Wheldall blog what's wrong with What Works C/house

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yvonne meyer
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Re: Wheldall blog what's wrong with What Works C/house

Post by yvonne meyer » Mon Aug 27, 2012 1:42 am

Elsiep's position is that because there is no evidence-based research that supports the approach she believes is best, there must be something wrong with the research.

No amount of proof is going to convince her otherwise.

elsiep
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Re: Wheldall blog what's wrong with What Works C/house

Post by elsiep » Mon Aug 27, 2012 4:49 am

yvonne meyer wrote:Elsiep says:
it's about the quality of evidence-based research...

I'd opt for a child-centred approach to education over a teacher-centred or curriculum-centred approach because each child is unique...

I would advocate a child-centred approach to education over a teacher-centred or curriculum-centred one...
Please point out a single 'quality' evidence-based research paper that informs us the child-centred approach is more effective then the teacher-centred approach.
Yvonne, you cannot design a 'quality' (whatever that means) evaluation of an 'approach' without defining exactly what you mean by the 'approach'. That's because 'approaches' vary too much.
Also, I understand from previous exchanges that you did not use synthetic phonics to teach beginning reading in the past. Please let us know how well that worked for you?


In school, all children were reading by the end of year 1. My son was reading by the middle of year 2 and then went on to have a reading age consistently above his chronological age. By the time of his statutory assessment (y7) his reading age was 'near adult'.

However, in school and at home each child (apart from fluent readers) read to me each day, I recorded any reading errors and developed games and activities that focussed on the specific errors. Most of these games involved phonics, so any child who didn't grasp reading quickly got phonics training, effectively.

Why do you ask?

elsie
Last edited by elsiep on Mon Aug 27, 2012 5:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

elsiep
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Re: Wheldall blog what's wrong with What Works C/house

Post by elsiep » Mon Aug 27, 2012 5:28 am

yvonne meyer wrote:
As for the 'child-deficit' model - if 27 children in a class of 30 are doing fine on all measures, but 3 are struggling, why would that be? It's unlikely to be poor teaching, or an ineffective educational 'method'.
Using the child-centred approach, how would the teacher know which child is succeeding and which child is struggling?
The teacher would assess them. If a child is trying to do something and failing that's not actually very difficult to spot.
Using the child-centred approach means that "doing fine on all measures" is based on the teacher's subjective opinion. Why is it that so many of the child-centred approach children who appeared to have been "doing fine on all measures" in early grades, hit the wall in subsequent years.
Teachers' subjective opinions are not worthless. They are supposed to be trained professionals, and trained professionals use 'subjective' opinions all the time. You do not need standardised testing to tell you if a child can't read or do arithmetic or whether they've learned something or haven't. What you are talking about is poor teaching.
Why is that parents spend so much time after school teaching their children themselves if the dominant child-centred model is as effective as you think?
I am not saying that what you call the dominant child-centred model is effective. That's what I meant about 'approaches'. I can't see how an education can be effective unless it is tailored to the individual child's age, ability and aptitude. That's what I mean by child-centred. I don't mean an approach in which the teaching and learning in the classroom is so poor that it has to be supplemented by parents.
Is it not more likely in the scenario above that the children who are doing well are the ones whose parents have the time and personal literacy & numeracy skills to teach their children themselves, while the 3 who are not doing well are the ones who are reliant on the teacher?
It's possible, but frankly I think it's unlikely that 27 out of 30 parents would all be doing that.
It's far more likely to be that the child has a problem.
Really? Why is it that some teachers/schools have a huge percentage of struggling students and some teachers/schools have none?
For a whole range of reasons. That's why state education systems are still, after 150 + years, the subject of intense debate. If all that was needed was for all schools to mimic the high performers, that would have happened long ago.
Are you suggesting that all children's learning difficulties can be alleviated by the right educational 'method'?
This from the person who has only recently discovered synthetic phonics, was unaware of Project Follow Through and the work of Zig Englemann, still does not know what the SRA/Direct Instruction programmes are and how they work, and is not aware of the field-tested programmes like SRA/Direct Instruction, and MULTILIT.
To the best of my knowledge, none of the above have ensured that all children get 100% in all tests and go on to be Nobel Prize winners. Indeed, I haven't found any information about the long-term outcomes on employment, health etc of any of them either. (Not saying there aren't any, I just haven't found them.)

