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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

"We don't need no education..."

State Senator Aaron Osmond wants to end compulsory education in Utah.
Some parents completely disengage themselves from their obligation to oversee and ensure the successful education of their children. Some parents act as if the responsibility to educate, and even care for their child, is primarily the responsibility of the public school system. As a result, our teachers and schools have been forced to become surrogate parents, expected to do everything from behavioral counseling, to providing adequate nutrition, to teaching sex education, as well as ensuring full college and career readiness.
The first sentence of this paragraph contains a split infinitive; "to oversee and to ensure" is preferable. The second sentence contains another split infinitive ("and even to care" is preferable) and two wrongly-placed commas. The third sentence contains an awkward attempt at parallelism. Suggested revision: "...everything from behavioral counseling to providing adequate nutrition, as well as..."

Later, we get this remarkable sentence:
Instead of requiring that teachers and students must be in class for 990 hours a year, lets enable our local school boards to determine the best use of a teacher’s time and focus student and parent expectations on educational outcomes such as completing assignments and passage of exams as the measurement of success for the opportunity to progress in public school.
The word "must" is not necessary. The contraction "let's" is missing an apostrophe. Because the sentence structure is so clumsy, the reader cannot determine which noun goes with the verb "focus." Does the writer mean "let's focus" or does he mean "let's enable our school boards to focus"? The rest is so problematic, I'm not sure how to proceed. Does the phrase "as the measurement of success for the opportunity to progress" mean anything?

Based on Mr. Osmond's performance, I would say that compulsory education remains desirable. However, I do agree with Osmond on one point: Some students may need to repeat grades.
Comments:
Mr Osmond is presumably a product of compulsory education, therefore it seems unwise to use his incompetence as an argument for that same thing.

Secondly, there is nothing wrong at all with using split infinitives. You may have failed to notice that you are not speaking Latin. Latin doesn't have split-infinitives because they are structurally impossible. Some people chose to try and impose those rules on English, but that choice has no logical basis.

Further, the choice to impose these restrictive and prescriptive linguistic rules is normally driven by snobbishness, and in this country by the desire to enforce the supremacy of the rich and the South over the rest of the population.

The split infinitive has given us some of the most evocative parts of our language, such as the phrase "to boldly go". Any attempt to condemn this practice is based on the desire to use intellectual, cultural or financial force to impose one's preferred approach on others.

As, for that matter, are schools. Just machines for indoctrinating people. I'm a fan of the works of John Gatto. School is just a way to badger children into obedience, so they form the habit and hold it into later life.

 
Great analysis, and probably a good demonstration of why many parents are not equipped to guide their children's education.

I can agree with one thing though.....teachers need to be free to teach their students how to think, not how to pass standardized tests and be cogs in the capitalist machine.
 
Osmond, Norton (author of an article to which he links) and Szasz (whom Norton quotes) all make the error of confusing education with school attendance. School attendance is not compulsory in any state in the US. Some US states are worse than others in the amount of interference to which they subject home educating families, but according to these people, Utah comes in equal 16th place.

If anyone wants to read up on this stuff, I'd recommend the works of John Taylor Gatto, including The Underground History of American Education. (Well, that's apart from Gatto's ludicrous support of 'phonics' as a method for teaching children to read. I'm sure he knows that what he says on that score is rubbish. He's a bright guy; he must surely have heard of the logical fallacy of appealing to authority. He'd come up with a proper argument if he actually had one. Here's the truth: every normal child can learn to read at two, by reading real words, mainly in real books; and more than that, they will absolutely love doing so. Delaying teaching children to read, and then teaching them using idiotic methods, must surely play a significant role in the idiotisation which is so prevalent in our epoch.)
 
b, I disagree. I was a high school teacher for many years and saw the unsatisfactory outcome of the 'whole word' alternative to phonics. That method is built on word recognition enabled by the sentence context. Children without a background in phonics simply have to guess what the word means because they have no way of sounding it out and distinguishing it from similar words.

"Here's the truth: every normal child can learn to read at two, by reading real words, mainly in real books; and more than that, they will absolutely love doing so."

Ok, so they're reading the book. How do you know they have any recognition of the words at all? Obviously because they say the words aloud to the parent sitting next to them. So how do they say the words unless they can sound them out? They don't automatically know how to speak the letters in front of them. Some coaching in word sounds has to occur. That's phonics. I've seen the 'whole word' recognition method -- it's a disaster.

