'Old Andrew' blogs: Phonics Denialism and Rational Debate

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kenm
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Re: 'Old Andrew' blogs: Phonics Denialism and Rational Debate

Post by kenm » Tue Jan 07, 2014 3:14 pm

Toots wrote:Words are recognised in context.
Yes. Most of them are also recognised out of context. So?
There is an interaction between understanding and decoding with each feeding into the other.
Decoding -> understanding: usual and essential.
Understanding -> decoding: occasional and rarely essential.
When you tell the child the meaning of a word you are contributing to that interactive process. The process is fairly straightforward when the decoding is simple, the child is fairly well able to blend and blending produces a simple word which the child understands, such as 'bag'. It is less straightforward when the decoding is complex and ambiguous and/or the word is unfamiliar such as 'are', or the child's decoding efforts are torturous.
Do you mean decoding efforts "causing torture" or "causing violent distortion"?
"... the innovator has as enemies all those who have done well under the old regime, and only lukewarm allies among those who may do well under the new." Niccolo Macchiavelli, "The Prince", Chapter 6

Toots

Re: 'Old Andrew' blogs: Phonics Denialism and Rational Debate

Post by Toots » Tue Jan 07, 2014 4:35 pm

Haha, a bit of both.

I just meant the child struggles valiantly, knowing the sounds and understanding they have to blend them but not quite succeeding in realising what word they have said. I think it's related to the cognitive effort expended on decoding. Perhaps I should have said 'tortuous', but that doesn't seem quite right either.

Most words are recognised out of context, but young children actually find many isolated words a bit strange because unlike adults they are only beginning to read and to understand that words are units that can be extracted from the flow of speech. So nouns are mostly easy to recognise spoken out of context but words such as 'and' are less conspicuous as discrete units of meaning. When a person can read this discrete aspect seems totally natural and straightforward, but that is a result of learning to read. Maisie came across an interesting analysis of this which showed how spoken words are stored in memory, and it is not necessarily as discrete units. It is also significant that speech does not conform to the grammar of text, especially conversational speech between children and adults, with recognisable punctuation etc, but conforms to a 'grammar' of tone and intonation, and exists in a very strong context of gesture and immediate environment. This means that written text uses language differently from spoken text and is yet another reason why sharing texts with children is so important to reading skill.

The paper maizie referred to was:
http://www.researchgate.net/publication ... 37af4b.pdf

chew8
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Re: 'Old Andrew' blogs: Phonics Denialism and Rational Debate

Post by chew8 » Tue Jan 07, 2014 7:37 pm

Back to the Davis paper: I think he overstates certain points quite seriously. I could say much more than I am saying here, but am not prepared to spend the time.

For example, he says quite a lot about heteronyms and implies that they are a major problem, but in fact words such as 'does' and 'bass' (his examples) are pretty infrequent in normal text - i.e. words which share spelling but whose pronunciation and meaning depend on context. I’ve done a count of various bits of text, including Davis’s own and some recent messages on the RRF message-board, and the figure comes out at well below 1% of all words used. Today, I heard the reading of 30 Year 3 children – it wasn’t possible to count the number of words they read, but I made a note of all the words of the 'does' and 'bass' type that occurred. 15 of the children encountered none at all; the other 15 encountered one or two each - e.g. rowed, lives, record, minute, second. All except one were read fluently and accurately at the first attempt - the children seemed well able to take context into account on the hoof. The only one that a child needed help with was ‘lead’ in the phrase ‘lead mines’. He pronounced it as rhyming with ‘feed’ - when I asked him if he could think of any other possible pronunciation, he quickly produced the right one, though he still needed help with meaning. This type of word does cause occasional problems in reading and s.p. teachers accept that context has to be taken into account, but the problem should not be presented as being much larger than it is.

I think that what Davis says about phonemes is another example of overstatement. He has obviously only recently found out things that I have known about since I started teaching an A-Level English Language course over 20 years ago. I’ve also had input from time to time from my son, who has a PhD. in linguistics. To my way of thinking, Davis makes a big issue of points about phonemes that are not nearly as problematic as he thinks they are.

I also think he overstates the case about educational research. It’s true that this kind of research probably can’t be as cut and dried as research on drugs or fertilizers, but this doesn’t mean that it can’t reach any valid conclusions. In particular (as he himself recognises), teaching beginners whole words as ‘sight’ words is clearly different from teaching them letter-sound correspondences and blending so that they can work words out by themselves from the start, and it is possible to investigate whether the outcomes are different. Toots mentions that beginners don’t always recognise the words they produce in this way – I agree, but it’s a problem which I have found to be quickly overcome.

