Correct habitual spelling errors with the Old Way New Way® learning method. Designed for adult learners as well as younger students and children.
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Step 1. Person's name:     John Step 2. Date:   10 January 2003

Step 3. Say "Write the word in your own way."         recieve

Step 4.Say "May I call that your old way?"
         (get agreement)
Step 5. Say "May I show you a new way? (get agreement, write it here):                   receive
Step 6. Explain the difference between the old and new way to the person: "In your old way its ie but in the new way its ei." Circle these letters in each word, for emphasis.
Step 7. "Write it in your old way."
      recieve
Step 8. "Write it in the new way."
receive
Step 9. Explain the difference.
"In your old way its ie but in the new way its ei." Circle these letters in each word, for emphasis.
Step 10. "Write it in your old way."
recieve
Step 11. "Write it in the new way."
receive
Step 12. Explain the difference.
"In your old way its ie but in the new way its ei." Circle these letters in each word, for emphasis.
Step 13. "Write it in the old way."
recieve
Step 14. "Write it in your new way"
receive
Step 15. "Now, you tell me the difference."
"In my old way its ie but in my new way its ei." Person circles these letters in each word, for emphasis.
Step 16. "Write it in the old way."
recieve
Step 17. "Write it in your new way."
receive
Step 18. "Tell me the difference." (response as above)
Step 19. "Write it in the old way."
recieve
Step 20. "Write it in your new way."
receive
Step 21. "Tell me the difference." (response as above)
Step 22. Write 6 different sentences using your new way of spelling the word. Short sentences will do..
(1)  When will I receive the goods?
(2)  Have you received my message?
(3)  We received the fax.  
(4)  Let me know when you receive my Christmas gift.
(5)  It is better to give than to receive.
(6)  I can now spell receive.
Step 23. Follow up activities to reinforce learning and memory.
Step 24. "What if...?" troubleshooting and an explanation of the steps.
You can print a blank version of this one page form for your own, unrestricted copying and use. Read the full explanation of the underpinning learning theory, research publications, reviews and case notes, and education department endorsements. The Old Way New Way learning method is now available as a low-priced computer program called Personal Best Spelling. You can the download the adult or the children's version of this spelling program and try it, for free. Personal Best Spelling also includes an improved version of Look-Say-Cover-Write-Check, a widely endorsed method for learning new words; a way of detecting learned, habitual errors; and a spell tester; plus many other useful features for adult learners, school children, and teachers of spelling. Copyright 2012 Personal Best Academy

Follow up activities to reinforce learning and memory

1. The learner has to practice, i.e, use, the new spelling of the word, otherwise memory will fade in time. "If you don't use it, you lose it." Make sure you practice over the next two weeks.

2. Do not deliberately use the old way spelling ever again, and do not compare the old and new ways ever again. The only exception to this rule is explained in activity No. 3 below.

3. The old way is never completely lost, but the brain will automatically select the new way on 80% of occasions, or higher. If the new way is practiced enough, this figure can be as high as 100% after only one Old Way New Way® correction session.

4. On those odd occasions when the old way does resurface, the learner will recognise it on 90% of occasions, without needing someone else to point it out. This automatic self detection of errors is due to the improved self awareness.

5. Every time an old way does come up, the learner must apply Steps 19, 20 and 21 of the Old Way New Way learning method. That is, the learner say to him- or herself "That's my old way"; then write out the new way and say aloud "This is my new way"; and then describe aloud the difference between the old and new ways. Do this three-step correction each time an old way resurfaces.

6. Two weeks after the Old Way New Way® learning session, if the old way is still coming up, the entire learning session may need to be repeated. A major cause of recovery of the old way is failure to practice the new way sufficiently.

Troubleshooting

1. The Old Way New Way learning method is a low-stress, low-demand learning method. It is very user friendly. The learning environment should be accepting, non-critical, and recognition should be given for effort.

2. Do not try to cover up any part of the form as it is being completed. Let the person see all parts of it at all times. This is not a test.

3. If the learner writes the old way when you asked for the new way, do not be alarmed. Simply say "That's a nice old way, now write the new way for me, here." Similarly, if the person produces the new way when you asked for the old way, say "That's a nice new way, now do the old way for me, here."