And of course I agree that reading has to be taught from early on. Starting with language teaching at age 7 is simply way too late.
 
Joseph, I understand you like Chess Titans. You might also enjoy one of my favorites.

http://wtharvey.com/
 
The first commenter Morgan makes some brilliant points. I would only add that once again Ivan Illich came up with some of the best analysis on the issue in his book "Deschooling Society".
But then again i always felt that the best reason for me to be in school as a young person was that it allowed me time away from my family.
Kitty
 
In the earliest stages on human development we used ideographic, "hieroglyphic", languages. In those languages each word has its own symbol, and you have to learn them all to be able to read properly. Archaeologists determine which undeciphered languages are ideographic by counting how many different symbols are used, hence we know the Cretan script known as "hieroglphyic" is ideographic and Linear A is syllabic, even though they are both undeciphered. This is the next stage after the "me hunt bison, me paint bison on cave" stage of writing.

Thereafter syllabaries became common, with Akkadian cuneiform being the lingua franca of the ancient near east and hieratic and demotic being used in everyday activities in Egypt, although hieroglyphs look much better carved into temples. This is the change from "this symbol means this idea" to "this symbol means this sound", which allows a much smaller set of symbols to represent the same number of words and ideas. The alphabet was just a further refinement.

To this day it takes years to learn to read in China, because they rely mostly on ideograms. While in English learning to read can take only weeks. Because you only have to learn 26 symbols.

Then some bright spark thought it would be a good idea to turn English into hieroglyphics by teaching "whole words". Literacy levels declined, possibly for the first time in human history. It's much harder to learn that way. It requires more memory, and requires that the child ask about every new word encountered. Downer. Learn the alphabet and the kids can figure it out for themselves and ultimately get a much better understanding of language because they've managed to avoid the rote memorisation of what the words look like.

The whole-word approach is like getting your spell-checker to forget using it's dictonary.txt file made with letters and in its stead to use a big folder full of bitmaps. Takes up a lot more space, works much more slowly, wouldn't work properly if you change font.

"Synthetic phonics" is just a new way of saying "learn them the alphabet". Which humans have spent thousands of years progressing towards, and some people want to scrap without reason. I assume they also light their cigs by rubbing sticks together, and ride push-bikes with solid wooden wheels because of the sinfulness of spokes.

And don't give me no guff about starting sentences with conjunctions. Or double negatives.
 
Fred, you are mistaken. I read fluently at 18 months; my son did at 24 months. People aren’t born with differing amounts of 'talent' and 'ability'.

I’d account for the relevance of your years as a school-teacher differently from how you do.

I had a landlady who was a school-teacher. She looked down her nose at children who called their midday meal "dinner" rather than "lunch". Like most British school-teachers, she was prejudiced and unpleasant. The said leech couldn't believe that my son could read, even when he was 3 and had been reading for ages. She said things very similar to what you're saying, such as 'how do you know he isn't just recognising the words?'. Then he came into her house and read the titles of the books on her shelves. She nearly fell off her chair. She'd been a school-teacher for 30 years.

Next? She told her friends and they wouldn't believe her. She probably didn't realise she'd only just recovered from being like them. Within a few days, she probably relapsed.

"Children without a background in phonics simply have to guess what the word means because they have no way of sounding it out and distinguishing it from similar words."

You've been bamboozled. Have a look at Edward Bernays's book Propaganda, on how opinion is controlled, going down the chain, finally going through the 'opinions' of punter-facing 'professionals' to the 'opinions' of punters.

Don’t worry; toddlers have enormous interest in noticing things and distinguishing between things. They need hardly any 'coaching' regarding letters and letter combinations. They are extremely intelligent. You and I would have great difficulty in imagining ourselves into their intellectual position.

"Ok, so they're reading the book. How do you know they have any recognition of the words at all? Obviously because they say the words aloud to the parent sitting next to them."

Yes, or to the person sitting near them on a bus or anyone else. And what if they laugh at the jokes, and play monsters when they read about monsters, and comment on what they’re reading, and play with it in different ways? If a grown-up person doesn't know when a toddler on their lap is reading a book, the problem comes from the grown-up's mind only.

