Peter Westwood | Author and Educator
Peter Westwood is an author and long-time educator with over 30 years’ experience teaching in primary, secondary and special schools – receiving awards for excellence in teaching from Flinders University in South Australia and the University of Hong Kong in China.
Born a self-confessed ‘very poor speller’, Peter has gone on to author 19 books designed to help students with learning difficulties and disabilities, and on teaching literacy and numeracy skills.
MRU Press is thrilled to publish his latest book, Developing Spelling Skills Across the Age Range: An Introduction, which explains the skills required to be an accurate speller, and how teachers can impart these skills to children in preschool right through to adulthood.
Purchase your copy from The Bookshop by MultiLit, and learn more about Peter and his latest release, below.
Who will benefit from Developing Spelling Skills Across the Age Range and why is it valuable?
The book is intended for pre-service and serving teachers, teaching assistants, educational psychologists, speech therapists/pathologists – and anyone who is interested in raising standards in spelling. I think that the explicit teaching of spelling has been neglected for more than 30 years, due initially to the influence of the whole language approach; but the neglect is still continuing. During their initial training, pre-service teachers are still not being given information on how best to teach this very basic skill.
How is this book different to your previous works?
I have authored 19 books with a focus on students with learning difficulties and disabilities, and on teaching literacy and numeracy skills. Three of these books have addressed the specific topic of spelling. This new book draws on the most recent research and theories in the field, and is unique in that it covers spelling development from preschool to adult level.
What are the key takeaways you want your audience to have after reading?
I hope that readers of the book recognise that the ability to spell correctly is still very important in this digital age, and that explicit and systematic teaching is the key to improving standards.
What’s one thing you wish more people knew about spelling?
The late Margaret Peters posed the question in her book titled Spelling: Caught or Taught? I wish everyone would answer that question (as she did) that spelling most certainly has to be taught, beginning in the primary school years and extended into adulthood. Students don’t ‘catch’ spelling; I certainly didn’t when I was at school.
Author’s background and experience
I was born in England and attended primary and secondary schools in Essex, throughout which I was a very poor speller. After two years in the Royal Air Force, I undertook teacher training at Trent Park College in Middlesex. From there I taught in primary and secondary schools for several years, teaching mainly students with learning difficulties. Later, I undertook a postgraduate course in special education before becoming a lecturer at the City of Manchester College of Education.
In 1974, I took a position as lecturer in remedial education at the then Torrens College of Advanced Education in Adelaide. Later, I served as Principal Education Officer (Special Education) in South Australia, but then returned to teacher education as a lecturer in educational psychology and special education at the University of South Australia. In 1991, I was appointed to a lecturing post at Flinders University, before finally moving overseas again in 1998 to teach special education at the University of Hong Kong.