Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Katherine Billington vs Luqman Michel

I want to cut down on my posts and concentrate on teaching kids remotely. 

I am currently teaching a 11 year old kid in Kenya, Africa, to read and spell. I have not taught anyone on spelling but I am now reading on that and therefore busy.

Katherine Wang who disconnected me on 25.4.2020 has resurfaced and has started harassing me together with her cronies. 

I don’t want to go down this road but…

This is the conversation on messenger between Kathie Wang aka Katherine Billington and me.
The comments/explanation in red is now added by me on 15.7.2020.

Katherine Wang

Children do not Shut down they just get shut out. 
But this is what happens with kids. If they can't map phonemes to graphemes, they are adrift as soon as they teach blends, and so they can't get blends and then they can sound out satnip and they can't read any of the words and they have nothing to hang any sight words they need to learn. So these children do not Shut down and its highly offensive to suggest that they do, because they are excluded not consciously excluding themselves.

My comment: This is what my whole blog is about. Kids cannot map phonemes to graphemes. Some kids somehow appear to map regardless of how they are taught. A majority figure it out after wasting an inordinate amount of time. About 20% disengage from learning to read. I have called these 20% shut down kids based on a word shut down learners used by Dr.Richard Selznick in the late 1990s’.

Kids are unable to blend because they are taught the pronunciation of phonemes wrongly. I believe it is the smart kids who like to learn things logically who shut down when they can’t make sense of what is being taught. How do they blend cuh- oh-tuh to form coat? I have several videos on how phonemes are taught wrongly. 

Fortunately, a majority of kids figure out how to read but in the process of figuring out they miss out on much of what goes on in class such as grammar, comprehension, fluency, etc. You may listen to two video clips of kids in Australia who pronounce the phonemes they were taught and yet are able to read fluently. You can find them here and here. 

Let me use the term Dolch words as there will be no confusion about what I am writing on. Edward Dolch compiled a list of 220 words that comprise about 70% of words in children’s’ books. I teach my students these words by rote memory and they have no problem learning them. I have explained this in detail on my blog post here.

I disagree with Katherine saying that kids do not consciously exclude themselves. I base this on what I have learned from my students since 2004 by observing them and interviewing them. I have many corroborative pieces of evidence which you can find in my book ‘Shut down kids’. Almost all my students could read in Malay and those who went to Chinese schools could read in Romanised Mandarin. 

As an analogy shutting down can be likened to say, a Christian talking to friends in a group. A person of another religion may be present and hearing what is being spoken but hardly listening to anything as his mind is already made up.  

Politics would make another good analogy. Those who have made up their mind to vote a certain party will not listen to anything one says about another party. They may hear but not listen.

I can allegorise it as it’s like all the kids are in the swimming pool in the shallow end and the teacher teaches them the basics and then he takes the class a bit deeper.  Some of the kids are very low on swimming ability and some are even very short and soon they are either holding on to the teacher for dear life if messing around in the shallow end, because that was encouraged at the beginning to build up confidence but now they are getting reprimanded for it, and their classmates are moving further and further away and the teacher has abandoned them.
There are regional differences in the pronunciation throughout the English diaspora of the phonemes and it does not impact the illiteracy rate.

My comment: This is an excuse given by many educators and parents. I am not talking about regional differences in pronunciation of words. I am talking about the teaching of phonemes of consonants wrongly. Many of the educators keep saying that consonants cannot be pronounced without extraneous sounds but the videos here by an African American lady and that of a preschool kid here shows it can. Some letters are more difficult but that should not be an excuse for teaching them with extraneous sounds.

I do not know how Literacy is taught in your part of Malaysia, but please understand unless you have been teaching in the UK you have no right to assume what you are doing is anyway similar and talk down to these educators who have been teaching for half their careers.

My comment: Unfortunately, this has now crept into many schools in Malaysia. Listen to kids in a school in Malaysia pronouncing the phonemes of a few letters here. This was not the way we were taught in the late 50s’.

I have not talked down to educators. However, I call a spade a spade and I name the educators I am talking about so that they may defend themselves.

Educators like Dr.David Boulton should not be able to get away after having spent billions of taxpayer’s money over 15 years with statements such as; we are not giving a solution as we do not want to be accused of having an agenda.

Educator like Dr.Timothy Shanahan can’t ask for proof that consonants should not be taught with extraneous sounds and get away with such idiotic statements. You may read about PL Thomas, Robert Slavin, Diane Ravitch on my blog. They should all be made answerable to the public.  

Pretty soon they get out the pool. And go and find a football.
These kids are just left behind in Literacy and it takes 10 times as much teaching effort to get them back on the right track to learning to read.
It’s just easier for the schools to say there is a problem with the kid and or their family, because they haven't got the knowhow let alone the time/budget to do anything about it.
This is all made so much easier when parents getting the kids diagnosed as dyslexic, because then it proves they couldn't ever teach them anyway and they sleep much better at night.

There is a lot you can learn from them before you can teach them anything.

My comment: Yes, these kids are told that they are creative and made to do things that do not require much reading. But, what if someone like me teaches them correct pronunciation and tells them that they have been taught the foundation for learning to read wrongly? 

Did we ask how Tom Cruise was able to read at the age of 22 when he was a functional illiterate in school?

Luqman Michel

So these children do not Shut down and it's highly offensive to suggest that they do?

Katherine Wang

They get not help most of them are desperate to learn to read.

Luqman Michel

I did explain in my response to your comment. Did you read my response? The word shut down was coined by a professor in the US. It simply means smart kids do not want to continue listening to the teacher because they feel the teacher does not know what she is talking. This is caused by confusion created by the teaching of pronunciation of phonemes.

My comment: Teaching the wrong pronunciation of phonemes is one of 3 things that cause kids to shut down or disengage from learning to read. I have written all about this on my blog and also on my YouTube videos. All done at my own expense for the good of parents around the world who care to listen. I also printed 100 copies of books, in a set of 3, and gave them away free despite having no income. One set was received by a teacher in Australia who is now using them to successfully teach kids to read. Even a 4 ½ year old kid can learn to memorise Dolch words and read using Phonics.

Katherine Wang

Yes, but just because a professor 40 years ago used a term does not mean that the world and the understanding of the volition of children in the process of learning has changed.

My comment: I am stopping here for today and will continue another day. It has taken me close to 2 hours to type this out as I type using 2 fingers. Too bad I did not learn to type faster.

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