"So how do they say the words unless they can sound them out?"

Are you arguing that something doesn't happen because you don't know how it happens?

"They don't automatically know how to speak the letters in front of them. Some coaching in word sounds has to occur. That's phonics."

This 'logic' is gibberish. You believe in phonics because the alternative would be to believe that toddlers know stuff 'automatically'? What about a third possibility - that they learn so quickly that those with a conditioned background as school-teachers don't suss what's happening?

Every child I've encountered who has been given the chance to read by the age of 2 has done so, and has loved learning to do so, and none of them have ever had the kind of "coaching in word sounds" that is called 'phonics'.
"I've seen the 'whole word' recognition method -- it's a disaster."

You clearly haven't seen what I've seen. Maybe you've seen some method used by school-teachers who have as little understanding as colleagues do who use phonics, who happen to work at institutions where the purchasing officers buy non-phonics books rather than phonics ones?

I could teach any child in the world, except those who are impeded by physical disability, to read by the age of two. There's nothing special about my skills. In a day I could teach any parent with an open mind to do the same. No qualifications needed, other than they themselves must know how to read. The main job is to get the parents to lose their preconceptions.
 
@Stephen
Good writing requires discipline. A good writer knows that he needs to hone the tools that enable him to understand what he is doing.

Some of the discipline needs to be syntactic; so do some of the tools.

I hate TV, but on reflection I have to agree with you that "to boldly go" is evocative. But how many other examples have you got? :-)

Osmond's writing gives the impression that he doesn't know what he's doing, in the way of arguing for what he thinks. Hasn't got a bloody clue.

And what does he think? His main tenet seems to be that children should be held "accountable" for their behaviour and educational failure.

I'd guess that he especially has in mind children from the lower orders. Probably ones who aren't Mormons.
 
@Stephen - I realise you are making an effort, but you are straying from the issue on which you are seeking to opine.

""Synthetic phonics" is just a new way of saying "learn them the alphabet"."

It isn't. It does concentrate on letters and letter groups ridiculously much, though.

"Which humans have spent thousands of years progressing towards, and some people want to scrap without reason. I assume they also light their cigs by rubbing sticks together, and ride push-bikes with solid wooden wheels because of the sinfulness of spokes."

Oh well, in face of such a persuasive argument, I must admit the error of my ways.

Either that, or you really are assuming that existence and recentness provide sufficient justification for a technique used in schools, and you haven't looked at who's doing what to whom and why.

Why not try criticising the world around you some more?

No child who learns to read naturally - which means when they are one or two - uses phonics.

"The whole-word approach is like getting your spell-checker to forget using it's dictonary.txt file made with letters and in its stead to use a big folder full of bitmaps. Takes up a lot more space, works much more slowly, wouldn't work properly if you change font."

Are you on drugs or what?

Personally I don't use a spellchecker. (Do you keep squiggly-underlining turned on too?) And I don't smoke cigarettes. (Guess why.) Words ain't nothin' like bitmaps, and when a toddler learns to read, it's fuck all like a computer doing anything whatsoever.

Here are some concepts for your consideration, offered as illumination regarding how toddlers learn naturally to read:

1) pattern
2) association
3) joyful exploration

I doubt I can argue you out of where you are, but...there you go, anyway.
 
b, I don't believe a word of what you are saying. If your method is that good then market it, make a fortune and save the world. I don't believe you.

""They don't automatically know how to speak the letters in front of them. Some coaching in word sounds has to occur. That's phonics."

This 'logic' is gibberish. You believe in phonics because the alternative would be to believe that toddlers know stuff 'automatically'? What about a third possibility - that they learn so quickly that those with a conditioned background as school-teachers don't suss what's happening?"

There's nothing at all gibberish about what I've said. Toddlers don't know stuff 'automatically'. The 18-month old kid looks at the clock and without anyone telling him says "yes, those numbers are zero, one, two,..., twelve, and when I think about it the clock is reading half-past-three." Are you kidding me?

Not buying it. Your arguments are crap.

Want another one? A child looks at the words dog, doug, douse and immediately (and without any prompting!) identifies the correct pronunciation of the letter 'o' in each case. I am not buying 2 cents worth of your addled arguments. Once kids have learned basic letters they will then sound out the words formed by those letters, practising their own version of phonics. Usually a helpful parent will coach them on different pronunciations in different settings.

