Sunday, September 24, 2017

Winning , Losing and Discovery

I don’t know if the following comment in LinkedIn refers to me but allow me to assume it is meant for me and see how I will respond if it was directed at me.

“I find the tone in how one argues makes a difference. Often it sounds as if the tones have a subtext of accusing the other person of moral failure, so it's not blatantly ad hominem but the "music" of the argument makes it so, and that just makes the other more entrenched, because they might lose face. But if you just ask a lot of questions with genuine inquiry, they might go away and change their minds, but do so privately. This way it doesn't become about winning or losing, but about discovery.”

The following was my off the cuff comment to the above.

I quote Annaleese McNamara : "But if you just ask a lot of questions with genuine inquiry, they might go away and change their minds, but do so privately. This way it doesn't become about winning or losing, but about discovery."

I don't understand why tone is that big an issue on important matters. Way back in 2010 I wrote about 'Phonological awareness deficit not being the cause of dyslexia'. I honestly do not know if the 'tones' were wrong. I wrote to more than 20 professors over several months. There were professors who had simply echoed what one revered professor had said about 35 years prior to 2010 and everyone latched on to his research paper without thinking. 

Despite logical explanations, in my emails to them, none of the professors accepted what I had 'discovered'. I wrote to more than 30 universities to no avail. After a few years new research reports were out singing the same song I had sung.

Additional comment now:

“…subtext of moral failure…………”  This appears interesting but I will come back to this another day and would be grateful for comments.

I quote “But if you just ask a lot of questions with genuine inquiry, they might go away and change their minds, but do so privately. This way it doesn't become about winning or losing, but about discovery.”

The emails to David Boulton and many other professors in 2010 have not surfaced until now. As of now they are still undisclosed.
i.                     Was mine not genuine inquiry?
ii.                   Were my emails not private?
iii.                  Is my case a matter of winning or losing? If it was, would I have not written to the more than 20 professors saying or rather singing “I am the winner, I am the winner”. Did I write to anyone and say “I told you so”?

No, I did not as it is not important anymore. I wanted the world to accept my discovery and it has been accepted. Yes, it is about discovery. Sadly it is not Luqman’s discovery but so what? What does it matter?

Now, let us look at Timothy Shanahan's blog in 2015 – that is 5 years after my emails to all the experts who had echoed what one guy had told the world more than 35 years ago.

The term dyslexia has been, justifiably, controversial, and has consequently been avoided by most reading educators—including me.
There are scads of studies revealing that dyslexia is phonological in nature. That is, students with this disorder have a particularly difficult time perceiving phonemes and coordinating this perception with the letters on the page.

…. NICHD research suggests that when elementary kids have reading problems, they tend to be problems with phonological awareness and decoding about 86% of the time.”

My comment: Don’t forget “Scads (numerous) of studies revealing that dyslexia is phonological in nature”. 

Also, please remember this was in 2015 when what I wrote was in 2010.

What does Timothy Shanahan say in September 2017 in his blog above?(Revision of his 2015 blog post)

“This explanation of dyslexia seems especially pertinent ….. and the only thing I would change in it now is the estimate of the phonological/phonemic awareness role in reading problems. There are some more recent data in relatively large studies suggesting a somewhat lower incidence of these problems at least with some populations; that wouldn't change the overall thrust of this much, but it would be, perhaps, more accurate.”

My comments: Look at the dates – I wrote extensively to professors, universities, Dyslexia Associations, Ministers of Education in UK, US, NZ and Australia and in comments in blogs and anywhere I could write in 2010. I wanted the misguided definition that dyslexics could not read because of phonological awareness deficit to be done away with.

Many of the professors who just echoed what one guy had told many years ago did not respond to my emails but one did and apologised saying that she is not an expert in this and referred me to Dr.Sharon Vaugn whom she had quoted.

I wrote to Sharon Vaugn an introductory email which received an immediate response.

I then immediately wrote and asked her about her stand on Phonological awareness and its role in dyslexic kids and said that I disagree with what I have read and gave her reasons for my disagreement. There was no response.

Were my emails to Sharon Vaugn private or not? I am disclosing about this email only now to let you all know that it was private.

