International Law Dissertation Statehood and Diplomatic Relations: One of the most deep rooted problems of international law is identity. Domestic law is obviously an amalgamation of rules regulating one’s behaviour in a local or national society. The complexity of international law is depicted directly by looking at whose behaviour it seeks to regulate. Who are subject to it? When do these perceived subjects become part of the international system of laws? While the answer to the first question is clear, and that is states, the second is difficult, complex and certainly not straightforward.
The reason being is that there is no academic conclusion as to when a territorial entity becomes formally a state, and therefore a subject of international law. Even more so, there is no conclusion between scholars and international lawyers alike as to whether statehood is a mere formality or an evidence of facts. The above, create further questions as to the very existence and practice of international law. It is of no coincidence that scholars studying international law have expressed concerns regarding the problems this debate entices. Others have rightfully stated that ‘very few branches of international law which are of greater, or more persistent, interest and significance for the law of nations than the question of Recognition of States’.
This dissertation project will attempt to analyse and explore as much as possible the various cases of entities bidding for recognition and acquisition of the status of statehood. It will also attempt to examine the implications of recognition as well as those of non-recognition and look into those cases of entities which have cast themselves as unique. Through this examination, one of the conclusions that can be extracted is that the birth of each state separately is a unique circumstance on its own.
Furthermore, the purpose of this dissertation is to compare the two main theories revolving around state creation drawing conclusions both from international legal documents as well as through pre-existing research held by distinguished scholars. In order to achieve the above, the paper has been constructed in such a way so as to offer an insight to as many issues that arise from the debate as allowed by the word limit, and achieve a conclusion as empirical as possible. The research will first overcome the most obvious of the obstacles it faces: the question of what comprises a state. Beyond the obvious description of a state, one needs to look into a number of its functions, such as the need to promote the welfare of its constituents.
1 – Introduction
2 – What is a State?
The Declaratory Theory
Territory and Self-Determination
Government and Sovereignty
Capacity to Enter into Diplomatic Relations
3 – State Creation
Self-Determination, Partition and the Use of Force
The Constitutive Theory
4 – Comparing the Constitutive and Declaratory Theories
The Reality of the ‘Politics of Recognition’
The Capacity to Enter into Diplomatic Relations
The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus
Title: The Economic Environment. The firms in this model are the businesses while the households are the consumers. The firm is responsible for the production function while the households are responsible for consumption. In his book Waste to wealth: The Circular Economy, Lacy Peter states that households in the circular flow model provide labor in exchange for payment and offer this payment in exchange for the goods and services produced. The circular flow model entails the government, consumer and business elements. The firm produces goods and services to meet the consumer demand. Households purchase these products and pay to the firms. Additionally, households also provide the labor necessary to produce the goods and services. Therefore, one cannot exist without the other. This is key to any economic environment.
The financial sector such as banks and micro finances are important to the Circular Flow Model of the economy in many aspects despite being greatly ignored. This sector is responsible for ensuring that money flows across the firms, households and the government. The financial sector allows households to save money gained from working in the firms.
This money is also used for investment purposes in factors such as the fixed assets used by the firms to produce goods and services. When the government and the households save, the money is directed towards the financial market. In order to ensure the continuance of the economy, financial sectors invest this money by lending it to the households, firms and the government hence making the flow continuous (Chand, 2016). This is critical to the economic environment. Furthermore, the financial sector determines the amount of money in the market hence the inflation rate at any one moment. The circular flow model of the economy would be incomplete without the financial sector.
Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
The GDP of a nation is the total market value of goods and services produced in the nation. GDP is effectively measured through market prices. During different times, prices tend to change especially because of inflation. Therefore, comparing the nominal GDP over different times may not be helpful as comparing the real GDP of New Zealand’s economy. Instead, real GDP, also known as the GDP in constant prices may be used to compare the market value of goods and services. Real GDP helps compare the GDP during different periods at the same set of prices. While the nominal GDP is equal on both the production and expenditure sides, the real GDP differs on the production and the expenditure mainly due to changes in relative prices between imports and exports.
