I will be very busy for the next 45 days and will probably not post any new articles. However, I’ll continue re-posting the articles that I had posted in 2010 and 2011.
Here is an article I posted in Linkedin today in response to the trained teachers who insist that students should be taught on some scientific system.
I have mentioned that I am not a trained teacher but I have successfully taught dyslexic kids for the past 11 years. My experience as a parent having brought up 5 children who have all been top students in their school and 2 of them being top in the state of Sabah, and my common sense approach to teaching together with a keen sense of observation are the factors that have given me the confidence to teach and to talk about dyslexic kids.
Research reports from US that state that schools where intervention had taken place and where the rate of failure had been reduced from 30 odd % to around 3 % should indicate that something is wrong with the teaching methods in schools in US. Those who defend that ‘scientific methods of teaching’ is the only way to teach and that there is no place for individual opinions should think again about what they have uttered. The fact that intervention had reduced the % of kids who fail is proof enough that there is a right way of teaching. The fact that I have taught children who could hardly read to become kids who could read well just after about 3 months of tuition also proves this point. Unfortunately there are teachers who do not seem to know this or refuse to accept others’ experience in having taught reluctant and struggling students.
Teachers seem to focus their attention on children who can read regardless of how these 80% or so children are taught. Most of the teachers in US today had learnt using the ‘whole language’ method. They are the teachers who when they were kids would have learned to read regardless of how they have been taught. I teach all my students using ‘phonics’ and the Dolch sight words as I know that ‘whole language’ method will not work for reluctant and struggling students. I teach my dyslexic students to read from day one. As such they look forward to coming to tuition class.
However, there are many schools that teach phonics in many countries in the world and yet the % of illiterate students remains the same as it has been since the 70’s. What we need to ask is why this is so instead of saying that we need a ‘scientific system’ of teaching. How long have we been using this scientific system and what is the result, is what we need to ask ourselves. I repeat: the 80 odd % of kids will learn to read no matter how you teach but not the remaining 20% and these are the students we should focus on.
When I mention that a majority of reluctant and struggling students do not have a phonemic awareness problem because they can read in Italian, Malay and many other orthographical consistent languages, the so called experts brush it aside by saying that this is because these languages are shallow. Now, what has a shallow or deep language got to do with phonemic awareness? Can any of the teachers here please educate me on this matter? Just because a researcher some 35 years ago had said that dyslexics have a phonemic/ phonological awareness deficit every other researcher echoes him without thinking what it means.
I have mentioned that I have seen kids’shutting down when something confusing/illogical is taught to them. The book Tipping point by Malcolm Gladwell says that children watching TV programmes do the same thing. Don’t we want to ask why? Do we want to still talk about whether to teach kids f/ur or f/u/r/. I have taught my reluctant students both ways and found that they get confused when I have been teaching them letter by letter and suddenly change to letter combinations when it was time to teach blending. Please refer to my posts in my blog dated 17.3.2010 and 18.3.2010. Like Deng Xiao Ping had once said “It does not matter whether the cat is black or white as long as it can catch mice”. Likewise let’s keep an open mind and try and learn from one another instead of brushing off others who may have much more experience in having taught reluctant and struggling students. They too spend a lot of money and time blogging to help, and have successfully helped, many parents with such students. Take a little time to read the comments of parents and teachers from many parts of the world in my blog.
If there is nothing wrong with the way teachers are teaching there will not be as many reluctant and struggling students. As I have said, the reluctant and struggling students are those who have ‘shut-down’ because teachers do not teach letter sound correspondences the way they need to be taught.
Petrol is a good fuel but you cannot put inpetrol and expect a diesel engine to work.
If the way teachers teach is right there will not be as many reluctant and struggling students as there are now.