"Maybe you've seen some method used by school-teachers who have as little understanding as colleagues do who use phonics, who happen to work at institutions where the purchasing officers buy non-phonics books rather than phonics ones?"

I've seen high school teachers tearing their hair out at the injustice of functionally illiterate kids struggling in their classes and all because they were 'taught' by the 'whole word' crap method.

I don't believe one word of what you are saying. Not one word.

Point me towards any independent documented accounts of your methods and prove me wrong.
 
@Fred

Part 1
If your method is that good then market it, make a fortune and save the world.

I'd love to. It would only be a short book. Find me a publisher.

Now I am going to try not to abuse our host's hospitality by having an insults match with you. You think I'm either a liar or else that I'm exceptionally self-deluded. I think you can't think out of the box you've made. Which seems to be the same box that you were paid to be in - the one which an internalisation of the official ideology made it easier to inhabit.

You said:

"They don't automatically know how to speak the letters in front of them. Some coaching in word sounds has to occur. That's phonics."

I replied:

"This 'logic' is gibberish. You believe in phonics because the alternative would be to believe that toddlers know stuff 'automatically'? What about a third possibility - that they learn so quickly that those with a conditioned background as school-teachers don't suss what's happening?"

You then responded:

"There's nothing at all gibberish about what I've said. Toddlers don't know stuff 'automatically'"

Those inverted commas come from you. You’re clearly thinking that if not A, then B; but worse still, when I point that out, you do it again. It's as if you didn't notice what I said. I agree with you that toddlers don't know stuff automatically.

So you derive your belief in phonics from your certainty of opposing a view that is absolutely ridiculous? Really? I know you've worked as a school-teacher, but you could stop assuming I'm stupid because I'm putting forward a view different from the one you cite your years as a school-teacher in support of.

"The 18-month old kid looks at the clock and without anyone telling him says "yes, those numbers are zero, one, two,..., twelve, and when I think about it the clock is reading half-past-three." Are you kidding me?

Not buying it.


Great. I'm not selling it either.

(End of part 1; part 2 follows)
 
PArt 2

"Your arguments are crap.""

You might possibly cause me to reflect upon my arguments if you could demonstrate that you understood them and stopped writing as if the only possible alternative position to the one that you used for several years as part of your paid job (please correct me if I'm mistaken about that) is something to do with children knowing things "automatically" without any external stimulus.

"Want another one? A child looks at the words dog, doug, douse and immediately (and without any prompting!) identifies the correct pronunciation of the letter 'o' in each case. I am not buying 2 cents worth of your addled arguments."

Replace "buying" with "understanding" and you will get a true statement.

"Once kids have learned basic letters they will then sound out the words formed by those letters, practising their own version of phonics. Usually a helpful parent will coach them on different pronunciations in different settings."

Duckspeak. You haven't got an argument for phonics there, even a crappy one.

I said:

"Maybe you've seen some method used by school-teachers who have as little understanding as colleagues do who use phonics, who happen to work at institutions where the purchasing officers buy non-phonics books rather than phonics ones?"

You replied:

"I've seen high school teachers tearing their hair out at the injustice of functionally illiterate kids struggling in their classes and all because they were 'taught' by the 'whole word' crap method.

That sounds like a “yes”. If you look carefully at what you are replying to here, you will spot that I think it quite likely that crap non-phonics methods are used in some schools. I'm not arguing in favour of an alternative technique for school-teachers.

"I don't believe one word of what you are saying. Not one word. Point me towards any independent documented accounts of your methods and prove me wrong."

Well if my experience of learning to read and teaching my son to read isn't good enough for you, you could read books by Winifred Sackville Stoner or Glenn Doman.

May I ask 1) whether you dispute that all healthy children can learn to read by the age of two and that they will absolutely love doing so, 2) whether you believe people are born with widely differing amounts of talent and ability?

I will show you the respect of not assuming that you think I am a dirty liar when I say what I said about my own experience. (But please do call me a liar if that’s what you think.) Some of my ancestors were slaves. Maybe one of them got raped by someone with read-as-a-toddler genes? I tell you, Fred, and what I’m going to say is not banal: every man and woman is a star.

This is an exceptionally important topic, and gets to the heart of how human beings are ground down and how we could all flourish if we weren't.