From what I can gather, you have come across a method of teaching children how to decode text that made a big difference to your son. You have therefore assumed that similar methods can be applied to all areas of learning and to all children with equal success and have become evangelistic in promoting them.

You appear to believe that all children are identical and the only factor that varies in educational terms is quality of teaching. This is the exact opposite of Engelmann's theory, which was that teaching had to stay constant because children varied. I'm still interested in how he addressed the issue of children who didn't get it, but he clearly recognised that that was going to happen.

elsie

elsiep
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Re: Wheldall blog what's wrong with What Works C/house

Post by elsiep » Mon Aug 27, 2012 5:30 am

yvonne meyer wrote:Elsiep's position is that because there is no evidence-based research that supports the approach she believes is best, there must be something wrong with the research.

No amount of proof is going to convince her otherwise.
I refrain from comment.

elsiep

yvonne meyer
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Re: Wheldall blog what's wrong with What Works C/house

Post by yvonne meyer » Mon Aug 27, 2012 11:01 pm

you cannot design a 'quality' (whatever that means) evaluation of an 'approach' without defining exactly what you mean by the 'approach'. That's because 'approaches' vary too much
Elsiep can't define what you mean by your 'child-centred approach' and not being able to define it certanly means that it is not possible to design a scientific evidence-based research trial which tests and compares it to a control group.

However, scientific researchers like the Chall/Harvard Lab, Reid Lyon/NICHD team, Englemann & Becker/DISTAR/SRA DI, Wheldall/MULTILIT, Johnson/Watson/Clacks, etc, etc, etc are able to give operational definitions and design scientific research trials and field tested programmes which all inform us that direct, explicit, intensive and systematic teacher directed instruction is more effective then 'child-centred approaches'.

yvonne meyer
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Re: Wheldall blog what's wrong with What Works C/house

Post by yvonne meyer » Mon Aug 27, 2012 11:37 pm

Martin Kozloff says it all in this and other papers. Following are some quotes but the actual paper contains references which are well worth reading. My bolding is to statements that I think are pertinent to Elsiep.

Necessary Conditions for Fundamental Reform of Schools of Education
Martin A. Kozloff, July, 2001

http://people.uncw.edu/kozloffm/reformconditions.html
… The most common criticism is that education school curricula do not change in response to (and indeed are in conflict with) scientific research on effective curricula and methods of instruction, as found in the work of …

Second, schools of education are intransigent in the face of national and state data on student achievement … the common response from education schools and their advocates is to: (1) ignore or reject the data (Biddle & Berliner, 1995); and/or (2) argue that student failure is caused by factors over which education schools have no control (e.g., class size, lack of parental involvement, or social disadvantage)—despite large-scale experimental research showing that student achievement and failure are most closely associated with the curricula and instructional methods used by teachers

Third … Instead of using current research (e.g., National Reading Panel, 2000) to examine and change teacher training curricula (to better prepare new teachers), schools of education typically dismiss state tests as: (1) the effort of political conservatives to control education; (2) fostering poor teacher practices ("teaching to the test"); and/or (3) a political fad that will eventually disappear and allow education schools to return to a state of comfortable self-satisfaction.

Fourth ... The most effective curricula and forms of instruction involve (1) logically progressive sequences of tasks; (2) cumulative building of more complex skills; (3) explicit information from the teacher (e.g., demonstrations, stated rules); (4) systematic instruction on generalizing knowledge to new situations; (5) correction of errors; (6) immediate and cumulative assessment of student learning in the form of performance; and (7) distributed practice to the point of mastery. In contrast, schools of education typically are dominated by professors who advocate (and train new teachers to use) so-called "progressive," "child-centered," "student-directed," "inquiry-
based," "constructivist," "developmentally appropriate practices"
(Grossen, 1998; Stone, 1996). [See also "Constructivism: Sophistry for a New Age"; "Developmentalism: An Obscure But Pervasive Restriction on Educational Improvement"; and "Child-Directed Teaching Methods: A Discriminatory Practice of Western Education."]

… teachers who do not know the difference between serious scientific research and professors' opinions; who do not know enough about learning and instructional design to identify the flaws in (for example) whole language "curricula" and constructivist mathematics; who do not understand that what is presented as "critical pedagogy" is little more than disguised neoMarxism; who do not know exactly how to teach reading, writing, spelling, math, and reasoning; and who therefore fail to foster satisfactory achievement in a substantial proportion of their students--nothing at all happens to the education schools that mistaught the teachers…

yvonne meyer
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Re: Wheldall blog what's wrong with What Works C/house

Post by yvonne meyer » Tue Aug 28, 2012 2:23 am

Teachers' subjective opinions are not worthless
Elsiep, I did not say that teacher's subjective opinions were worthless. Please don't put words in my mouth, especially words designed to inflame and alienate teachers who may be reading this thread.

