Thursday, July 13, 2017

Why do kids shut-down (Part 2)

As stated earlier a child shuts down when what he is taught is not consistent with what he has been taught previously. I have explained this about one of my first students who refused to sound out the word fox. As far as she was concerned she had learned the sound of the letter f as fur/fer/fuh.

If the letter ‘o’ followed by the letter ‘x’ is ox, then fox must be fer-ox and not just fox as was sounded by me. I repeat; to this child and most shut down kids if the word ‘ox’ is the way it is sounded then adding an ‘f’ in front of the word ‘ox’ must be sounded ‘fer-ox’ or ‘fur-ox’ because she has been taught that the sound/phoneme for the letter ‘f’ is ‘Fer/fur/fuh’.

If the letter m is taught as mur/mer/muh then man should be pronounced as ‘mer –an’ and not man.
Let us remember that these are the 20% of kids who have to be taught explicitly. They have been taught the alphabet sounds wrongly for 2 years during the best part of their learning lives. This is now deep in the recesses of their brains and they are not going to listen to a new teacher in primary one who teachers them something that has been ingrained in their minds for the past two years in kindergarten.

It takes me about a month to get these kids to unlearn what has been taught, in their kindergarten and primary school in the more than 2 years, before they are able to learn to read.

Most kindergarten and tuition centres teach kids the wrong sound of words and when the kids prone to shutting down disengage from continuing to learn they are branded as stupid or lazy.

If these kids can read in Romanised Mandarin and in Malay both of which use the same alphabets as the English language then we have to ask ourselves as to why they are unable to read in English. It is simply that they aren’t being taught properly.

The Westerners who write about ‘Dyslexia’ cannot understand this concept as most of them only speak English and they loosely attribute this problem of shut-down learners being unable to read due to ‘Phonological awareness deficit’.  (We’ll address this at a later date.)

Please listen to skill number 2 in the video attached in the post in my blog. Most schools in Malaysia teach kids in kindergarten and primary one in this manner and this is one of the main reasons why kids shut down. Also read the comments in my post attached.

Please read my related post written in September 2015.

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