Wouldn’t it be better to admit a mistake for the benefit of the kids of the future? Is face saving more important than Millions of children all over the world who are classified wrongly as dyslexics?

Not responding to questions appears to be a practice among many professors in US. There are a few exceptions like Prof Joe Togerson and Dr. Richard Selznick and our Prof.James Chapman in NZ.

Note: See how our Timothy Shanahan covers his mistake in 2015 with “suggesting a somewhat lower incidence of these problems at least with some populations; that wouldn't change the overall thrust of this much, but it would be, perhaps, more accurate.”

What is my purpose of writing all this now?

1.       To request educators to use common sense and think for the benefit of our future generation.
2.       To not blindly rely on past research reports. If what is informed makes sense and appears contradictory to what is commonly believed then do a research without being biased.
3.       To listen to those who are speaking from experience.
4.       To ask yourself as to why one – Luqman - would spend so much time writing to various universities, professors etc. Does he have an agenda? Did he subsequently write to all the universities and professors and say “I told you so”?
5.       To inform those who had commented in the page above about ‘wrong tone’ that they should not just look at the current event and make a wrong conclusion. Like I said I have been writing on two issues. One (Phonological awareness deficit being the cause of dyslexia) has been resolved and one more which is even more important than the one resolved and needs to be discussed by all concerned educators – ‘Why kids disengage from learning to read?’

This is getting too long. Let me come back next week with the balance of comment in the post above and my response.

I had kept my emails private. I used courteous language. I wrote again to David Boulton in 2015 without reminding him of the emails in 2010.

I did not write to any of the professors or University asking them for some acknowledgement of my contribution. (Perhaps I should have requested for an honorary degree of some kind as I see many educators viewing my profile in LinkedIn and then not bothering to respond to my comment in their posts.)

 If I have to say so myself:

1.        I am the first person in the world to say that ‘phonological awareness deficit’ is not the cause of dyslexics not being able to read.
2.       I am the first person in the world to come up with an answer to the frequently asked question as to why the illiteracy level is as high as it has been for decades.

The important matter is the future of our children and that is all that matters to me right now. This is not a matter of revenge or making people ‘lose face’. I have asked again and again to be grilled on what I have found.

For those who come mid way of discussions and comment without knowing what is going on, I would urge you to read my past posts before jumping in.

My contention is that a majority of kids who are classified as dyslexics are classified wrongly. These kids are unable to read because they have been taught phonics in the wrong way which confuses them. Read my past articles carefully and grill me.


Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Firstly, i do like the pic as it certainly brings some humour to the debates that seem to detract from the main argument.
Michel has, as a result of supporting students with learning disability, uncovered a problem which he has highlighted.

He has arrived at some conclusions as a result of his personal reflections and also as a result of his adapted teaching strategies that differ from the mainstream approach. For that he has to be commended. He has had the courage to commence a blog for a particularly disadvantaged group of children to highlight the very real problems faced by his students and parents.

I am fully aware that scientific studies and empirical research carry more weight than the arts. However since the 1990's Donald Schnoz's theory on Reflective practive has gained momentum. It advocates a balance between empirical science and professional artistry, that not only does theory feed practice but that intuitive practical knowledge could be the ideas that require scintific research.
Action research would lend itself well to Michels practical knowledge. It is a pity that no organisation or educational institution has identified the potential for researching an identified problem. It could produce a groundswell of rich findings that could ultimately change the teaching strategies for disadvantaged children which facilitate learning styles that would empower the children and their parents, thus ultimately impacting on society positively.


Jase Ayathorai. PGCEA, LLB

September 26, 2017 at 3:48 AM

Luqman Michel said...

Thank you for your insightful comment. It is much appreciated.

Yes, I request all educators to ‘think’ and ‘analyse’ what I have been writing on since 2010. Unless we make the significant changes required viz. teach proper sounds of alphabets, the illiteracy level is going to be at the same level it has been for more than 30 years.

I pray that an organization or educational institution will research into the problems identified by many researchers and the solutions provided by me to those questions raised.

I have mentioned that Theory development relies on research and research relies on theory in my post at: