Teacher-directed instruction isn't wrong!—#1
What could be the matter with saving a life?
Some of my academic colleagues make a big stink about explicit methods such as Direct Instruction and applied behavior analysis. In contrast to their favored methods (student-directed instruction, discovery learning, say), they argue that the anathema approaches are developmentally inappropriate; devalue students and their innate intelligence; inhhibit teachers' creativity, independence, and autonomy; and promote passive, robotic learning.
As the argument goes, those systematic, direct, explicit approaches are dehumanizing. They do not honor the learners' interest in learning. They create learners who are dependent on the teachers' knowledge. Kids become pails to be filled. Students don't actually learn much and, in fact, learn the wrong stuff. Etc.
They object to the image of DI and ABA. They argue that premises of these approaches are faulty. And they dismiss the evidence about effectiveness. I'll organize my comments in three parts, following those ideas: image, logic, evidence.
Now, to be sure, I can be said to be creating a strawdog here. But, please let me disagree with those arguments on their merits. I'm sure most readers have heard variations on these critiques of explicit instruction. They'll recognize the assertions and, maybe, be interested in my comments.
In this first post, I'll present the one of at least three related notes. The next few posts will cover related ideas. Watch them for them in the next few days.
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