Thursday, September 28, 2023

Who defines bad teachers – A Tweet by Jeff McDougall


Here is a tweet by ‘The Madwoman in the Classroom’ @heymrsbond

As a teacher, I call out bad teachers and bad teaching because those people and practices make my life harder.

Some of us are working our asses off to build more sustainable school systems and some people are undermining us at every turn.

Jeff McDougall

Who defines bad teachers?  You?  What research do you do to make this definition?  All teachers work their asses off is a better way to start.

I have seen many such tweets asking some serious questions but the Tweeter does not respond to replies. But, I decided to reply anyway.


Luqman Michel @luqmanmichel

Many teachers teach wrongly (Grades 1 & 2) which results in kids disengaging from learning to read and are then wrongly classified as dyslexic. I did the research from 2004 to 2019. I won't call them bad teachers but they don't know better. You are welcome to discuss this with me.

Then, for the first time on Social Media, someone asked a question based on my reply.

Amy Williams @getawaywithela

I would love to see your research because this is the argument I’m trying to make. We have too many kids getting to the upper grades unable to read, some kids are in RTI and have been for years. 40 hours a week with kids, and some aren’t making progress? Something isn’t right.


Firstly, the meaning of RTI. It means Response to Intervention. (RTI) is a system of support that schools put in place to provide high-quality education to students with disabilities. It was originally developed as an overall framework for the prediction, remediation and prevention of negative outcomes common to students with disabilities.

If a teacher spends 40 hours per week and some are not making progress, then something isn’t right as Tweeted by Amy. What isn’t right is what I have been blogging for a decade. Teachers are barking up the wrong tree.

From 2004 to 2010 after teaching similar kids, to research why intelligent kids could read in Malay and Hanyu Pinyin but not in English, I discovered that the more than 35-year-old theory that phonological awareness deficit is the cause of dyslexia (kids not being able to read) was incorrect. I then wrote numerous articles disagreeing with that theory until that theory was debunked in 2017. LINK

In 2018, I wrote a book – Shut Down Kids – detailing why kids disengage from learning to read. No one has disputed the causes of why kids disengage from learning to read. However, many educators and even podcasters have said my ideas are simplistic. They do not come up with an alternative cause but simply brush off my discoveries. Therein lies the answer to Amy’s ‘some aren’t making progress’.

If a child is limping because of a thorn under his foot, the real remediation would start with removing the thorn first. Our Westerners put an ointment and keep wondering why the kid is still limping.

The Westerners read my explanation of the causes and say that there must be other causes and yet do not provide alternative causes.

Many including guys like Tim Rasinski and Sam Bommarito say that to decode you need to be able to comprehend. How do we ever get into the heads of these educators?

Let us not forget Jeff McDougall the guy who tweeted. He has not said a thing after his first tweet just like all other Tweeters I have replied to.

I hope there will be more educators like Amy Williams who will ask questions with the intention to learn and share.

Educators should accept the fact that my book ‘Teach Your Child to Read’ gets kids to read with minimal adult guidance. They should ask themselves why it works with any kid with no acuity problems. Instead of doing this, they keep waging wars that have been ongoing for decades.  

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