One statistic that should be considered when making an international investment or expansion is the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) rate. By understanding the level of FDI in a foreign country, it is possible to establish how competitive the market in the foreign country is. One may also use the inflation rate of the country as well as the unemployment rate to determine how suitable the new market is for the expansion. The inflation rate determines how strong or weak the local currency is hence affecting the amount of money required for the initial investment. Additionally, constant changes in the rate of inflation may be an indication of an unstable economy. On the other hand, the rate of unemployment can help predict the potential demand and supply for the goods or services. The inflation rate may also help project the cost of labor for the new branch internationally.
The Business Cycles and Business The Environment
New Zealand’s recent annual GDP was 173.75 billion US dollars while the value stood at 0.28% of the global GDP. The GDP growth rate is at 2.50%. The inflation rate has been at a steady of 4.75% since 1918 to 2016. On the other hand, the unemployment has been at an average of 6.13% since 1985 to 2016. However, the rate of unemployment fell to 5.1% during the second quarter of 2016. Although the New Zealand economy has past the peak phase, it is expected to continue growing at a healthy rate while creating new jobs.
A housing bubble occurs when an increase in demand leads to a significant increase in the house prices (Roberts, 2008). Unlike most goods and services, replenishing the supply of houses takes time hence creating a bubble with soaring house prices. Eventually, the bubble bursts due to the increase in supply and a decrease in demand. Such an event would cause the New Zealand economy to slow down significantly.
When an economic recession occurs, the number or frequency of economic environment activities decline significantly (Roubini, 2011). Some businesses are able to continue operating as long as they are able to cover their fixed cost. However, other businesses not able to cover the variable cost including labor have to shut down rather than operate at zero profit. Scarcity of supply due to high production cost leads to high prices, meaning that consumers are unable to purchase goods and services. Firms selling second hand goods, companies dealing with bankruptcies or debt problem benefit during recession. The market is also more efficient and consumers get the best value in the market.
Chand, S. (2016). The Economic Environment and Circular Flow of Income in a Four Sector Economy.
Lacey, P. (2015). Waste to wealth: The Circular Economy and Economic Environment. Palgrave MacMillan.
Roberts, L. (2008). The Great Housing Bubble: Why did House Prices Fall? Monterey Cypress, LLC.
Roubini, N. (2011). Crisis Economics: A Crash Course in the Future of Finance. Penguin Books.
The System Development Life Cycle (SDLC) ensures end-state solutions in accordance to the requirements provided by the user in support of business strategic goal and objectives. It represents a structured, systematic approach that aims at developing information systems. The SDLC incorporates a comprehensive checklist of rules and regulations governing IT systems. The provisions are aimed at ensuring system developers adhere to the different set guides. The seven step SDLC incorporates seven phases that need adamant consideration by the developers to ensure accurate realization of the intended goals. The phases include planning, analysis, design, development, testing, implementation, and maintenance.
First, the planning phase of the SDLC demands the developers need to determine a solid plan for developing the information system desired. In the phase, three primary activities need to be ensured for optimality. The system to be developed must be defined, identified and selected in accordance with the strategic goals of the organization (Balaji& Murugaiyan, 2012). Secondly, the developer needs to consider the scope of the project. The scope provides the high-level system requirements. It is the basic definition of the system. Lastly, the system development team needs to define the project plan. Hoffer (2012) argues that a plan responds to the what, when and who questions in the system developing activities together with all the activities to be performed including the individuals and resources to be involved in the SDLC process.
Secondly, the analysis phase, which involves the end users and IT specialists. The two stakeholders gather, understand and document business requirements for the intended system. Primarily, the developers at the stage aim at gathering sufficient information regarding the business or end user requirements (Rosenblatt, 2013). The requirements are the knowledge workers’ requests that the system must meet to be qualified as successful. This can be undertaken using a Joint Application Development (JAD) session. A process in which knowledge workers and IT specialists engage one another to define and review business requirements.
In the third phase, the design, the developers build a technical blueprint detailing how the proposed system will work. According to Rosenblatt (2013), the point of view shifts from a business perspective to a technical one. Immediately, the development phase follows. The phase takes consideration of all detailed design documents from the design phase and transform them to an actual system. The developers during the phase build the different technical architecture by purchasing and setting it up. In addition, the necessary software programs are written in the database for ease of navigation by the end user.