4. If the learner produces a new spelling error while writing the sentences (Step 22), do not be alarmed and do not draw attention to it. Make a mental note to add the new error(s) to the list of words to be corrected in a subsequent session. Do not overload the learner by pointing out all the errors you see. Only deal with one word at a time.

5. If the learner produces a different old way when asked to write his or her old way, simply say "That's an interesting way of writing the word, now write your original old way, here." If necessary, point to the original old way and let him or her copy it. Make a mental note to deal with this additional misspelling in a subsequent correction session. It is not unusual to find that learners have more than one habitual way of misspelling a particular word.

6. If the misspelling of a word is particularly complicated, or a misspelling consists of multiple errors, it may be useful to do a few more more than the normal six discriminations (a discrimination is a comparison of the old and the new ways, followed by a description of the differences, e.g., Steps 19, 20, 21 makes up one discrimination). Similarly, when you get to the practice of the new way in sentences, you may need to do a few more than the normal six sentences.

Explanation of the steps in the learning method

1. Old Way New Way® is best used for the correction of habitual spelling errors that resist correction by other, more conventional, means. It is not all that useful for learning completely new words because with new words there are no learned errors or pre-existing misconceptions that have first to be unlearned. New words are best learned using an improved version of Look-Say-Cover-Write-Check. You know if you have a learned, habitual spelling error when you see the same word misspelled, in the same way, two or three times. For example, if you often misspell "receive" as "recieve", then this is your learned, habitual, error. Most poor spellers have many such learned errors, and they resist correction by conventional teaching and learning methods. Old Way New Way® is very effective at eliminating learned errors in spelling, and in other areas of learning like misconceptions and skilled performance errors.

2. Basically, learned errors are hard to eradicate, like all bad habits, because the brain protects all prior konowledge, even incorrect knowledge and skills, and generates an interference that disables new learning. For a full explanation of learned spelling errors, how they develop, how prevalent they are, and why they resist correction by conventional spelling methods, go to the www.spellingzone.com home page.

3. Make sure you have this example form alongside you as a guide when you try your first Old Way New Way spelling correction session. The wording used in this form has been developed and refined to its absolute minimum over years of expert use. For example, there are subtle variations between the words used in Steps 10 and 13, 11 and 14, and 12 and 15. The change from "telling" the person the difference, to "asking them to tell you the difference" is especially critical at Step 15. Each word of each step is therefore a key element in the entire process. Please do not change, delete, or add words or steps, until you become more familiar with the process and understand it fully.

4. Although parts of the Old Way New Way® process may appear to be repetitive and nothing more than rote learning, this is far from the truth. Old Way New Way® is much more than just another "drill and skill" method. As explained in the underpinning learning theory, the learner is quickly engaged in a rapid and powerful process of progressive discrimination learning. It is progressive because at each successive comparison of the old and the new, the brain learns a bit more about the essential differences between the two spellings, until complete understanding is reached.

5. "Why do I have to do six comparisons/discriminations?" Six comparisons of the old and the new have been found to be necessary for optimal learning. You may do more, but never less. The systematic practice of differences is a key element in Old Way New Way® learning that is absent in all other known learning methods. Discrimination learning is the easiest kind of learning because anyone can tell the difference between two spellings of a word. That makes the whole process low in mental demand and low stress, and hence very user friendly.

6. "But I/they have so many errors! Won't it take forever to deal with them all, if I only deal with one at a time?" Conventional spelling correction methods can take up to 2,000 repetitions of the "right" spelling, before the old wrong way is overcome and replaced with the new, correct, spelling. That's many hours, weeks, months of practice. Old Way New Way® corrects one error at a time but does so very quickly, and you don't have to keep correcting it again and again because the error stays fixed. Although it may seem more work and slower, it's actually much faster because a single session is so effective.

7. Research with Old Way New Way shows that people who learn this way develop understanding as well as skill in spelling. This development of understanding is assisted when the rules and conventions that underpin English spelling are also learned. However, these rules are best taught/learned not during an Old Way New Way correction session, but afterwards as a supplementary lesson. This will avoid possible confusion and overloading of the learner during the actual correction session.     Copyright 2012 Personal Best Academy