Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Extracts of interview – Timothy Shanahan in COTC (Part 5)

David Boulton:  The first thing that children who are struggling sense and come away with is that there must be something wrong with them.

Dr. Timothy Shanahan:  I think that’s true. I think most of us, if we fail at something, don’t blame the teacher or the book or the school. We blame ourselves.

David Boulton: You know, if Microsoft put out an operating system that 70% of the users couldn’t use or that was keeping them from ninety million potential customers that could use it but that weren’t able to use it, and they were losing hundreds of billions of dollars a year because of it, they would be trying to understand how to tune the user interface to make it work. It’s a technology, after all.  With our writing code, we act as if the problems are all in the minds of the users.

My comment: With hundreds of Millions expended and after 15 years of research and having interviewed hundreds of experts why haven't you come up with a solution as to why kids disengage from learning to read. Why don't you listen to people like me who has written to you and other members in your team several emails in 2015?

Dr. Timothy Shanahan:  I agree 100 percent. This is a time when people need to set these arguments aside and just go into a classroom, go into a school, go into a school district and start changing the kinds of things that need to be changed. When that happens, a really interesting thing happens. That is reading achievement starts to rise.

My comment: I agree with Dr. Timothy Shanahan – “ …..start changing the kinds of things that need to be changed” namely identify what sounds of letters have been wrongly taught to them, explain to them that they have been taught wrongly, then teach them the correct sounds. Tell them that many symbols in the English language have more than one sound, and soon enough these kids would be well on their way to reading proficiently in English.

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