TES: Is dyslexia a middle-class badge for illiteracy?

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Susan Godsland
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Post by Susan Godsland » Tue Apr 21, 2009 1:16 pm

Record numbers of young people are not in any form of education, employment or training (Neets), according to figures published today by the Conservatives.

Figures published by the government last month showed 16- to 18-year-old Neets rose by 8.5% in 2008
http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/200 ... -education

What I'd like to know is what percentage of Neets are unable to read, especially as the government is going to reclassify them as criminals:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/ ... Neets.html
So, numerous initiatives and a decade later, the Government is staring failure in the face. Now ministers are preparing one more heave: their latest plan is to tackle the Neet problem by reclassifying them as criminals. From 2013, those who fail to stay on in education or on-the-job training will be served with Asbo-style "attendance orders" or fined £50.

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Post by Susan Godsland » Thu Sep 17, 2009 12:36 pm

On the first page of this thread, Yvonne flagged the following paper by Elliott and Gibbs, which I was very keen to read.

My luck was in! I asked my local library if they could get hold of the actual journal for me so I could read the article. The response was better than that -they could get me a photocopy of the complete article for a small sum (£5-50 which included the cost of photocopying and making an inter-library loan) which I could then keep. I collected the photocopied article from my local library -it took a couple of weeks to arrive.

I thought you might be interested in knowing about this library service.
Does Dyslexia Exist?
JULIAN G. ELLIOTT 1 and SIMON GIBBS 1

Journal of Philosophy of Education
Volume 42 Issue 3-4, Pages 475 - 491
Special Issue: New Philosophies of Learning: Edited by Ruth Cigman and Andrew Davis
Published Online: 22 Jan 2009
Journal compilation © 2009 The Journal of the Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain

ABSTRACT

In this paper we argue that attempts to distinguish between categories of 'dyslexia' and 'poor reader' or 'reading disabled' are scientifically unsupportable, arbitrary and thus potentially discriminatory. We do not seek to veto scientific curiosity in examining underlying factors in reading disability, for seeking greater understanding of the relationship between visual symbols and spoken language is crucial.

However, while stressing the potential of genetics and neuroscience for guiding assessment and educational practice at some stage in the future, we argue that there is a mistaken belief that current knowledge in these fields is sufficient to justify a category of dyslexia as a subset of those who encounter reading difficulties. The implications of this debate for large-scale intervention are outlined.

http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/jour ... 1&SRETRY=0
BTW, the article is now on my 'recommended read' list.

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Government ignorance

Post by MonaMMcNee » Thu Sep 17, 2009 12:57 pm

Today I read that government proposes to kprovide "ten hours of one-to-one tuition". ?Some only need 2-3, some need 10, some need endless lessons. This is a clear example of "one does not fit all".
25,000 have registered for 1-1 training. They will be paid £25-29 per hour. No rowdy class control, how lovely!

They just have to close down this floundering DCSF - and save, "cut", £50bn or so. Education, schools might then pop up like corks in a rough sea, free from the yoke, millstone round their necks this last half-century.

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Post by Susan Godsland » Thu Sep 17, 2009 3:49 pm

Mona, that's the government's 'Making Good Progress' one-to-one literacy tutoring project for 10 and 11yr.olds.

I did a bit of investigating when the tutoring project was first announced.
It seems that tutors will use two DCSF intervention programmes:

ALS, which was transformed (Mar. 2007) into 'Year 3 Literacy Support (Sir Kit's Quest)' Discussion of the updated ALS intervention programme here: www.rrf.org.uk/messageforum/viewtopic.php?t=2900

and

FLS, which is the DCSF's Wave 2, intervention for Y5. FLS remains unrevised from 2002, and is therefore complete with the pre-Rose multi-cueing strategies.

The big question is, how come all these children have reached the age of 10 unable to read adequately?

