Spelling bees not effective teaching tool, education professor says

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Spelling bees have taken wing on the big screen - with the movie "Akeelah and the Bee" and the documentary "Spellbound" - and have even landed on the stage with the musical "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee."

On May 30 and 31, nearly 300 spellers will compete for the championship title in the 2007 Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., with the finals broadcast live May 31 on ABC.

But despite the soaring popularity in recent years, spelling bees are not an effective way of teaching spelling, says a University of North Texas expert.

"The way most people learn spelling involves a strong visual component, and often a kinesthetic component, as well," says Dr. Mary Harris, professor of teacher education and administration at UNT's College of Education.

Harris says that because a spelling bee involves mainly auditory features, it is not recommended for weekly classroom practice for spelling.

"A good spelling learning routine involves looking at the word spelled correctly, saying and hearing its sounds, writing the word, and looking at the word," she says.

But for good spellers, the competition of a bee can build other skills, Harris says.

"I'd say it rewards an important combination of learning skills and teaches poise under pressure and sportsmanship," she says. "Spelling bees are a fun occasional competition, as are timed math drills, basketball relays, art shows and many activities that enable students with particular gifts to shine and everyone else to call up more strongly a set of learning skills."

UNT News Service Phone Number: (940) 565-2108

Category:

Latest News

Friday, September 19, 2014

Four internationally recognized artist/scholars will talk about how they combine technology, science and art as part of the Tactical Robotics Symposium: Latin American Media Art at the Intersection of the Pedagogy at the University of North Texas.

Educational researcher Michael Fullan, an internationally recognized expert on e
Friday, September 19, 2014

Educational researcher Michael Fullan, an internationally recognized expert on educational reform, will speak about "Leadership for Maximizing Impact in Schools and Districts" at this year's University of North Texas' Education Leadership Conference.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

A new program under development at the University of North Texas aims to increase the diversity of the rehabilitation counseling career field, while helping students complete an education and move into the profession in less time.

Richard Dixon
Wednesday, September 17, 2014

University of North Texas Distinguished Research Professor Richard Dixon has been named president-elect of the American Society of Plant Biologists.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Millions of devoted fans watch "Game of Thrones" and enjoy the book adapted by the television show, but those fans have nothing on the 300 visitors coming to UNT.