Thursday, July 27, 2017

Dr. Thimothy Shanahan’s blog post on Phonics (Part 1)

Recently I came across a Blog maintained by Dr. Timothy Shanahan. I made the following comments and received his responses below.

At the bottom of this page you will see the link to Dr.Shanahan’s blog but for now let us look at my comments and his response.

I hope this discussion with Dr.Timothy Shanahan will continue.
Luqman Michel
Jul 20, 2017 09:47 AM
This is a very interesting topic. When I went to school most of my classmates and I could not speak a word of English but we had excellent teachers who taught us phonics the way it ought to be taught and we all learned English quite easily.

Dr. I have been teaching kids who had shut-down for more than 10 years now. I started learning everything I can from my students whom I teach on a one on one basis.

If you are willing to have an open mind and grill me in all that I can tell you about why kids shut-down in school and why there is such a high rate of students leaving school as functional illiterates then we can have a discussion like you have said here in your blog.

I can prove to you that the main cause of illiteracy is the teaching of the relationship between letters and the sounds represented by those letters.

A struggling student does have a problem with decoding because of being taught wrongly.

“Most struggling children are struggling because what they learned in the past is inadequately resourcing or maladaptively directing their current learning.
The most important step toward improving the health of our children’s learning is recognizing, understanding, and minimizing, unhealthy learning.” (James Wendorf)

Dr. Timothy Shanahan's response:

Jul 20, 2017 12:09 PM
The point isn't that phonics is an important thing to learn for English Learners, it is that it is not the only thing they need to learn. There is a reason that English proficiency is the top predictor of literacy learning for English learners.

My observation now: I just wonder if he understands what I am saying at all. OR is he being evasive? Are Dr. David Boulton, Dr. Reid Lyon and this Dr. Thimothy Shanahan ashamed to accept an answer to a question they have been searching for  more than 15 years from an unknown person from a developing country?
I just do not understand how his answer relates to my statements. If I were his teacher I’d fail him. Yet, it is people like him who go around US lecturing about teaching. No wonder the level of illiteracy remains the same as reported by him in The Children of the Code. (We will come to this later)
Does he understand what James Wendorf had said?
I repeat what I have written above:
1.        Teachers’ taught us phonics the way it ought to be taught and we all learned English quite easily.
Does this Dr. Timothy Shanahan understand the above statement? When Phonics is taught the way it ought to be taught all children will learn how to read. There will be no children who will shut-down or disengage from learning to read.

Here is Dr. Timothy Shanahan’s blog link:

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