What I said was that, using the 'child-centred approach' meant that all a teacher has to determine progress was their subjective opinion.

Using evidence-based, direct, explicit, intensive and systematic teacher-directed instruction and utilising evidence-based and field-trial teaching & learning programmes means that a teacher has a true range of objective assessments & tests on which they can base their opinion.

B-t-w, the difference between an opinion and a professional opinion is that a professional opinion is underpinned by professional indemnity insurance which means if the opinion is wrong, the professional gets sued and their insurance premiums go up. If they get it wrong often enough, they are forced out of their profession by the cost of their insurance premium.

I certainly agree that teachers should be 'professional' in the same way that doctors & lawyers professional but, at present, they are not.

Also, every time there has been a comparision of student outcomes based on objective tests and teacher opinion assessments, the comparisions have found that teachers are most likely to over-estimate the progress that their students make.

elsiep
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Re: Wheldall blog what's wrong with What Works C/house

Post by elsiep » Tue Aug 28, 2012 6:35 am

yvonne meyer wrote:
Teachers' subjective opinions are not worthless
Elsiep, I did not say that teacher's subjective opinions were worthless. Please don't put words in my mouth, especially words designed to inflame and alienate teachers who may be reading this thread.

What I said was that, using the 'child-centred approach' meant that all a teacher has to determine progress was their subjective opinion.
Yvonne, what you actually said was:
Using the child-centred approach means that "doing fine on all measures" is based on the teacher's subjective opinion. Why is it that so many of the child-centred approach children who appeared to have been "doing fine on all measures" in early grades, hit the wall in subsequent years.
What I inferred was that in your opinion assessment teachers' subjective opinion resulted in many children 'hitting the wall'. Was I wrong to do so?
Using evidence-based, direct, explicit, intensive and systematic teacher-directed instruction and utilising evidence-based and field-trial teaching & learning programmes means that a teacher has a true range of objective assessments & tests on which they can base their opinion.

B-t-w, the difference between an opinion and a professional opinion is that a professional opinion is underpinned by professional indemnity insurance which means if the opinion is wrong, the professional gets sued and their insurance premiums go up. If they get it wrong often enough, they are forced out of their profession by the cost of their insurance premium.
The difference between an opinion and a professional opinion is that the professional opinion is informed by knowledge and expertise gained by training and experience. Most professions are represented by professional bodies that act in response to complaints long before legal action is taken. I've never come across your definition of 'professional opinion' before!
I certainly agree that teachers should be 'professional' in the same way that doctors & lawyers professional but, at present, they are not.

Also, every time there has been a comparision of student outcomes based on objective tests and teacher opinion assessments, the comparisions have found that teachers are most likely to over-estimate the progress that their students make.
I'd agree with that. But I'd also agree with teachers using standardised assessments. Assessment doesn't have to be one or the other.

elsiep
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Re: Wheldall blog what's wrong with What Works C/house

Post by elsiep » Tue Aug 28, 2012 6:59 am

yvonne meyer wrote:
you cannot design a 'quality' (whatever that means) evaluation of an 'approach' without defining exactly what you mean by the 'approach'. That's because 'approaches' vary too much
Elsiep can't define what you mean by your 'child-centred approach'
I'm perfectly capable of defining what I mean by 'child-centred approach'. I've done so repeatedly. But it isn't a specific method or set of methods used in a specific way. It encompasses a range of methods that would be determined by whatever was being taught/learned and which child was being taught/learning. Similarly a 'teacher-led approach' could refer to multiple different methods and the methods used might vary from teacher to teacher, from lesson to lesson and from day to day. Likewise a 'curriculum-centred approach'.