One thing I agree with Davis about is that I wouldn’t want children who are already competent readers when they start school to be regarded as still needing detailed phonics teaching. I say this as a mother and grandmother who has so far used systematic phonics to get 6 family-members to this point as pre-schoolers and who looks forward to doing it with more.

Jenny C.

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maizie
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Re: 'Old Andrew' blogs: Phonics Denialism and Rational Debate

Post by maizie » Tue Jan 07, 2014 7:45 pm

Toots wrote:The paper maizie referred to was:
http://www.researchgate.net/publication ... 37af4b.pdf

Was it? :shock:

Not in this particular conversation.

Toots

Re: 'Old Andrew' blogs: Phonics Denialism and Rational Debate

Post by Toots » Tue Jan 07, 2014 8:05 pm

No, not in this conversation. A while ago. But in relation to Davis's paper.

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Re: 'Old Andrew' blogs: Phonics Denialism and Rational Debate

Post by yvonne meyer » Tue Jan 07, 2014 10:07 pm

An example of Toots making an 'ad hominem' attack.
This blog post seems to me to be the usual attack through rhetoric that Old Andrew delights in. Rational debate doesn't come into it. He spoils his one interesting argument, about the scientific value of research into education, by his aggressive attitude to those who do not 100% agree with him.

Toots

Re: 'Old Andrew' blogs: Phonics Denialism and Rational Debate

Post by Toots » Tue Jan 07, 2014 11:28 pm

An ad hominem attack is about relying in argument on a judgement about the bad character of the opponent. It's like saying that a person must be wrong because they are a member of the Labour Party, or a burglar, without actually engaging with the argument they put forward. I didn't do that with old Andrew, Yvonne. I pointed out that he employs rhetoric rather than argument, and this spoils his interesting points (makes one disinclined to look at them objectively). Can you see the distinction? As it is very difficult to isolate an actual argument in his diatribe I can't think of any example of what an ad hominem on Old Andrew might be. I'll have another look at his blog and see if I can come up with an example to clarify it for you.

Meanwhile, you seemed to imply that I habitually use ad hominem attacks. In fact, if I remember correctly you said I kept using ad hominem attacks against you.

Please give me another example of what you think is me employing ad hominem, or retract your accusation.

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Re: 'Old Andrew' blogs: Phonics Denialism and Rational Debate

Post by yvonne meyer » Tue Jan 07, 2014 11:59 pm

Quote from Jeanne Chall's work:
Stage 1 is the first stage of reading, and is characterized by recognition of the alphabetic principle-namely, that letters represent speech sounds or phonemes

Stage 2 is the expansion and consolidation of this principle, mastery to the point of automaticity, of the orthographic rules of the language.
Toots says
I have no argument with the stages of reading set out in your quote, as far as conceiving reading progress in stages goes, but would want to explore the exact mechanisms of stage 2 and the means of expansion and consolidation.
The exact mechanisms of mastery to the point of automaticity of the orthographic rules of the language have been fully explored. The fact that you are not familiar with or choose to ignore the wealth of supporting research does not make this information go away.

Recognised scientific reading researchers, (Chall, Lyon, Moats, Adams, Tunmer, Castles, Coltheart, Johnston, Kame'enui, Perfetti, Englemann, Stanovich, Rayner, Wheldall, de Lemos, Nicholson to name a few) have all reached the same conclusions; that skilled reading requires mastery of decoding and the most effective way to teach all children to master the English Alphabetic code is explicit instruction in synthetic phonics.

But Toots, an anonymous poster on this discussion forum who has not herself authored any published evidence based research, disagrees with every single recognised evidence-based reading researcher. :roll:

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Re: 'Old Andrew' blogs: Phonics Denialism and Rational Debate

Post by yvonne meyer » Wed Jan 08, 2014 12:06 am

From Wikipedia
An ad hominem (Latin for "to the man" or "to the person"[1]), short for argumentum ad hominem, is a general category of fallacies in which a claim or argument is rejected on the basis of some irrelevant fact about the author of or the person presenting the claim or argument.[2] Ad hominem reasoning is normally categorized as an informal fallacy,[3][4][5] more precisely as a genetic fallacy,[6] a subcategory of fallacies of irrelevance.[7]
As I have asked many times before, please post even a single evidence-based reference that supports your views on the teaching and learning of synthetic phonics.