You must have heard "Give me a child until he's seven and I'll make of him what you will", if not "The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world". Which is not to say that these are as to the point as "Every man and woman is a star". But far be it from me to base an outlook on proverbs :)
 
I don't think children ever need to repeat, either. We don't really do that here. It's an American thing.

You know, no child ever learns to read naturally. Reading isn't natural. And the whole word approach is just trendy nonsense, discredited by most scientific studies and particularly disadvantageous to poor children and boys.

Now I've not seen any studies into two-year olds learning by "whole word", maybe a few of them would learn better than way. But lots of kids never learn to read, because the "whole word" approach is fundamentally counterproductive, and produces a conveyor belt of illiterate children.
 
@Stephen

Be aware that when very young children appear to be repeating an activity, extremely often what they're actually doing is exploring, getting different things out of it, and testing new things out, new ways of handling it - in what many grown-ups would, if only they realised what was happening, believe to be an astoundingly intelligent fashion.

You type too much from the hip, which is stopping you from focusing on the essential. The same was true when you went on about spokes on bicycle wheels and lighting cigarettes. If I may take up your metaphor, school is a conveyor belt; it doesn't 'produce' one.

I'm not going to engage in a semantic argument over "natural". If you ever watch a child learn to read at one or two, I hope you'll be open-minded enough to realise that you are, in fact, watching something that seems about as "natural" as any stage of a human being's development can be.

As for "trendy", you sound like a Daily Mail reading Tory, which obviously isn't what you are. I think you must have posted before you saw my comment referring to Winifred Sackville Stoner and Glenn Doman. Stoner wrote in the 1920s. My mother sussed it all out for herself without reading either of them.

Anyway, fuck 'experts' on child-raising! Would you give time to an 'expert' on nappy-tying, cuddling, or bum-wiping?

It sounds as though recognising that all healthy children can read at one or two would require that you rethink a lot of your head! You can do it! :-)

Schools are largely about numbing children's minds and keeping them off the street - as well as out of the family home, so that the bosses can directly exploit the labour-power of both parents, rather than just one.
 
There are a number of points to be made here, b.

--------------------------------------------
[1] The most important one is the one you fail to address. You say toddlers "learn naturally to read" by (1) pattern (2) association and (3) joyful exploration. Nowhere in that list is there any mention of the processes of (4) vocalization and speech, and (5) interaction with adults in the learning process. In short, you've offered a deficient account of the learning process omitting key features.

My original point to you, and one I reaffirm, is that speaking the written word is a lot different than visually recognizing letters. Humans learn speech by mimicking the adults around them. There is no other mechanism available to them. There is also no means for them to distinguish between words like dog, doug, dooze and doze in their spoken form other than to emulate adults and by listening to their promptings.

You pay no acknowledgement to the process of speech acquisition and its central role in reading development. You'd like to pretend that this aspect of child learning is not present because it conflicts with you astonishing theory and because to acknowledge it is to fundamentally admit that phonics is central to language and literacy learning.

--------------------------------------------
[2] ""The 18-month old kid looks at the clock and without anyone telling him says "yes, those numbers are zero, one, two,..., twelve, and when I think about it the clock is reading half-past-three." Are you kidding me?

Not buying it.

Great. I'm not selling it either."

Telling the time is part of a literacy program not much different to learning to read and you have nothing at all to say about that process. Fairly obviously because there is no other way for a child to learn to tell the time than to interact with an adult on what numbers are and how those numbers are spoken. ie phonics.
--------------------------------------------

[3] I said: "Once kids have learned basic letters they will then sound out the words formed by those letters, practising their own version of phonics. Usually a helpful parent will coach them on different pronunciations in different settings."

You said: "Duckspeak. You haven't got an argument for phonics there, even a crappy one."

I say: My 'crappy' words would be accepted by most experts as a reasonable working definition of phonics. But you know better and you are not going to tell me, perhaps because I am too stupid.
 
contd...

[4] Winifred Sackville Stoner: Was a child prodigy whose son was a child prodigy. She started several schools based on 'Natural Education' and toured America searching for 'geniuses'. Her basic philosophy has similarities to those of Montessori. From Wikipedia -->> Stoner devised six classes of people. In ascending order of value they were idiots; destructionists; morons; hypermorons (in which class she put most people); geniuses (who were creative); and progressionists (who could get things done in business and related fields). The last two, she thought, were the only ones "worth preserving"<<

In other words she was a narcissist with nothing much to say about the great bulk of the human population and her education methods have been ignored by the mainstream.

