Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Donna Lee Fields on openmindedness in LinkedIn.


Here is a post on LinkedIn on 24.12.23 by Donna Lee Fields and our discussion.


Donna Lee Fields's profile on LinkedIn says: 1st International Teacher-Trainer/Podcast Host.

Donna Lee Fields

When I asked Shelly Winterboer to define 'education', these were her first words. How could you expand on them?


For me, education is freedom… education expands my mindset. (Shelly Winterboer)

Note: Shelly Winterboer’s profile states: Providing services Life Coaching, Public Speaking, Team Building, and Interview Preparation.


I replied as follows:

Education has expanded my mindset to look at anything I read with an open mind.

The Western world is far behind in reading compared with Singapore because they refuse to have an open mind.


Donna Lee Fields then replied:

Thanks so much for the expanded definition, Luqman. I would say that Shelly might contradict your statement in that she says straight out that education has helped her expand her mind. We all start at different points so expansion has different measures for each one of us. I'm not sure if we can put everyone in the Western world in a box the way you're portraying us, though I've never been to Singapore and so the view from there might be that everyone else is very relatively close-minded. I would be very interested to experience a Singaporean’s perspective sometime. Happy Holidays Luqman!

Note: I too have not been to Singapore for over 40 years. I live in Sabah, Malaysia.

Luqman Michel

Donna Lee Fields, I would like to discuss this matter with Shelly if she decides to contradict my statement. Shelly could be an exception. Perhaps I should have said that a majority are not open-minded.

Let me ask you, Shelly and anyone else you want to name, why is Singapore number one every 3 years in reading in the PISA tests while countries like the US and UK are not even in the top ten?


Donna Lee Fields

Luqman Michel I'd love to put you in touch with Shelly. I'll send her a message and ask her if she'd like to communicate directly with you, though you can send her a message yourself through LinkedIn. Shelly Winterboer.  As for the billions of other Westerners, I would say that Shelly probably isn't the only open-minded person represented in the culture. As for the PISA scores, while I am a proponent of what they stand for in general, the reading test section doesn't test open-mindedness, it tests concrete abilities to understand and interpret and only in the best cases, to conceptualise the work. Could Singapore be focusing on exams or does each school celebrate personalised interpretations of concepts and ideas? From what I know about the society (and I admit it's not extensive) it seems to have a very strict emphasis on conformity, which is diametrically opposed to open-mindedness. Could you explain the contradiction? Thanks so much, Luqman.

Luqman Michel  

Putting me in touch with Shelly Winterboer will be a good idea.

I did not say that the reading test in PISA tests open-mindedness.

My question is why are Singapore students who have to learn English as well as their mother tongue always number 1 in the PISA reading tests? Why is the US not even in the top ten?

When I said open-mindedness I was talking about the educators who have already made up their minds and either refuse to think or are incapable of thinking when there is no research report on a subject discussed.

I can provide specific examples if you want to discuss them.

I look forward to a fruitful discussion with you and Shelly on this matter.


Luqman Michel

Donna Lee Fields do you think initial input (into kids' minds) is important?



If so what has anyone in the Western world done to get rid of programmes that teach the wrong sounds of the letters of the alphabet?

I had two videos teaching the wrong sounds terminated by YouTube.

What has anyone from the Western world done to stop Charlie and the Alphabet from being aired in over a hundred countries?

I wrote several letters to the producer and Reading Reform Foundation UK to no avail. Here is one of my posts on this.


This is one of the main reasons that kids shut down/ disengage from learning to read.

Why do Westerners think that teaching the sounds of the letters without extraneous sounds is not possible?

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