Toots

Re: 'Old Andrew' blogs: Phonics Denialism and Rational Debate

Post by Toots » Wed Jan 08, 2014 12:22 am

Again, you attribute views to me that I have never expressed. I have never said that skilled reading does not require decoding or disputed that a child can learn the alphabetic 'code' through SP. My argument is that SP is not enough because the code is not straightforward and this means that SP alone cannot enable correct decoding of words.

I don't suppose I've done as much reading as you, having come more recently to this issue, but I have read many papers and articles that have been mentioned on this forum and more besides. I have discussed them on here. I have not ignored the evidence. Sometimes I have seen things in the evidence that people on here seem to be blind to. Probably because I approach it from a slightly different position.

And the reason I am having to defend myself here rather than argue the issues of SP is because you have launched a classic ad hominem attack on me, so I no longer need to make up an illustrative example concerning Old Andrew for you:
yvonne meyer wrote:
But Toots, an anonymous poster on this discussion forum who has not herself authored any published evidence based research, disagrees with every single recognised evidence-based reading researcher. :roll:
The fact that I am anonymous and have never authored any published evidence-based research (how do you know?) has no bearing whatsoever on whether my arguments are valid or not.

Now you know what an ad hominem argument is could you please retract your accusation from earlier in the thread.
Last edited by Toots on Wed Jan 08, 2014 12:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

Toots

Re: 'Old Andrew' blogs: Phonics Denialism and Rational Debate

Post by Toots » Wed Jan 08, 2014 12:28 am

yvonne meyer wrote:From Wikipedia
An ad hominem (Latin for "to the man" or "to the person"[1]), short for argumentum ad hominem, is a general category of fallacies in which a claim or argument is rejected on the basis of some irrelevant fact about the author of or the person presenting the claim or argument.[2] Ad hominem reasoning is normally categorized as an informal fallacy,[3][4][5] more precisely as a genetic fallacy,[6] a subcategory of fallacies of irrelevance.[7]
Yes, exactly, and I did not discredit any of OA's arguments on the basis of an irrelevant fact about him. I said he was using rhetoric and not argument. Different.

Now could you retract your accusation about my supposed ad hominem attacks please.

As regards evidence-based research to support my views, just look back through a few threads on here. I don't see why I should waste my time linking references that are already available if you take a bit of trouble.

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Re: 'Old Andrew' blogs: Phonics Denialism and Rational Debate

Post by yvonne meyer » Wed Jan 08, 2014 12:47 am

Toots says;
The fact that I am an anonymous and have never authored any published evidence-based research (how do you know?) has no bearing whatsoever on whether my arguments are valid or not.
Your credibility is a key issue considering your insistence on making unsupported claims and defending them with 'argumentum ad nauseam'.

I know you have not published any evidence-based research from your own expressed lack of familiarity with the evidence-based research as any evidence-based study starts with studying the existing literature.

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Re: 'Old Andrew' blogs: Phonics Denialism and Rational Debate

Post by yvonne meyer » Wed Jan 08, 2014 12:54 am

Toots,

I have read all your posts and you have not supplied any evidence-based references to support your views. Saying you have does not make it so.

As for your ad hominem attacks on me specifically, you refer to one of my recent posts as a "diatribe", a description intended to insult and demean me. Please retract that statement.

Toots

Re: 'Old Andrew' blogs: Phonics Denialism and Rational Debate

Post by Toots » Wed Jan 08, 2014 9:59 am

That depends on whether your post was a diatribe or not. I can't find the post you refer to, so you'll have to enlighten me as to where it is.

References I have made to research have been in the context of various discussions. I am not going to attempt to extract them from the discussions and go through a summary of what each have shown about reading instruction. I know I have referred to research by Stanovich, Rayner, Ehri, and several others. Something else for you put in a search for, Yvonne.

It is irrelevant to my arguments whether I have performed my own research or written papers (you still don't know I haven't). The arguments either stand or fail on their merits and if you don't agree with them you are free to argue back, perhaps quoting all the scientists you think support your view so that we can go back to source. That's what I have done in my discussions with others on this forum. I haven't made nasty remarks about them - unless they have been nasty and personal towards me. Surely I have the right to respond in kind to that. Those tit for tat remarks are nothing to do with ad hominem. They are simply designed to be, as you put it, 'insulting and demeaning'.

I note you haven't retracted your accusation yet.

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