Once the system is developed, there is a need to test the program. This comes in handy as the fifth step in the seven step SDLC. Here the system is verified on whether it executes all the business requirements as defined in the analysis phase. A detailed test condition is developed and performed with the expected results evaluated. Once the developers are satisfied that the system works appropriately, they proceed to the implementation phase. In this step, the system is distributed to all knowledge workers who begin using the system to perform their routine jobs. However, a user documentation must be provided, which details how the knowledge workers will use the system.
The implementation phase might take different approaches depending on the end user and the developing team (Leau, Loo, Tham & Tan, 2012). Such include the pilot, phased, plunge or the parallel implementation. Each of the implementation holds merit and demerits that the stakeholders need to consider.
The seven step SDLC considers maintenance as the last phase. In the phase, stakeholders monitor and support the new system to ensure its ability to enable the business to realize its goals. During the phase, the developers and knowledge workers can advance the system with the different changes of the business environment.
Four Step SDLC Model
The four-step SDLC model considers a different number of steps to be involved in the development of a system for a business entity. The different steps include identification, design, construction and evaluation and risk analysis. Under the four step SDLC, the project goes through the four phases in iterations (Boehm, 1988). The SDLC model similar to the seven-step model begins by the identification of the objectives in relation to the business that the developers and the knowledge workers desire to execute using the system.
In the initial phase, identification, business requirements are gathered and later a system appropriate for the requirements identified. In addition, subsystem requirements and unit requirements are executed at the phase to ensure consistency during the development phase. Therefore, the knowledge workers and the developer need to interact excessively to ensure a mutual content on the needs that the system should satisfy. Significantly, the different alternatives and constraints are identified by the parties who later see a way of mitigating each of the shortcoming for the benefit of developing a perfect system.
Once the identification stage is complete, the team launches the design phase. The phase involves a conceptual design and an architectural design, logical design, physical product design and the final design. The different designs serve a greater role in ensuring systematic analysis of the project at each level of design to address any likely challenges. The construction stage comes in handy after the two phases are successfully executed. In the phase, the actual system is developed and engaged for the different needs.
A Proof of Concept document needs to accompany the system during the delivery to the knowledge workers to get feedback on the system (Boehm, Lane, Koolmanojwong & Turner, 2014). The information is often used for advancing or corrective measures necessary to ensure client satisfaction. The testing of the project is also done at the stage to optimize correction of the system.
In the last phase of the four-step SDLC process, the developer and client conduct a risk analysis procedure where they identify, estimate and monitor any technical feasibility probable. The appropriate management risks are engaged to ensure optimal results. For instance, a schedule slippage and cost overrun can be conducted to optimize the process. The customer needs to evaluate the system developed to determine whether it meets the project specifications provided during the first phase. In case the client or the developer identifies any issues concerning the system, the necessary steps are undertaken to resolve the problem. Considering the short cycle of the four-step model, reviews are inevitable in each phase (Boehm, 1988). The client and developers concerned with the system development analyze the previous cycle. The review covers all products developed in the previous cycle, including the plans for the next cycle. In addition, the required resources are evaluated for executing the subsequent cycle.
Comparing and Contrasting the Seven Step and Four Step Models
The seven-step and four-step model elicit similarities and differences worth considering in the study. The two models embrace the need to conduct preliminary analysis and ensure constant communication between the client and developer for the efficiency and effectiveness of the system. In the planning and identification phases, the need to optimize on information gathered, especially the objectives to be realized by the system is highlighted. Additionally, the design phase between the two models also elicits similarities. The two models rely on analysis, although the latter does not provide a higher prominence when compared to the seven-step model, which assumes analysis as a phase in the system development process (Boehm, Lane, Koolmanojwong & Turner, 2014).
Contrastingly, the four-step model considers the elimination of risk in the system establishment as the focus in defining the success of a system. This varies with the seven-step model that considers the adoption of the client needs into the system as the focus. As such, the four-step system ensures preliminary evaluation of risks in each phase. The review process in the four-step model is engaged at each phase. This is different to the seven-step that tends to review the project during the maintenance stage. As such, maintenance is cheaper in terms of cost and time for the four-step compared to the seven-step. The review explains why the four-step model does not have any phase identified as maintenance iterations (Boehm, 1988). In addition, the high status of the review in the different phases optimizes the ability of the developer to minimize any risk that might destabilize the organization. Thus, the system is developed in accordance with the inherent risks within the organization. Therefore, easy to customize the system to suit the needs of the organization.
