Sunday, March 14, 2010

Dyslexia -My logical thinking students & Lesson 4

John (my first student) learned the word ‘but’ and ‘cut’ and when I taught him the word ‘put’ I could see a confused look on his face. He could not understand why I pronounced ‘put’ the way I did and not the way I pronounced ‘cut’ and ‘but’.
This is one of the reasons why I say that these kids are logical thinking kids. I make it a point to explain that the English language is not the same as the Malay language and that he has to just memorize this word as it is. I explain to him that the English language is an orthographically inconsistent language unlike Malay and Han Yu Pin Yin.

Another student Ken asked me why ‘was’ was spelt the way it is instead of ‘wos’. Mac another one of my students asked me why I pronounced ‘on’ the way I did and yet pronounced ‘station’ another way. The ‘on’ in ‘station’ was illogical to him.

Each time I replied, “Well, that is the English language. Don’t try and be logical. Just learn it this way and don’t compare it with Malay.” Each time I could see a feeling of satisfaction on their faces. It is as if they had discovered a flaw in the English language. They were happy because now their tuition teacher had told them that they were smart.

Because they are constantly being belittled by their classmates, I have to repeatedly tell them that they are smart. Once they begin to regain their self-esteem there is a rise in their confidence level and they progress in their studies by leaps and bounds.

My student John had asked me many times in the course of our studies, “Uncle Luqman, am I stupid?” And each time I had to reassure him that he is not stupid; that on the contrary, he is very intelligent. I later found out that there were still some students in his school who called him stupid when he had problems with sequencing.

John did very well in his Primary six (UPSR) examination – much better than most of his classmates who had called him stupid.
For lesson 4 click here :

8 comments:

Heidi said...

The biggest boost for my son's self confidence was our first dyslexia tutor. They had posters of famous dyslexics all around the office...large ones of Edison, Einstein, and others. I told him the smartest people think the way he thinks. He never thought of it as a problem after that. I also told him his Uncle has it, and we both know and can see that my brother is an excellent mechanic, engineer and builder. Pushing the theory that Einstein and Edison had dyslexia can be a huge boost for kids self confidence. Plus if you research the INternet, you can come up with many more famous people including writers like Agatha Christie. I am sure you could find non-western thinkers as well.

Heidi said...

The biggest boost for my son's self confidence was our first dyslexia tutor. They had posters of famous dyslexics all around the office...large ones of Edison, Einstein, and others. I told him the smartest people think the way he thinks. He never thought of it as a problem after that. I also told him his Uncle has it, and we both know and can see that my brother is an excellent mechanic, engineer and builder. Pushing the theory that Einstein and Edison had dyslexia can be a huge boost for kids self confidence. Plus if you research the INternet, you can come up with many more famous people including writers like Agatha Christie. I am sure you could find non-western thinkers as well.

Luqman Michel said...

I wish I could do the same with my dyslexic students - show pictures of famous dyslexics. Here parents treat dyslexia as if it is a disease. They don't talk openly about dyslexia. As such I avoid this topic except with my first student.my first student does not have a problem with being a dyslexic. He knows his strengths which I have discussed with him many time. Thanks again for your comment Heidi.

Lynne said...

Hi Uncle L, just read your blog today and found it very informative. Although Z (7 years old) has been going to you for tuition, I do not think he knows he is dyslexic. He thinks the tuition is to help him become a better reader! That in itself helps his self-confidence. I did think maybe it might be worth explaining to him about dyslexia but the spelling of the word is enough to confuse an adult, let alone a 7 year old boy. I am just wondering if he should be told he is dyslexic and have it explained to him in detail what it means? Thanks

Luqman Michel said...

Hi Lynne, I do hope you will read this blog from the first onwards.
I was about to write an article about Malaysians going into a denial mode when it comes to dyslexia.I decided against it as parents may not like to be told what may be the truth. Westerners on the other are very open about it. It is not a disease and there is nothing to be ashamed of. If Z is made aware of his condition he will accept it and if you would like me to do it by first starting to show him all the dyslexic famous people I can do that without telling him that he is dyslexic. You can then inform him at a convenient time. It is better that he knows."John" my first student knows and he has no problem with it.That way my student and I can discuss more and the student can be made to understand why he has certain problems and we can build on his strengths. Thank you and kind regards.

Lynne said...

Thank Uncle L. I agree Z should know, just a matter of how and when. Yes, please let know him the famous dyslexic people. For myself, when it was confirmed that Z was dyslexic, I immediately got him help - however, I did wish I trusted my own instinct and got him tested earlier. I had an inkling that he was. However, many people were advising me that I was worrying for nothing, he is a boy, they mature later etc.It was only after the Kindergarden teacher told me he was memorizing the whole book and reading from memory as opposed to reading the words. I tested him myself and true enough, with a familiar book, he was reciting the whole story by memory. He was reading out aloud page 5 contents when we were still looking at page 3/4!

Luqman Michel said...

Z is dyslexic. However he has already overcome his reading problem.As you would have noticed he can figure out new words quite easily.He is a very bright child and as you have written above his memory is exceptional.

how to summarize an article example said...

The problem remains that there is not a law about rewriting something as your own words, especially for content.