Sunday, July 9, 2017

Dyslexia or Shut- Down Learners

Many web-sites say that one of the problems of dyslexics is that of learning a foreign language.

I have extracted the following from the internet.

“In the late 1960's, Dr. Kenneth Dinklage of Harvard University was compelled to find out why some of Harvard's brightest and best were not passing their language classes.
Dinklage found that a number of the failing language students had in fact been diagnosed as learning disabled and had overcome their disability through good tutoring and very hard work
Often these students are classified as having dyslexia or language learning disabilities; sometimes they are not classified but nevertheless struggle considerably to meet the foreign language requirement.
Students who appear to have the most difficulty are those who have experienced moderate to severe reading and spelling difficulties in their native language in their early schooling and now are required to study another language in school.”

I have read about many researchers writing about ‘Language learning difficulties’ but I believe it should be referred to as ‘READING in the English Language difficulty’.

Almost all my students could speak well if not fluently in at least 2 languages (Malay and English) and those who were of Chinese origin and went to Chinese schools could speak well/fluently in 3 languages and one or two dialects.

As such, to say that kids ‘having dyslexia or language learning disabilities’ have a language learning difficulty is difficult to swallow.

“Not all kids with dyslexia end up feeling empowered by trying to learn a foreign language, however. For many, it’s just too hard and stressful. That’s because they’re facing the same problems they had when they were learning to read and write in English.” (Dinklage)

Kids learn to speak in English, Malay, Tamil and Mandarin in this country with ease. Almost all school going kids are able to read well/fluently in Malay, Romanised Mandarin and Tamil. Their problem is in READING in the English language. We will delve into the reason in subsequent posts.

i.                    Is it a language learning difficulty or
ii.                  Is it an English language learning disability
iii.                OR is it Learning to READ in the English language difficulty?

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