Balaji, S., & Murugaiyan, M. S. (2012). Waterfall vs. V-Model vs. Agile: A comparative study on SDLC. International Journal of Information Technology and Business Management, 2(1), 26-30.
Boehm, B. W. (1988). A spiral model of software development and enhancement. Computer, 21(5), 61-72.
Boehm, B., Lane, J. A., Koolmanojwong, S., & Turner, R. (2014). The incremental commitment spiral model: Principles and practices for successful systems and software. Addison-Wesley Professional.
Hoffer, J. A. (2012). Modern Systems Analysis and Design, 6/e. Pearson Education India.
Leau, Y. B., Loo, W. K., Tham, W. Y., & Tan, S. F. (2012). Software development life cycle AGILE vs traditional approaches. In International Conference on Information and Network Technology (Vol. 37, No. 1, pp. 162-167).
Rosenblatt, H. J. (2013). Systems Analysis and Design. Cengage Learning.
Cross Cultural Training. This MBA paper discusses Cross Cultural Training and its objectives, Importance of intercultural training in globalization, Key intercultural skills for expatriate training, Types and benefits of intercultural training and determinants of cultural difference.
Inter cultural training is fast becoming a clearly important element in the world of global industry (Zakaria, 2000) This assignment discusses Cross cultural training and its objectives, Importance of intercultural training in globalization, Key intercultural skills for expatriate training, Types and benefits of intercultural training, Determinants of cultural differences, Differences across cultures in people and practices, Socio-Cultural aspects of expatriate adjustment and Intercultural training issues.
Inter cultural training means “Any intervention aimed at increasing an individual’s capability to cope with and work in foreign environment” (Tung, 1981). It includes one to one discussion and imitation of the situations of other culture to understand the culture of host country. In other way cross cultural training means “Formal methods to prepare people for more effective interpersonal relations and job success when they interact extensively with individuals from cultures other than their own” (Brislin and Yoshida, 1994). Definition of cross cultural training hence is wide to include differences in areas like linguistic skills, corporate manners, views and principles, social system, negotiating styles etc. of any culture. The benefits of inter–cultural training are (Zakaria, 2000);
A distinct advantage for organizations
By continuous changing home country mode to a socially adjustable and suitable culture
By improving how to cope up with unpredicted events and by dealing with cultural shock in host country culture
By decreasing uncertainty in expatriates while dealing with host country citizens
Increasing expatriates managing skills by reducing stress and disorientation (Zakaria, 2000) So this is the instrument for increasing the corporate culture and follows constantly reviewing the activity of expatriates in the companies
Importance of Intercultural Training in Globalisation
Changing Nature of International Organisations
Because of increasing co enterprise and unions and the huge developments in minor to major businesses as significant contributions in globalisation. Due to shift in financial circumstances changed the way of organisations looking at the value efficiency of expatriates (Harris and Kumra, 2000)
Change in Host Location
Due to huge foreign direct investment in foreign countries and inter cultural improvements the demand of expatriate assignment rise between established countries with a drop in the percentage of managers moving from developed world to the Third World (Harris and Kumra, 2000)
Key Intercultural Skills for Expatriate Training
According to Hofstede (1980, p. 398) important intercultural skills are as follows:
The ability to interconnect esteem
The ability to be broadminded
The ability to accept others ideas and views
The ability to show sympathy
The ability to be elastic
The ability for giving chance to others in debates
Patience for doubtfulness
Gudykunst and Hammer (1983) focused on types of cross cultural training approaches. According to them there are two approaches:
Experiential versus Didactic: This method is based on an observation that individuals, mainly grownups, study by performing the task. (Knowles, 1972, 1975, 1990; Tough, 1979) For effectiveness in this approach learner have to study the processes and tactics for their significance in their society; improve a positive approach to the concept which will bring positive outcomes for them and also for another (Richards, 1997). In the didactic (information giving) approach, based on the thoughts that a cognitive understanding is essential before people can interact with another culture. This can be done by information giving such as lectures, videos and group discussions.
