Monday, June 14, 2010

Discourse with Dr.Selznick on Shut Down Learner - Part 2 & Lesson 39

I have come to learn that most of the people "shut down" when something different from their experience or understanding is mentioned. They do not read with an open mind. I believe one should listen to any suggestion and weigh it before accepting or discarding it.

Most people are not open to things they have not experienced. Just because most of the people I am talking about do not speak any language other than English they do not want to accept the fact that dyslexics do not have a problem with phonics and they keep saying that dyslexics are 'phonologically unaware'.

Doc, let us just stick with this one point for a while.
Every dyslexic child I have taught can read in Malay as it is phonologically consistent.
There are many research reports in my blog that says the same thing about Italian, and Spanish. Tamil is another language that I speak and know is phonologically consistent.

The question is, "Why is it that people who can read fluently in all these languages become phonologically unaware when it comes to English"? Is it therefore correct to say that dyslexics have a problem with phonics/ phonemic/ phonology?

Doc, please think about this and try and give an answer. I'll put all my money (like you say) and challenge anyone who says that dyslexics are phonologically unaware.

There are other things that I want to write about but let us not clutter this mail with those other things.

Yes, I understand that you are writing from the point of your clinical experience. However, do just give a thought to what I have written above. You, unlike most people, should be able to keep an open mind on what I am saying.

I will get back to you on other matters in your book.

Please also do read the relevant articles on my blog - reading from my first article - and give me your views. I know that what I write is very different from almost all the writers on dyslexia and that could be because I have the advantage of teaching dyslexic kids in more than one language.

Wish you well,
Luqman Michel

Dear Luqman

OK…you raise interesting points and I just want credit for taking your points seriously, as you say no one has entertained them before!

Let’s do what you say and not jump around and try and take it point by point.  I agree to not clutter  the email.

So what about this imaginary scenario?

Let’s say you had 100 children of known average intelligence entering first grade.  You decide to give them two very quick screening tasks:

1.  A phonemic awareness type of task (e.g., “Say Cat.”  “Now say it again, but don’t say /C/” – that type of task)

2.  A spoken digit span (forward and reverse) task.

(Note  that I haven’t done any reading assessment in this experiment.)

I would say that of the population of kids screened  you would get three results, roughly.

Group I:  Fine- no problem with the task

Group II:  Ok – not stellar, but not significantly off.

Group III:  Weak – poor on these two tasks.

Now, I would put $1,000 on a bet that a significant number (not all) of children in the third group are going to be struggling with early reading development.

Doesn’t that make the argument that there is something contributing to the fact that they are weak in tasks we call “phonemic awareness” and auditory sequencing (digit span) and reading and that they are highly co-related?

I don’t care what you call it, but it seems that these kids are disposed to not learning how to read well.

Now stay on this question and don’t clutter as you say, but answer my scenario.


For lesson 39 click here:


Unknown said...

From the point of view of a dyslexic. I don’t speak for everyone but from my own experience. I was very aware of my environment around me, that many people spoke with many different accents and with them came many different emphases. They spoke the words with slightly different pronunciations. Maybe we should have a licence for those that want to speak English. They would have to speak with one consistent pronunciation or they have to keep there mouths shut. Just joking.

The idea that dyslexics are phonetically unaware is crap. English my one and only language, is unkempt and irrational. When I had to study phoenix as a kid I found the rules where unruly and unfathomable. For any word there were more rules to follow then there were letters in a word. There where rules, exceptions to the rules, rules to the exceptions, and exceptions to the exceptions to the rule. What nonsense! Tel me what is the Phonetic rules for “to” , “too” and “two”. Listen to the words tell me how they are suppose to sound different? How about “night” and “knight”. How do they sound different? “There” sounds about the same as “their”. That is not phonemically different in the streets that I live on. Someone needs there hearing tested I had mine tested and it use to be good.

When the radio announcers are using words like fashion, fission, position, and shun I can understand what he/she is saying and understand the meaning but the spelling of the “shun” words is not consistent. I eventually learned to spell these words but it was not by knowing the rules.

Dyslexia is like an iceberg. The bulk of the mass is obscured, hidden below the water. Clinicians are attacking the spire that sticks out. The spire in English is the absurdity of English and it’s phonological inconsistencies. Gowd it must be nice to be able to get a full time wage teaching kids work around’s for this absurdity without addressing the problem of the language itself. Once the work around is in place dyslexia still remains. I don’t see much evidence that the pedagogy have really taken on the real issues of dyslexia, the working memory issues and the communications disruptions within the neural pathways.

Good for those that make a living doing work around’s on English, but their livelihood need not be jeopardised by those that are attaching the larger mass of the issue dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, dyspraxia.


Luqman Michel said...

John, you have a great sense of humour.

I am with you on "The idea that dyslexics are phonetically unaware is crap."

I wish more dyslexics will come and say it as you have said.

I agree with you completely on "There where rules, exceptions to the rules, rules to the exceptions, and exceptions to the exceptions to the rule. What nonsense!"

The above really made me laugh out loud. I don't teach phonic rules except for some simple ones. For example the rule for differentiating the 'c' sound as in 'cat' and 'city' - C carries the 'city' sound when the letter after 'c' is e,i or y. I have not checked the dictionary for exceptions.

John, spelling problem in English is a problem for most people be they dyslexic or not.

You say :" I don’t see much evidence that the pedagogy have really taken on the real issues of dyslexia"

Is there a possibility that the education department around the world have no intention of taking the issue of dyslexia for reasons we do not know... What can the poor teachers do if there are instructions to the contrary (from what the teachers believe should be done/taught) from the departments concerned.