Here is a tweet I read this morning, 7.9.2023 and my reply.
Dear lovely Twitter people, can you help? (Yes I am talking directly to you dear reader). I am trying to create a list of education interventions that were popular, but in hindsight were built on correlational not causation studies.
Does anything come to mind?
I know of no study, other than mine, dealing with causation.
I am not a trained teacher and had worked in the accounting/audit field until the age of 52 when I was cajoled into teaching a kid who had gone to 2 years of school and was unable to read even a single sentence in English.
I was curious how such an intelligent kid was unable to read. I decided to research and discovered that most of the students I started teaching on a one-on-one basis, from 2004 to 2019, were able to read in Malay and those who went to vernacular school could read in Malay and Hanyu Pinyin but not in English.
From 2004 to 2010 I scanned the internet and read articles, almost on a daily basis, on the cause of ‘dyslexia’. The reason attributed to ‘dyslexia’ at that time was the more than 35-year-old theory that it was a phonological awareness deficit.
In 2010, when I started my blog, I began writing extensively on social media I disagreed with the theory that it is a phonological awareness deficit that is the cause of ‘dyslexia’.
I wrote several emails to universities and researchers/educators. A few replied favourably, a few disagreed with me and said they would stand by what they had written and most did not reply at all.
Three of the researchers namely Dr. Joe Torgesen, Dr. Richard Selznick and Dr. David Kilpatrick were very encouraging and discussed this matter over many emails.
To cut the story short, the theory that phonological awareness deficit is the cause of ‘dyslexia’ was debunked in 2017.
Since 2010, I have consistently asked the question on social media and have not received a reply because no one appears to understand the reasons I have explained in my book ‘Shut Down Kids’.
The cause of kids being unable to read in English but able to read in Malay and other transparent languages can be figured out by asking relevant questions.
One of the questions I have asked many times is, how was I able to confidently tell Alanna Maurin that I will be able to get her son to read in a short period of time. I met Alanna Maurin who has a Master’s in Education and a highly respected teacher in Australia teaching grade 4 classes. She was distraught that her son was unable to read despite having received a year of Specialised Systematic Synthetic Phonics from a tuition centre in Australia.
What was my basis for telling Alanna that I would be able to get her son to read in a few weeks? I asked Alanna for a recording of the sounds represented by the letters. That was enough for me to tell her the cause of her son being unable to read. Of course, I know this from having taught more than 80 similar kids.
One important thing is that I never talked to her son or taught him. I gave the links to my lessons to Alanna and it was she who taught him.
In 2015 Timothy Shanahan told me that 50 students (at that time) was not enough of a population for evaluation. This of course is contrary to the Tamil proverb which says that to test if a pot of rice is cooked one grain of rice is enough.
In December/January 2020/2021 Dr. Sam Bommarito together with Timothy Shanahan was in the Twitter conversation with Alanna. When Alanna’s son became keen on reading she asked the ‘experts’ in the Twitter discussion if anyone knew why her son was keen on reading just after 2 lessons and Dr. Sam replied that her son probably had met the right teacher. He gave the standard answer that no two children are the same. The other educators said nothing.
For those who have not seen the discussion between Alanna and me, please read it LINK and then ask me any questions you may have.
Get a copy of my book at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CG26MJBY