Culture Specific versus Culture General: Culture specific training gives information and direction about culture where expatiate is moving soon for his assignment. Culture specific method includes methods like culture specific briefings, assimilation and readings, giving expatriate knowledge about the country (e.g. past and present situation, creed); important ethics, or what to do and what not to do in that particular culture. (Harris and Kumra, 2000)On the other hand, Culture general training is about providing information to the peoples which they can use in any new culture with anew variety of know hows and developing expatiates with a set of expertise of how to deal with unknown cultures. Types of approach used in this include simulations and self-assessments (Harris and Kumra, 2000)
Types and Benefits of Intercultural Training
Pre Departure Training: This is the traditional form for intercultural training and it is conducted in the home country and organised about a month ago before departure. For better efficiency, the training should be given when the trainees are most motivated to learn (Selmer, 2009) For example, if a person is unable to concern learning about another culture may not benefit from pre-departure training. The duration of most Cross Cultural Training programmes is depends upon the cultural distance from home country to host country. For example between the West and China (Branine, 2005). This experience is called ‘‘tourist phase’’ (Torbiorn,1982)
Post Arrival Training: Post arrival training is further beneficial when provided after expatriate coming back from host country to home country. (Gudykunst et al., 1996; Selmer et al., 1998). This takes around three to six months to start and focused on developments in the host country culture, world view, mentality, values, living patterns and social structure (Torbiorn, 1994). This training can take place at the host country, the home country or any other place. This is like ‘‘on site’’ training of expatriates. ‘‘on site’’ training supports to study innovative administrative measures, and help them adjust to the new cultural background.
Sequential Training: This training must be progressing in steps starting at pre departure and continuing to the post arrival phases which provides a complete direction for expatriate’s step by step improvement towards knowing the value and beliefs of the host culture. (Selmer, 2009) Sequential training has three pre conditions. First, expatriate’s encounters a much diverse societal atmosphere, that the expatriate has faced situations which were unknown before without any option. Then, the relocation to the overseas nation is within a short period of time. Third, expatriate Stays in the host culture for long time for situation to be restructured and the new behaviors to be taught (Selmer et al., 1998).
Content and Duration of Cross Cultural Training
Brislin (1979) has identified three different contents of Cross cultural Training as being cognitive, effective and behavioral in nature. The cognitive content matches to a distribution of information through discussions and other non-participatory resources. Cognitive content contain facts and figures important for real world measures, for example geographic knowledge, weather, accommodation, universities etc. The effective content aims at aggravating individual responses to learn how to deal with critical cultural situations.
The behavioral content aims at improving the communication style of participants for decent relationships with members of host culture and could enables communication with natives, shows an ability to show the interest to learn about overseas culture, supports expatriate to be well mannered (Eschback et al., 2001; Selmer, 2006). Duration of Cross Culture Training sessions are depending upon what training expatriate is getting ranging from one day or designed for few days or a month (Caligiuri et al., 2001; Gudykunst et al.). For example, language training from basic level to advance level reneging from one day to one month.
Benefits of Cross Cultural Training
Cross cultural training improves consciousness amongst people in order to promote clear lines of communication and better relationships. Cross Cultural Training should enable expatriates to determine appropriate cultural behaviours in the host country and suitable ways to perform their job tasks (Black and Mendenhall, 1990). Through Cross Cultural Training, expatriates may get familiar with unexpected happenings in the new cultural background and to reduce conflict due to unexpected actions and situations. Furthermore, it also shows that in the pre departure Cross Cultural Training, the training may help expatriates to create accurate outlooks with respect to living and working in the host country. (Black and Mendenhall, 1990; Black et al., 1991)
An Integrated Cross Cultural Training Model
This model relates the success of training to the development of acculturation. This supports expatriates to act very effectively and reduce stressful practices while facing the insecurity in overseas nations. This model defines acculturation as both a development and a state. For individual persons, family support and willingness to acculturate features added. The type of job assignment, length of assignment and type of training added in situational features. The main improvement in this model is the adding of extra critical process earlier cultural contact takes place, both of which are antecedents to the acculturation process. (Zakaria, 2000)
The new procedure is the moderating process which needs good training programs. The main purposes of this procedure are: adjust the individual and situational characteristics; decrease the culture shock like stress, disorientation, learning and skills deficits; accomplish improved acculturation results. Cross cultural training is important element. With the help of integrated cross cultural training program organisations gain benefits if training is provided in a proper way (Nixon & Dawson 2013)
Determinants of Cultural Differences
Pioneering study of cultures across modern nations done by Hofstede, Dutch social psychologist, in different cultures evaluated the outcomes and establishes forms of likeness and variance among the answers along these five dimensions. According to Hofstede (1981, in Hofstede, 2001) there are some magnitudes in to the cultural factors. These factors are as follows:
Power distance index (PDI): This state to the degree of dissimilarity that exists – and is accepted – between persons with and without power. A high PD score shows that culture agrees an unequal circulation of power and people recognise “their place” in the system. A Low PD shows that power is shared and well distributed. It also means equality in the society members.
