ds. Under the title “The ‘schbas’ [the German ‘Spass’, written in the way of ‘writing by listening’] is over in Nidwalden”, the “Neue Zürcher Zeitung” reports on 29 October 2018 that the supervising school authorities in the canton of Nidwalden have given in to the demands of “annoyed” parents and that pupils can now learn to write correctly from the second grade onwards. Until then, teachers were only allowed to show children how to write correctly from grade 3 onwards.
A Basel primary school teacher named Reichen has invented this absurd method, according to which children in their first school years learn to write only by hearing and not correctly. It has spread throughout the German-speaking world under names such as “reading by writing” or “writing by hearing”. Neither teachers nor parents are allowed to instruct children to use the correct spelling. This would disturb the creativity and joy of writing; “fil” instead of “viel” (much), “schbas” instead of “Spass” (fun) or “anxt” instead of “Angst” (fear) are not wrong in the first years of school, but creative and original. Really a crazy idea that children should become more creative and enjoy writing more if they can write everything wrong.
“A study published this autumn by scientists at the University of Bonn, however, gives Reichen’s legacy a bad testimony. The researchers came to the conclusion that pupils at the end of grade 3 were significantly better at spelling if they had been taught according to the classical alphabet book method. The children get a picture of a bird with the word bird next to it. In this way they memorise the correct spelling right from the start,” writes the “Neue Zürcher Zeitung” in the aforementioned article.
Already 5 years ago, Der Spiegel had called attention to the “spelling disaster” in Germany caused by Reichen in the leading article of issue 25/2013 under the title “Die neue Schlechtschreibung” (The new bad spelling). Even then, renowned experts demanded a ban on this method. Meanwhile it was forbidden in several federal states to teach according to Reichen’s method.
What would it be like if the canton of Nidwalden and, of course, all other Swiss cantons would completely do without “schbas”? After all, you don’t let the children in grade 1 believe that 2+2 is 5, but then correct it in grade 2.
But perhaps more “annoyed” parents are needed who object to learning hindrance in our schools. •
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