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

Monday, August 18, 2014

The initial enrollment period for the University of North Texas' new Eagle Express Tuition Plan ended with more than 4,600 eligible students signing up for the innovative, money-saving plan.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Researchers in Teen ST.A.R, or Teen Stress and Alcohol Research will examine the factors that may lead to adolescents starting risky behaviors, such as alcohol and substance abuse.

wind turbine
Monday, August 18, 2014

Carrollton company is turning to researchers at the University of North Texas to examine its newest wind turbine, which it hopes can solve a difficult problem -- harvesting power when wind speeds are low.

Scott Dikkers
Monday, August 18, 2014

Big names in entertainment are featured in the 2014-15 season of UNT'sMary Jo and V. Lane Rawlins Fine Arts Series, including musician Bobby McFerrin; actress Laverne Cox from the Netflix series Orange is the New Black; Scott Dikkers, founder of the satirical publication The Onion; and Bill Rosemann, creative director at Marvel Comics.

Geoffrey Rappaport
Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Rappaport will discuss how he is applying the Supercuts business model to dental care and will be joined by Soo-kyoung Ahn, a visiting research scholar in UNT's Global Digital Retailing Research Center, which is presenting the lecture series.