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Shedding teacher training

Post by MonaMMcNee » Thu Sep 17, 2009 3:58 pm

The popular, plausib eideas were banged in so deeply that teachers cannot see through the fog. A lad wh has just left primary school said to me recently that - 3 years after Rose - he had never eeard of vowels until he heard me teachinghis brother.
The LEAs cannot - WILL NOT open their minds to let in common sense.
Because I will not join the chorus, the education councillor for Knowsley says y view is "solipsitic" Get the dictionary out! So now I am proudly solipsistic.

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Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Sat Sep 19, 2009 1:46 pm

I am trying to find out more about the government's tutoring scheme.

I have heard that the emphasis is on the weak to middle children and not the children who really do need extra support in basic skills.

Is this just another political ploy?

Also, why do so many children need this additional leg-up after six years in our educational establishments?

This government just throws money and initiatives to cover up for other indadequacies in our training and teaching approach in schools.

On the early years and primary TES online forums, we read again and again about teachers who have had no training in phonics teaching, nor how to evaluate effective programmes or effective teaching.

Is anyone involved in tutoring in their primary school - and please can they tell us 'which' are the target group of children in their school?

Further, does anyone have any information which group of children the local education authorities are targeting for this government initiative?

I'm wondering if the government thinks it has sewn up all the loose ends by Jim Rose's dyslexia report endorsing the notion of specialists teachers in schools for the 'weakest' group and the government pumping money into one to one tutoring for the middling group to increase their end of key stage test levels?

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Choice of words

Post by MonaMMcNee » Sat Sep 19, 2009 3:01 pm

"Support" and "help" are often found in the matter of strugglers.

I do not support or help. I teach, so that pupils can stand on their own feet and not need a crutch (support).
Just a detail!

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Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Sat Sep 19, 2009 7:57 pm

Mona - I agree with you.

In my teacher-training, I suggest that we need to 'supervise' or 'teach' and that includes any adult that is available be they 'assistants' or whatever.

It really dismays me when people get snotty about whether a teaching assistant 'teaches' or not. Of course they do or should - if they are 'doing the work' for the pupils, then no-one is doing their job properly.

Sadly, I suspect that all too often the supporting adult does 'do' the work for the weaker pupils - and then the weaker pupils are no better off. They just switch-off and let the adult do the work!!!!

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TES: is dyslexia a middle class badge for illiteracy

Post by Hugo » Sun Sep 20, 2009 9:01 am

Looking through this thread there is one confusion which needs clearing up on the definition front. One sufferer has been mentioned who lost the ability to read - this is acquired dyslexia and is not cognitively controversial - the parts of the brain which had learned literacy were damaged, so the abilities were correspondingly lost. Not controversial. The controversial idea is that there could be an innate disability - that part of the brain is set aside specifically for literacy at birth (and if damaged or defective gives rise to dyslexia). It is this innateness which is biologically irresponsible thinking. We have no evolved organs for literacy! There can be no 'dyslexics' who are, in every other respect, normal.
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Latent/activated dyslexia

Post by MonaMMcNee » Sun Sep 20, 2009 9:34 am

Jean Augur said that if all children were taught the way dyslexics need, all would learn and nobody would suffer. Dyslexics are born and die dyslexic. A recognised problem has arisen during the half-century when phonics was derided and replaced by look-say. If you are taught good phonics, the dyslexic tendency to excel in spatial stuff (architecture, art, etc., Leonardo, Einstein) can flourish unimpeded. But if at the beginning, the vital years before 7, the sequential teaching of phonics is withheld, and replaced by bad habits such as guessing, and the idea of “learning words” (half a million words???), then the dyslexics cannot get going.
If the people who get hay fever from pollen lived at the South Pole, their tendency to hay fever would never be activated.
This argument gets endlessly repeated and will not be settled until DNA studies give a conclusion.

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Post by Hammered » Sun Sep 20, 2009 6:03 pm

Debbie Hepplewhite wrote:I am trying to find out more about the government's tutoring scheme.

I have heard that the emphasis is on the weak to middle children and not the children who really do need extra support in basic skills.

Is this just another political ploy?

Also, why do so many children need this additional leg-up after six years in our educational establishments?

This government just throws money and initiatives to cover up for other indadequacies in our training and teaching approach in schools.