Individualism (IDV): means specific point at which persons take care about them beyond family and with a very few close friends or stay incorporated into groups usually around the family.
Masculinity (MAS) vs. feminism: means the circulation of emotional roles amongst the sexes. It opposes a tough masculine to tender feminine society. The assertive pole has been called ‘masculine’ and the modest and the caring pole called ‘feminine’.
Uncertainty avoidance index (UAI): this deals with a culture’s open mindedness for uncertainty and ambiguity; which shows the states to man’s hunt for reality. It shows to what level a culture programs its members to feel in unstructured conditions. For example, uncomfortable or comfortable.
Long term orientation (LTO): This state that at what dimensions values and ethics age old works as opposite to short term customs and beliefs. Countries those are having a high Long term orientation score, bringing on social responsibilities and side stepping “loss of face” are count very significant.
Differences across Cultures in People and Practices
Many people behave significantly different in different situations because of their cultures differences. The motivational desires of the expatriates and executives differ from culture to culture. The driving force which causes peoples to do the job in India may not be the same for Chines peoples; international manager must understand the modifications in the people’s mode of doing work. (Neelankavil and James, 2012)
The manufacture services of organizations may be same through divisions but the mind-set of the people’s changes organizations to organizations. For example, Japanese management system like quality circles failed when they have applied into Indian organisations. Neelankavil, Mathur and Zhang (2012) study shows that in four countries for management development and motivational aspects in both different training found diverse management values, value dimensions and relative administration. India established a similar value to America than its neighbor country china though less geographic distance. For example, Drive and ambition were significant for American managers (91) for achievement which is not the instance for China (7) (Neelankavil, Mathur and Zhang, 2012)
Socio Cultural Aspects of Expatriate Adjustment
There is difference in Socio-Cultural and psychological adjustments in the concept of inter cultural adjustment (Searle and Ward, 1990; Ward and Kennedy, 1992, 1993; Ward and Searle, 1991). Socio-Cultural adjustment communicates the capability to successfully interact with the peoples of overseas country (Ward and Kennedy, 1996) which has been linked with objects that encourage and enable to learn other countries culture and acquire social skills. (Cross, 1995; Searle and Ward, 1990) The Socio-Cultural stressed on social behavior (Black and Mendenhall, 1991; Furnham, 1993; Klineberg, 1982).Psychological adjustment means person’s happiness in their new social backgrounds linked with persons emotions, cognitive views, and individual features (Ward and Kennedy, 1996). Black et al. (1991) discussed in their recommended model for international managers modification, difference in three types of modification is as follows:
Modification towards expatriates work;
Modification towards communicating with citizens of the host country;
Modification towards social situation.
It is very important that for sending their expatriates to the host country must be aware of situations in an overseas. Managing with an overseas nation both administrative and national require well organized homework. A very well equipped cross cultural training will help the organizations to be ready for, with the fluctuations in the functioning policies, principles and ethics they are predicted towards the future. There is a degree of variance expatriate may see while moving to a host country. An organisation may face losses due to unorganized cross cultural training and that is the matter of great concern.
For preparing the expatriates for an overseas mission is equally advantageous for the companies and for international managers. In cross cultural training it is very important that which type of training program organisation using. A good organised inter cultural teaching program might help in uncertain circumstances; from this activity industry can get the best possible output from the international managers by taking care of the employee confidence and inspiration. Now from the above arguments we can say that inter cultural training is the main factor for success in international human resource management.