Glenn Doman: sells flash learning cards for kids, which also says nothing about speech development and its links to literacy development.

----------------------------------
[5] I said: "If your method is that good then market it, make a fortune and save the world."

You said: "I'd love to. It would only be a short book. Find me a publisher."

I say: That, my friends, is the ball game -- a genius whose talents do not extend as far as reaching for a phone book but expects others to do it for them.

----------------------------------
Just as an aside b, I once had the immeasurable displeasure of trying to teach a 16 year old who had been brought up on Montessori methods. He was a genius because he said so and so did his mother, and they had told all his teachers along the way. He wasn't. He couldn't do maths or English, had low levels of concentration and would wander the classroom distracted by anything that took his fancy and interrupting everyone else. He was a pain in the butt. His key quality was his unflinching belief that he was a genius and that the world's duty was to discover him.

If your method is that good then market it, make a fortune and save the world. Your genius remains unrecognized with me.
 
@Fred

1) Do you want me to do all of your thinking for you, or what? First, my list wasn't meant to be exhaustive. Sure, there are lots of true and important things I haven't said. Second, and even more importantly, you obviously didn't bother to reflect on what I might mean by "association", before you started trying to rubbish me. Don't you think I am aware of the role of associating written words with sounds - both sounds heard and sounds made?

Meanwhile, you 'reaffirm' the completely obvious: of course babies learn to speak by copying people around them. They also reflect on and play with those sounds. I touched on that in reply to Stephen.

Your point 2 is silly - "telling the time is part of a literacy program" indeed! Is that supposed to be an argument? And what you call 'fairly obvious' is indeed obvious.

3) You're flailing. "Most experts". Have you ever reflected on how someone achieves the position of "expert", and what kind of non-thought they need to internalise?

4) Winifred Sackville Stoner - sorry Fred, but don't tell me about her "son". I was talking about 'Mother Stoner', who had a daughter, as you would know if you'd found out even a basic minimum about her books on 'Natural Education'. (Do you get her Rousseau reference?) I said she wrote in the 1920s, but I didn't look up the notes I took when I read her works, which was about 15-20 years ago, and actually one of her books came out around 1914. Doman ripped some of her stuff off without attribution.

Please don't think you can rubbish my reference to her in one line. She had quite a lot of clue. I could describe her take on sound, but I haven't got all day and you probably wouldn't listen.

As for Glenn Doman, yes, he puts far too much emphasis on flashcards. He's wrong, the way he does that. He probably hasn't had a new thought in his head for decades. Maybe that's got something to do with how he's cashed in. However, flashcards can be used as one small tool to assist with the development of associations with sounds heard and made. Just think about it, for goodness sake.

5) You're basically saying "if you're so clever, why aren't you rich?" You are failing to recognise the barriers. Which perhaps isn't surprising.

May I repeat myself and ask again:

1) whether you dispute that all healthy children can learn to read by the age of two and that they will absolutely love doing so, and

2) whether you believe people are born with widely differing amounts of talent and ability?

I would also be interested to know 3) whether you think I am a liar. The reason I ask is because I am trying to find out what you mean when you say you don't believe a word I've said.

If you don't want to answer, you could say so. I'm not telling you what to do. But it does sound rude and self-obsessed not to answer questions put to you in a civil way by someone who is trying to understand where you're coming from.

Finally, I think all healthy people are born 'geniuses'. You won't get anywhere by taking a "you think you're so clever" attitude to what I've said. I think you need to unlearn a lot of stuff you 'learnt' as a school-teacher.
 
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Guys, guys...nobody is reading this thread anymore except you two. I'll make this simple. My first-grade teacher, Miss Thilmoney was also the woman who taught the Quiz Kids. That was a famous teevee show about smart kids. She taught phonics, hard core -- stuff that others normally didn't try to teach to kids that young.

In the summer between first and second grade, I read "The Swiss Family Robinson," "Alice and Wonderland," and several of the Oz books. Plus lots of stuff about Greek mythology.

I've never met a see-and-say student who read at that level at that age.

