Wednesday, June 10, 2020

The Problem with, "Show Me the Research" Thinking (Part 2)

This is a continuation from my post yesterday.
Accept a Little Professional Humility

Just as I finally accept some great truth in teaching, someone comes along and shows me that the Emperor has no clothes. Take a short trip into the world of today's education research, and you'll find many teaching practices we hold dear now suspect.

My comment: I believe many define humility as having a low opinion of oneself. This is probably true of the educators I have written to over the last decade who ignore what I have written to them. They cannot accept something coming from an Asian who is not even a trained teacher.

Humility is about showing respect and recognizing the truth in all situations. Looking at the message rather than the messenger.

The dictionary defines humility as "freedom from pride or arrogance." 

The problem with the educators who have found success is that they find it easy to dismiss feedback or criticisms from others. They do not realise or perhaps do not care that this leads to stagnation.

Yes, we have been teaching the pronunciation of phonemes, which is the foundation of learning to read, wrongly for decades and this teaching practice has been held dear for far too long. As I have said before, it is time for an educational revolution. 

If We Have No Time to Do the Research Ourselves, What Can We Do?
Properly conducted research in education is welcome. It catalyzes our next investigations and invites critical analysis from thoughtful educators.

My comment: I have said that I have done the required ‘research’ (in my own way). Actually, no further research is required as what I have been saying for a decade is something simple which scientists and researchers have been fighting in the name of ‘Reading War’. Any educator who had cared to think could have easily tested it out by asking kids who are unable to read to pronounce the sound represented by consonants.

Declaring, "Show me the research that this works, or I will refuse to do it," is a form of professional cowardice disguised as prudence. It takes professional courage to remain open to new possibilities, especially with the ones that threaten the status quo or our personal way of doing things. We can be skeptical instead of cynical, and we can ask questions instead of dismissing ideas outright.

My comment: Yes, we can ask questions similar to what Dr. David Zyngier did on Twitter. With questions, we get answers that make us more informed. Had my ideas not been dismissed outright we would have saved the sufferings of hundreds of thousands of students and parents of such children.

Let's read and respond to the research that is there–seriously, there's a lot out there that gets read only by other researchers, not classroom practitioners. Once we've read and discussed what's out there, let's get more invested in the research ourselves, conducting teacher action-research, forming Critical Friends Networks and Professional Learning Communities, and sharing what we find with each other and inviting its critique.
Let's be thoughtful about what we do on a daily basis, and ask the questions we never have time to ask: How do I know this works with each of my students?

My comment: Yes, let us ask ourselves why the reading war has been ongoing for decades. Let us now teach kids the correct pronunciation of phonemes with the confidence that it will definitely not shut down any kid.

1 comment:

Luqman Michel said...

Here are tweets from Pamela Snow and my responses:
'Dear Luqman I am not your on-call response service. I have replied previously, but b/c your approach to reading problems has a narrow focus (pronunciation of phonemes) there is little for us to discuss. I also see no reason to respond to ppl who are insulting, racist & rude'.

My response:
'Ma'am, I have been very polite in commenting on your blog. Show me the rudeness.
Now, if you say it is a narrow focus I beg to disagree.
Everything else, vocab, pronunciation and fluency come after being able to read.'

'I am giving you the one main reason why kids disengage from learning to read. I have learned this directly from my students.
Let us see your argument against this.'

Luqman Michel
9.6.2020 Replying to @PamelaSnow2@NathanielRSwain and 9 others
Final request.
Dear @PamelaSnow2
. I did not want to go down this road but do let me know when I was rude and made racial remarks at you so I may apologise and move on.
I want to concentrate on my quest.