On the early years and primary TES online forums, we read again and again about teachers who have had no training in phonics teaching, nor how to evaluate effective programmes or effective teaching.

Is anyone involved in tutoring in their primary school - and please can they tell us 'which' are the target group of children in their school?

Further, does anyone have any information which group of children the local education authorities are targeting for this government initiative?

I'm wondering if the government thinks it has sewn up all the loose ends by Jim Rose's dyslexia report endorsing the notion of specialists teachers in schools for the 'weakest' group and the government pumping money into one to one tutoring for the middling group to increase their end of key stage test levels?

We have recieved funding for this project for 7 Yr5/6 children in our school. The number of children depends on the size of school and need. As far as I know, you do 10 hours with them but it isn't specified what sort of support you provide, although I need to check that.

We aren't allowed to give it to SEN children, presumably on the assumption that there is already funding in place to support these children in school.

I think I am right in saying that schools in the roll out for the ECAW programme also get funding for Y3/4 children.

It is true that it is just a political ploy and the only qualification needed to deliver the programme is to be a teacher - so the quality and pedagogy will vary significantly from school to school. That said, we have a group of poor readers in Y5 who will significantly from some intensive phonic teaching that we would otherwise not be able to provide (long story why they never got it in KS1).

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Post by Debbie Hepplewhite » Sun Sep 20, 2009 6:50 pm

That said, we have a group of poor readers in Y5 who will significantly from some intensive phonic teaching that we would otherwise not be able to provide
Thank you for that very helpful information - it's pretty much as I thought.

Why can't schools provide intensive teaching for any year and any children if that's what they need?

I suspect that heads and teachers are not brave enough to put another aspect of the curriculum 'on hold' whilst they deliver what's really needed for the children.

The dilemma in Years five and six, for example, is the looming end of key stage 2 tests.

If teachers fail to keep up with the genre teaching, I suspect they fear that their pupils will not be able to perform so well in the tests.

I'm not convinced that every primary school staff members are committed to the 'basic literacy skills' aspect even though they say they know how important such skills are.

We need more schools to break the mould of what has been demanded by politicians, advisors and inspectors - and to do what's right.

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TES: is dyslexia a middle class badge for illiteracy?

Post by Hugo » Mon Sep 21, 2009 6:23 pm

There is no evidence that 'dyslexics' are any better than anyone else at spatial tasks or anything else. It's a myth surviving on wishful thinking.
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Rod Everson
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Re: TES: is dyslexia a middle class badge for illiteracy

Post by Rod Everson » Tue Sep 22, 2009 6:00 pm

Hugo wrote: The controversial idea is that there could be an innate disability - that part of the brain is set aside specifically for literacy at birth (and if damaged or defective gives rise to dyslexia). It is this innateness which is biologically irresponsible thinking. We have no evolved organs for literacy! There can be no 'dyslexics' who are, in every other respect, normal.
I don't think people argue, Hugo, that it is a literacy gene that is at fault, but rather that something genetic occurs that interferes with one's ability to learn to read. This is not the same as stating that there is a dyslexia gene at fault, i.e., a gene, or genes, dedicated specifically and exclusively to the act of reading.

When man devised the early alphabets, some were equipped to handle the code that resulted, but others weren't. And it appears that an inability to handle print has genetic origins.

Please tell me if you disagree with what I've said above. I might be misunderstanding what you mean when you said "There can be no 'dyslexics' who are, in every other respect, normal."

Rod Everson

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TES: is dyslexia a middle class badge for dyslexia

Post by Hugo » Wed Sep 23, 2009 8:31 pm

Ron, my point is very simple. Literacy has neither been arounf for long enough, nor important enough to survival (of us or our genes) to be innate - to be 'encoded on the genes'. There is not, and cannot be, an innate, inherited, genetically encoded 'deficit' specifically disabling literacy therefore.

In other words, if there is a genetically encoded issue which will affect literacy acquisition, since it is not specific to literacy it must be affecting a more general ability. In this sense there is no 'dyslexic' who is absolutely 'normal' in every other respect other than literacy ability.
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