Friday, October 19, 2018

Dyslexia vs Shut Down Kids (Part 4)




I will get back to Dr.Maszlee Malik and Astro soon. Meanwhile let us continue with Dyslexia vs. Shut down kids.


“Increased phonics instruction will not help a child with dyslexia. Children with dyslexia are able to learn phonics once they have the underlying phonemic awareness abilities; although they may continue having trouble applying it. This is why difficulty with phonics and word pronunciation is a good warning sign of dyslexia.”

My Response: With the exception of 2 kids none of my more than 60 students to date had problems with word pronunciation. I am sure there are kids who have problem with word pronunciation as well as phonological awareness problem. However, to call these kids dyslexic and say that 20% are so is definitely a crime. 

I had difficulty differentiating between words starting with the letters ‘v’ and ‘w’. Apparently this is common among Indians. I learned this from one of my so-called dyslexic students. How did a certified dyslexic student hear the difference in my pronunciation of words beginning with the letter ‘v’ if he had phonemic awareness problems?

Many of my Chinese friends cannot differentiate the sounds of many Chinese words beginning with the letter ‘c’ in Hanyu Pinyin because they were taught wrongly. They simply cannot hear the difference in sound that is quite obvious to non Chinese. This is also interesting because the Chinese kids who learned Hanyu Pinyin beginning from the 1980’s do not have such a problem.
Anyway, I teach all my so-called dyslexic students Phonics and I did not find even one of them finding difficulty with phonics. 

Teachers started teaching phonemes of alphabets wrongly and this spread through You Tube and videos and this was and is the main reason why kids shut down from learning to read in English around the world. Even our Astro TV has aired and I believe is still airing programmes where they teach phonics wrongly. I have written to them and I am not satisfied with their response. As mentioned in my book ‘Shut Down Kids’ I managed to terminate 2 YouTube videos that were teaching wrong phonics and one more deleted their video when my book was published.
In short, as explained in detail in my book, it is not phonics that is the culprit but the wrong teaching of phonics. 

The war between ‘whole language’ and ‘phonics’ has been waged for decades because phonics is being taught wrongly in most schools around the world. Illiteracy will not reduce until and unless phonics is taught correctly in the way it ought to be taught. My former and present students are living proof of this.

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