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This paper considers the treatments that work most effectively for teaching people with dyslexia how to read confidently. I will begin by reviewing the background of dyslexia. Relying heavily on sources I surveyed, I will briefly explore the benefits of early intervention while providing hope of treatment for those the system already failed. Finally, I will examine treatments that successfully aid young dyslexics in conquering their disease and suggest implementing these in all kindergarten classes.
Introduction and Diagnosis
Dyslexia is a major problem for many children who desire to read but cannot break the reading code. Peer pressure that results from the inability to decipher words into speech can even lead third graders to contemplate suicide (Berninger, 2000, p 183). Yet, Shaywitz estimates twenty percent of all school age children have the disorder. Sadly, in the same experiment she discovered only one-third of these children were in special education programs (Shaywitz, 2004, p 30). Every child who desires to read has the right to learn; however, many children on the edge of reading disabilities never receive remedial treatment until they fail multiple times. While the older dyslexic has the ability to conquer the disease, intervention at earlier ages is more effective and saves the child from stigmatization.
Although early diagnosis is a key factor in recovery, many disagree on how to identify children with the disability (Scruggs, T., Mastropieri, M., 2002; Stanovich, K., 2005). This delays treatment, reducing the chances of remediating the child to fluent reading. Intelligence tests and multiple years of academic failure are the most widely used methods of diagnosing dyslexia, but lead to widespread over- and under- diagnosis (Scruggs, T., Mastropieri, M., 2002). Genetic research is more accurate, but it is an expensive method of identification. However, researchers have not identified all the genes responsible for dyslexia. Additionally, while genetic influence exists (Taipale, M., Kaminen, N., Nopola-Hemmi, J., Haltia, T., Hannula-Jouppi, K., Kere, J., 2003), twin studies show it is not a determining factor as to whether or not a child will develop dyslexia (Shaywitz, 2004, p 99), and children without any genetic markers develop the disease from poor instruction.
MRI imaging is one of the most accurate diagnostic tools, but it also is costly and only available to researchers. It allows one to see which areas of the brain are active during language processing. The pictures clearly show the difference between those who have broken the code, dyslexics and dyslexics that have compensated for the disease. However, the benefit of an accurate diagnosis does not outweigh the cost in time and money of performing the test.
When children are unruly in class or difficult to teach, teachers often refer them for testing. Shaywitz points out the large percentage of boys diagnosed with dyslexia while very few girls receive this identification. Her reassessment of children in several schools found the number of boys was actually equal to the number of girls (Shaywitz, 2004, p 32). This creates more of a problem by placing children in classes where they will bore easily or by leaving children in classes that do not meet their needs.
In addition to under- and over- diagnosis, one also finds the problems of late diagnosis and not seeing the need for diagnosis. Some believe students must be over the age of eight before a proper identification of dyslexia is possible. Shaywitz argues that between four and five are the ideal ages for intervention. Conflicts arise over whether the learning disabled label will brand the child for life with a negative image, or whether the child will be allowed to fall through the cracks once labeled as dyslexic.
The school told the mother of a girl I once tutored that she should not have her child tested to eliminate the possibility of the child being stuck with the label. Additionally, because dyslexics and average readers learn on the same curve, some in education still assert children outgrow the disease or that there is no reason to change the child’s current reading program. While it is true that the curve is similar and dyslexics even make a slight gain on their peers, dyslexics always score far below good readers (Shaywitz, 2004, p 34).
Before addressing the question of how to solve the problems of diagnosis and treatment, we must first explore some terms common in dyslexia. The term as defined by the International Dyslexia Association is:
Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurobiological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge (August, 2002).
The phoneme is “the smallest unit of speech that distinguishes one word forms another” (Shaywitz, 2004, p 41). The phonological module is “the functional part of the brain where sounds of language are put together to form words and where words are broken down into their elemental sounds” (Shaywitz, 2004, p 40). Because the major problem with dyslexia is a breakdown in the ability to recognize phonemes contained in words, these terms are all important to any discussion of the disease.
If dyslexia is a breakdown in the ability to distinguish phonemes, it logically follows that increasing the amount and quality of phonemic instruction will aid the child in overcoming the disease. Parents and educators must realize the need for intervention and actively pursue it. Important to consider are the dyslexic’s developmental age at the time they begin supplemental instruction. Equally as important is to develop a program that focuses on the child’s strengths and interests.
