Sunday, October 28, 2012

Learning disabilities and dyslexia Part 2

Over the past 8 years I have taught 26 dyslexic students. Most of them were certified dyslexics by experts in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.

Among all the 26 students, only 2 had exceptional problems with mathematics. I have also taught one student mathematics. She is an intelligent girl and was very fluent in her English and could read more fluently than most students in her school but had problems grasping mathematics. She READ FLUENTLY and as such she cannot be dyslexic. But she had a problem with mathematics. Would it be proper to call her dyslexic just because some Association decides to include dyscalculia and dysgraphia under the dyslexia umbrella?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

To teach or not to teach - Phonics

One of my first students, a girl refused to say the word fox despite being repeatedly asked to repeat after me. I have written about this in my article dated17th February 2010. Children prone to disengaging shut down when something illogical is taught to them.

My student refused to say the word fox as she had learnt from her former tuition teacher that the phoneme for the letter 'f' is “Fur/Fer”. As such, to her, the word fox cannot be sounded out the way I had sounded it out. If the alphabet ‘F’ carried the sound fer/fur then this word ‘fox’ must be sounded out as ‘fur-ox’. As such she had refused to say it the way I had pronounced it.

Now, I would have expected this kind of wrong teaching of phonemes in countries where English is taught as a second language. However, I just found out that it is rampant in US, Australia and UK too. No wonder the rate of illiteracy in these countries is on the increase.