Sue Palmer’s one of those professional moralisers, like Lynn Truss and John Huimphries. Author of ‘Toxic Childhood’, she knows best about what’s good for us and our children. A nosy, nanny keen to blame everything on ‘being online’. She’d love to put all techies on the ‘naughty step’. She has a problem with ‘screen-based culture’ and this would be fine if she didn’t have a whacking big website which advertises her courses, books, CDs and availability as a speaker. ‘Toxic Childhood’ and ‘Detoxing Childhood’ are available on CD, from the website....
It’s like discovering that your drug councillors is a secret cocaine addict!
The problem with people like Palmer is the discriminatory nature of their technology choices. They love radio, especially Radio 4 and woe betide anyone who criticises their quaint, little, middle-class programmes like the Archers. They have cars, washing machines, mobile phones and so on, but when it comes to other people’s technology choices they get all uppity. She hates ‘screen-based’ culture but will appear on TV faster than a hungry whippet and will prostitute herself to The Daily Mail for any old fee.
Sue’s site is full of that ‘angry from Tunbridge Wells’ Lynn Truss stuff about apostrophes and bad spelling. You know the sort of stuff, pictures of greengrocer boards with wrong punctuation. She, of course, has the answer; her very own ‘Phonix’ (sic) course. Now, as Alison Morissette would say, isn’t it ironic, that a literacy teacher is blaming technology for poor reading, writing, speaking, punctuation, spelling and everything else, when it has been acknowledged that her own profession and professional advisers were the major cause of the problem by introducing the crazy ‘whole-word’ teaching method into our schools for two decades. We’re still reeling from the effect.
This system had no academic credibility but swept through the system, eagerly snapped up by gullible teachers, and resulted in two generations of poor literacy teaching. Doesn’t she realise that it was education that failed the people who have poor levels of literacy. It was they who were the purveyors of toxic teaching. Thankfully, more experienced teachers and academics put up a fierce battle of resistance. Many deliberately not using these methods in their own classrooms, in contradiction to their school or LEA policy. In the end good sense won out and we went back to a simpler, more sensible approach to learning how to read and write.