Monday, December 11, 2023

Anna Stokke's podcast with Matthew Burns - Final Part


Here is the fourth and final part of Anna Stokke's podcast with Matther Burns.

Anna Stokke:

About some of the education thought leaders, sometimes you could even call them education celebrities, I think. And we see this in both reading and math. Do you think maybe they get caught up in the positive attention that they're receiving and that this may be why they don't step back on the claims they've made, even when it comes to light that there are problems with some of the ideas they promote?

Matthew Burns:

And I think because of that, people telling you that your stuff is so great and people tell you what you say is true, that you sort of start to believe it.

And you get to the point where you can say, “Well, I think it's true. Therefore, it must be.” So I think we researchers need to be more self-critical and self-reflective. We need to recognize “What I'm thinking based on evidence, or is it something I think is true because I think it's true?” So I really challenge other researchers to engage in that level of self-reflection because you can get caught up in it really easily.

My comment:

Wow! Matthew has put it very well. Do read his excellent response above, again.

Many of these education celebrities have ‘tunnel vision’. Since 2010 I wrote to more than 20 researchers that the more than 35-year-old theory that phonological awareness deficit was the cause of dyslexia was incorrect. I explained with corroborative evidence why I thought so but most of them did not respond. You may read a few of my articles/comments by Googling. LINK

There were researchers such as Tunmer and James Chapman who said that they would stand by what they had written.

Researchers such as Sharon Vaughn, and Sally Shaywitz refused to respond despite several tagging on social media. Sally deleted the whole of her post and my comments from the Yale website when research articles confirmed what I had disagreed with.

Maryanne Wolf, replied and strayed from my question.  

Tim Conway, deleted the whole debate we had on LinkedIn.

David Boulton blocked me on LinkedIn when I told him that 2 of his videos were teaching the wrong sounds of letters which was one of the main reasons for kids to disengage from learning to read. He deleted his videos after blocking me.

Read my post here including the comments.

Timothy Shanahan did not agree with me in 2015 but changed his stand in 2017 when research reports surfaced agreeing with what I said. Here are extracts of my blog post in September 2017.

Now, let us look at Timothy Shanahan's blog in 2015 – that is 5 years after my emails to all the experts who had echoed what one guy had told the world more than 35 years ago.


“The term dyslexia has been, justifiably, controversial, and has consequently been avoided by most reading educators—including me.

    There are scads of studies revealing that dyslexia is phonological in nature. That is, students with this disorder have a particularly difficult time perceiving phonemes and coordinating this perception with the letters on the page.

    …. NICHD research suggests that when elementary kids have reading problems, they tend to have problems with phonological awareness and decoding about 86% of the time.”

What does Timothy Shanahan say in September 2017 in his blog above? (Revision of his 2015 blog post)


“This explanation of dyslexia seems especially pertinent ….. and the only thing I would change in it now is the estimate of the phonological/phonemic awareness role in reading problems. There are some more recent data in relatively large studies suggesting a somewhat lower incidence of these problems at least with some populations; that wouldn't change the overall thrust of this much, but it would be, perhaps, more accurate.”


Andrew Johnson wanted evidence other than personal anecdotes and stopped communicating with me.

I wonder how most of the Ph.Ds. were so adamant based on what one guy had said many years ago. What happened to logic and common sense?    

Yes, they get caught up in the positive attention they receive and refuse to step back on the claims they have made.

There are those (not researchers but who call themselves educators) who block me, such as Jennifer Buckingham, Pamela Snow, Jo-Anne Gross, Greg Ashman and many others, when I disagree with what they have written.

Matthew Burns:

It was a combination. It was, you know, there was a group in the States called Decoding Dyslexia, and they are a group of parents who became interested in reading and saying, “Look, my kids aren't learning how to read, and we need to know what's going on.” Now, part of their solution was to identify children with dyslexia.

I'm not sure that's, the solution. But part of the solution was, no, we need better research-based reading practice. And that way predates anything, you know, Emily did, et cetera. In fact, I was working with Decoding Dyslexia in Minnesota. I mean back in like, you know, 2004, 2005, certainly by 2006, 2007.

My comment: The admin of many dyslexia groups on any social media are those with a vested interest and block me when I make a comment. They are not interested in reducing illiteracy but only to dupe the distraught parents into buying their products.

Anyway, what does one mean by saying ‘kids with dyslexia’. Why are kids who can’t read classified as dyslexic? When they can read do they become ‘kids without dyslexia’?

I wrote to more than 30 dyslexia associations around the world. Here is one from Dyslexia Scotland that is worth taking a look at. 

At the bottom of the email above you will find an update on 22.6.23.

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