Saturday, July 11, 2020

An open letter to La Trobe University

Here are emails to and from La Trobe University which are self-explanatory. 

The response from the university is similar to responses I have received from NZ and OZ since 2010.

Do read my email and then read the response to my email.

How in the world are we ever going to eradicate illiteracy or improve our education if we have educators and universities responding in such a manner?

luqman michel,,,
Thu, 25 Jun at 15:04
Dear Teachers,

I saw a tweet, a few days ago, stating that there is going to be a nationwide push for universities to improve teacher education courses with La Trobe University seeking to lead the way.

Allow me to please share what I have learned from teaching more than 70 so-called dyslexic kids on a one on one basis since 2004.

I am not a trained teacher and my training is in the audit line.

I was cajoled into teaching a kid who had spent a year in kindergarten and one year in primary one and was unable to read a single sentence.

I was curious as to why such a smart kid who could speak good English was unable to read.

I quit working in the audit line and started doing ‘research’ on why kids were able to read in Malay but not in English. I have since then taught more than 70 kids on a one on one basis.

I observed each of my students and ‘interviewed’ them and have found out directly from them as to why they could read in Malay and those who went to Chinese schools could read in romanised Mandarin but unable to read in English.

I learned that it is due to confusion which is caused by two main reasons.

1.       Teachers teaching them the wrong pronunciation of the sounds of consonants.

2.       Teachers not informing them that letters represent more than one phoneme.

I taught my students to unlearn what they have been wrongly taught and started teaching them the correct pronunciation of consonants.

Within a short period, these so-called dyslexic kids were able to read well.

Most of my former students are now in universities and are doing well.

My first student is in his final year in a university in Adelaide doing a double degree in Accounting and finance.

Many others are in the 1st to 3rd year in local universities.

I request your university to, please, seriously look into this main aspect to ensure that kids do not disengage/ shut down from learning to read.

Let us end the reading wars and alleviate the sufferings of kids as well as parents of such kids.

I understand that Prof. Pamela Snow will be leading the research. Since 2018, I have been trying to discuss with her what I have discovered but she seems to have a closed mind. She thinks that there are many other matters that go into learning to read.

I know there are many other matters such as vocabulary, comprehension, fluency etc. However, not teaching the correct pronunciation of phonemes of consonants creates confusion among many students who then disengage from learning to read. Anything taught once a kid has shut down will not be received by the kid.

As I have said on my blog posts, the foundation of learning is akin to the foundation of a building. If the foundation is not sound then there is no point in talking about pillars, beams, rafters and purlins.

You are welcome to read my blog posts where I have written all that I have learned from my students.

Feel free to ask any questions you may have on my posts.

         “Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere
                     ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”

Kindly acknowledge receipt of this email.

Thank you and kind regards,



Claire Bowers
Cc:Kathryn Powley,Dragana Mrkaja,Emily Greaves
Fri, 26 Jun at 10:21

Dear Mr Michel,

Thank you for your email expressing your concerns. As I am sure you understand, it is a matter of academic freedom for staff at the University to choose when and how they engage in public debate in their areas of expertise.

Kind regards,


I responded as follows and did not receive any reply.

Response: An open letter to La Trobe university
Yahoo Mail/Sent

luqman michel
To:Claire Bowers
Fri, 26 Jun at 12:02
Dear Claire,

Thank you for your response.

Of course, engaging in public debate is up to the individual.

However, Professors should read links of tweets if they want to make any comments at all
or refrain from making comments and clicking 'like' as this will create the wrong impression among parents and other educators.

In other words, if you are unsure of what someone is twitting either ask for an explanation or stay silent. Don't poke your nose in the wrong place.

I have suggested to Pamela that the 'Reading wars' is ongoing because of the wrong teaching of phonemes of consonants.

This is not one of the causes but the reason for kids disengaging from learning to read.

Anyway, I have brought it up with you and the ball is now in your court.
Regards and stay safe.
Luqman Michel

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