be after the three letters HUN and your family’s dog will become HUNT. The retention of habits is rooted in the human psyche. We develop rituals in order to cope with everyday life and not to have to relearn important tasks every day. Now draw a transition and you know why learning to write correctly is essential even in elementary school.

Why Correcting Is Important?

The first parent-teacher conference is coming up and you bring up the delicate subject that has been on your mind since the beginning of school. Some parents, but especially the teacher, look at you admonishingly. You must not improve your child, even if one or the other spelling literally makes your toenails roll up “Are you trying to make your child insecure?” this is a question you will be asked and you will automatically shake your head at it. Of course you don’t want to upset your child. But should you let an obvious mistake stand so that it is still on the agenda to be corrected four years later?. Many parents do not subscribe to writing by ear and improve their child at the latest in homework and home writing. This is not wrong, but the only correct way to deal with the nonsense of the spelling table and its consequences.

Is There An Improvement In Spelling In Sight?

Yes, the improvement is actually within reach. Because after the bans in Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein, fewer and fewer federal states are using writing by ear. In Thuringia and Saxony-Anhalt, too, children in most schools learn to write correctly by corrector. So there is hope that in the near future all children will learn to write correctly again and not focus their word formation on the phonetic table.

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Writing By Ear: Already Forbidden In Some Federal States

As already mentioned, schools in Schleswig-Holstein and Hamburg do not teach writing by ear. This practice is strictly and simply forbidden, so that elementary school students once again learn to read and write like their parents. As was shown shortly after the ban, prospective high school students from Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein master orthography significantly better than children who go to school in Saxony, for example, and are taught German writing by ear. Isn’t that reason enough to teach our children to read and write properly again? After all, there are enough other problems today that impair writing skills and have a negative impact on capitalization and punctuation, for example.

In the land of great poets and thinkers, the level of spelling has dropped to a minimum. Other countries have long since overtaken us in the Pisa study. This does not mean that Scandinavian children are more intelligent than your offspring. It only says that our school system urgently needs an overhaul and a tendency “back to the roots”, especially in German lessons.

Why There Is Only One Result In Math And No Correction In Spelling?

The simplest context can be made to mathematics. Here there is only one correct result, for the calculation of which the student gets a good grade. If the result is wrong, the grade drops. This orientation must also be common again in orthography because also in the German language there is only one correct, but a whole range of wrong pronunciations and spellings. A glance at the Duden is sufficient to teach children how to write. The Anlauttabelle is not at all suitable for a good school education in the German language.

Germany Needs A New Spelling Reform

The last spelling reform was not too long ago. Today, Schifffahrt is spelled with 3f, for which you would have gotten a grade deduction in school in the past. Apart from that, from the first grade on, all spelling mistakes were chalked up to you and noted with an improvement in the margin of the class work.

Surely, as a child, you would have been happy to write by ear. But in perspective, you have to admit today, the strict correction in elementary school helped you. You have mastered orthography because you have always learned it correctly.

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