Phonics rules; see-say droolz. And kids taught the see-say method won't even know that I just rhymed.
 
@Joe - So you learnt to read at school? If you'd asked me to guess, I would have thought you learnt before you went.

"I've never met a see-and-say student who read at that level at that age."

I'm guessing that 1st-2nd grade means aged 6-7. Of the numerous people I've met who've taught their children to read at one or two (who typically read books such as C S Lewis's Narnia series at 4-5 and Tolkien's Lord of the Rings at 7), none have used phonics. None whatsoever.

"Phonics rules; see-say droolz. And kids taught the see-say method won't even know that I just rhymed."

You're thinking along a railway track here. You must be thinking of some non-phonics method that sounds at least a long way towards being as silly as phonics. Teaching a child to read at one or two involves reading aloud with them. (So they will know you just ryhmed.) Then without much prompting, they bring written and spoken words, and other things too if they get encouraged, into the kind of associative play they love so much. Then they're reading by the age of two. Simple. The parents' biggest problem is unlearning the foolish expert-reeking idea that it's impossible, wrong, harmful, ever so dangerous, unnatural, etc.
 
Montessori is a brand. She nicked loads of her methods from other people.

For example: 1) coloured 'number rods' were invented by the brilliant Georges Cuisenaire (most school-teachers I've met are so stupid as to think these are only 'useful' for 'slow' children); and 2) the educational use of straight lines approximating a curve, labelled 'string art', goes back to Mary Boole.

Both Cuisenaire and Boole were damned good at thinking for themselves. Oher members of Boole's family were too. (Heard of Alicia Boole Stott, who studied the four-dimensional analogues of the Platonic solids?)

Cuisenaire's rods are especially good. Boole's string art is also good and can be used along with other spatial-type things of the same type and with the same underlying organising educational ideas.

Montessori stuff is way too 'schooly' for me, but within those limitations they deserve credit for the way that trainee teachers are supposed to work through what they're learning in a very serious and conscientious way, making the workbooks which they later use when they're teaching. That may hinder certain kinds of flexibility, and really they are working on a much lower level than I do, but nonetheless, they are often far more knowledgeable about children's learning than more mainstream school-teachers.

With regard to the point about Winifred Sackville Stoner's classification of people, well obviously I don't agree with that. But there's nothing about it in the two books by her that I've read on how she educated her child and on the education of children more generally, in which she shows a lot of wisdom. But then again, I don't draw my knowledge of her from a five-minute read of something on Wikipedia.

Someone can talk a great deal of sense about one thing, and a load of shit about something else. Deal with it!
 
B, open a up a blog and write out your training programs in forensic detail: what age of the children you start with, what materials you use, what verbal engagements you make with the child along the way and for what end, how does the program change over time, how you deal with various subject material, what allowances you make for individual student differences, etc. Spell it all out so people can assess the merits of your claims for themselves instead of them relying just on your say so. You're the guy who's claiming to have knowledge of advanced literacy training for children that others have ignored or overlooked. So, instead of slagging off your critics for not immediately recognizing and acknowledging your genius (I don't) put your views down somewhere in full so you can later point them out to people by a simple web link.

On the issue of other people not recognizing your offerings and that they should learn to "Deal with it!" I can only say that the world is not beating a path to anyone's door unless they first have some good idea why they should go there. So blog your programs in detail. And try to make it something more than how the world is continuously misunderstanding you. You long ago bored the pants off me.
 
Life is full of people claiming they have a wonder theory of education/politics/economics/... Here are the reasons they give why they were never recognized in their own lifetime:

* You never understood me properly.

* To properly understand me you have to read authors A,B,C... in full. In the meantime just accept that I'm correct.

* The page is too small for me to write down all of the qualifying remarks needed to fully understand my theory. Just trust me when I tell you that my theory answers all of your questions.

* You have sought to engage me on point X that I made. Your argument is rebutted by my previously unpublished remarks that you should have inferred I possessed if you had been thinking properly. But I'm glad now anyway to set you straight.

* Any historical evidence immediately proves my theory. No other interpretations of the facts are allowed.

* If people reject me then it's because they reject my views, views which I have demonstrated are true. So you are only allowed to say nice things about me. Any criticisms of me are due to the inferior intellects and bad faith of my critics.

* It's all about me.

I think that covers the basics of how it works.
 
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