To begin to aid a child in understanding the relationship between sounds and words, one must introduce the child to the sounds of language. Books filled with rhyme and alliteration such as Chicka Chicka Boom Boom or One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish are excellent choices (Shaywitz, 2004, p177 – 182). After spending time reading these books for pleasure, it is important for the teacher or parent to draw attention to which words rhyme and what rhyme is. They should have the child think of other words that begin or end in the same way. Children need to realize that words are related through sound before identifying that those sounds are represented alphabetically. All elementary teachers should spend time each day reading to their students just as parents should spend time each day reading to their children. Connecting words we speak to the phonemes that create them is essential to all readers.
Once the child can rhyme, the program must begin to help the child break words into all their sounds. Beginning with two sound words like key, bee, or it, the educator can teach the child to break the words into their respective phonemic units. Introductory work on syllables can begin. After the child realizes that words separate into smaller parts, the adult may teach three sound words like cat, seat, or call. At the same time, it will be useful to reinforce what the child already learned by asking questions like “What do you get if you put the /s/ sound in front of the word key?” or “What does /m/… /o/ …/m/ make?” All these things build phonemic awareness and are useful to all children learning to read.
Once the child has a basic understanding of phonemes, the instructor should introduce decodable texts that use relatively few phonemes to create stories. These books, such as the “Bob Book” series, slowly build confidence in the child’s reading ability. As the child begins to enjoy their ability to read, new books and sight words should be introduced. Sight words must be memorized. Children can make their own flashcards with words like is, are, was, one, and two. This allows them to read and write the word.
The child must practice writing to build legible handwriting and further establish phonemic awareness. Practice is the only way to learn. The more a child practices making letters correctly and sounding out words on paper, the better the child will become at it. All children should be given many chances even at the beginning of kindergarten to practice writing. Word cards with tracing paper clipped to them will aid in early instruction. In writing, having the child practice forming the letters correctly should be stressed. Allowing children to write four pages of a’s (for example) backward is not as useful as having the child trace one page of the letters correctly.
By the end of kindergarten, children should be practicing spelling skills. While children at this level should not be expected to spell well, invented spelling is an important step on the road to recognizing the phonemic roots of words. The more chances children are given to attempt to sound words out for themselves, the more they will master breaking words apart into their letters, and in return, the better ability they will have to decode written words.
As with all kindergarten children, teachers need to read enjoyable books and surround children with literacy. When children recognize the joy of reading, they desire to read. When teachers and parents read to children, they encourage larger vocabularies. Children who know the meaning of words like “ink” will have a better time decoding it when they come across it in texts they are reading (Shaywitz, 2004, p192).
Finally, it is important for children to develop self-confidence. Children should make progress as they go through an intensive phonics program. Tests can be performed to make sure they understand what was taught, but tests are teaching tools that evaluate teachers not students. When a student does not understand something, it should cue the teacher to reintroduce it in a new way. Additionally, children should not repeat a grade if they have failed to decode reading by the end of kindergarten (Shaywitz, 2004, p196).
Many teachers will look at the plan for educating dyslexic kindergarteners and think, “That is what I do for my class already.” This is because what Shaywitz proposes is an intensive phonics program. Others like Beringer (2000) utilize the same style of reading program to teach dyslexics. The two major differences between intervention reading and a standard kindergarten program are that many kindergarten programs try rushing phonics training and that intervention work is created around a theme of interest among the students.
Implementing this program for all kindergarten students would not lower the education they receive. However, if all schools focused on intensive phonics training for their kindergarten students, dyslexia could be conquered without extensive testing to discover which children have the disorder. When schools use tests to evaluate what they need to teach instead of how well students are learning, they can resolve many learning issues. Some may argue that children without learning disabilities will become bored with intensive learning, but often the children that learn to read too quickly develop other learning problems later on that could be corrected by skills learned from intensive phoneme training (Shaywitz, 2004, p196).
While dyslexia is a major problem that needs to be addressed, it can easily be eliminated from the classroom. Shaywitz and others have show through MRI’s that even dyslexics can conquer the disease and rewire their brains if they are instructed in intensive phonemic awareness. Because of the difficulty in recognizing the disease early and intervening, it is imperative schools adapt an aggressive stance on this learning disorder.
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