If you tried comparing these approaches as approaches, you could end up with results that showed that one approach fulfilled your criteria for success better than the others, and then find that approach was implemented in totally different ways by different teachers, some of whom were more 'successful' than others. Montessori schools use a 'child centred' approach, as do teachers who allow children to run riot all day, but methods they use are as different as chalk and cheese. Likewise, a 'teacher-led' approach could encompass anything from teachers reciting a lesson in front of 100 children sitting on forms, who then learn the lesson by rote and are tested by monitors, to teachers meticulously planning a lesson differentiated for children of differing abilities and pacing it appropriately. An 'approach' is far too varied a construct to be reliably evaluated.
and not being able to define it certanly means that it is not possible to design a scientific evidence-based research trial which tests and compares it to a control group.
Exactly.
However, scientific researchers like the Chall/Harvard Lab, Reid Lyon/NICHD team, Englemann & Becker/DISTAR/SRA DI, Wheldall/MULTILIT, Johnson/Watson/Clacks, etc, etc, etc are able to give operational definitions and design scientific research trials and field tested programmes which all inform us that direct, explicit, intensive and systematic teacher directed instruction is more effective then 'child-centred approaches'.
Yes, but they did not compare 'approaches', they compared specified, operationalised sets of methods. Although their findings certainly show that some methods were more effective than others in fulfilling specific criteria for success, they couldn't compare all possible combinations of methods, and the criteria for success are up for debate anyway. Their findings are obviously very useful for teachers, but since people differ widely in what outcomes they want from schools, there is little likelihood of reaching consensus on what 'works'.

MonaMMcNee
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Re: Wheldall blog what's wrong with What Works C/house

Post by MonaMMcNee » Tue Aug 28, 2012 8:31 am

I submit that we should be aiming at teaching reading such that the NATIONAL AVERAGE is a good 20 points above today's 100.
I read that Mrs Hepplewhite is invited to various universities. I wish Liverpool JM or Manchester or any university in the NW would invite me!
Mona M.

yvonne meyer
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Re: Wheldall blog what's wrong with What Works C/house

Post by yvonne meyer » Wed Aug 29, 2012 1:27 am

Mona,

I agree with you, certainly as far as Australia is concerned, our current NAPLAN 'benchmarks' are so low that a student can be illiterate & innumerate and still meet the benchmark.

I also agree that the key to improvement is getting the University Ed Schools which are responsible for intial teacher training, and here in Australian, also control much of what goes on in schools because they are considered by the Education Bureaucracy to be the 'experts' :shock: in education and are called upon to advise on all matters to do with schooling, eg, curriculum, textbooks, research etc.

Unfortunately, our University Schools & Faculties of Education are intransigent when it comes to changing from their prefered personal opinion/fad-based beliefs to evidence-based education.

Where, for example, synthetic phonics has been introduced, it is treated as just another fad which will run its course to then be replaced with the latest version of what is already known to be ineffective, ie, some variation of constructivist/ Whole Language reading 'experience'.

The only chance we have in Australia of empirical evidence that teacher-directed instruction is more effective then child-centred learning is the full scale implementation of SRA/Direct Instruction in the group of highly disadvantaged schools in Far North Queensland controlled by Noel Pearson.

However, Pearson is currently being treated for cancer and there has been a change of Government in Queensland and there is already a story in the newspaper about the new Government refusing to continue funding for SDR/DI in these schools.

The reality of politics is that anything that was set in place by a previous government is going to be viewed harshly when there is a change of government, especially when there is heavy lobbying against a particular programme, and our Ed Schools 'experts' have lobbied very hard against SRA/DI.

As far as being invited to speak at University Ed Schools, I hope when Debbie and others have spoken, what they said was actually heard and not dismissed. Here in Melbourne, I managed to get some of our Ed School 'Perfessors' to visit a school that implemented evidence-based instruction and to get the Ed School to invite the school principal to talk to the Ed School students about evidence-based instruction.

They came, they listened, they ignored the evidence and continue to advocate ineffective child-centred approaches. :evil:

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Re: Wheldall blog what's wrong with What Works C/house

Post by yvonne meyer » Wed Aug 29, 2012 1:53 am

For non-Australian readers who are interested in this story, the 'welfare reform', also called 'intervention', is a complicated matter whereby the dole can be withheld from families who are believed not be doing the right thing for their children, ie, spending the money on drink & gambling instead of food, shelter, clothing, and not making sure their children attend school. Those who are antagonistic to the intervention are those who believe it is another example of white Australians patronising indiginous Australians.

Noel Pearson is greatly in favour of requiring certain conditions to be met before receiving what the indiginous people call, 'sit-down money'.

One part of the 'reform' is that it gave Pearson the funds and authority to replace exisiting child-centred, multi-culti, politically correct but ineffective instruction in the schools in his Cape York community with SRA/DI. The backlash against Pearson was and continues to be intense, driven mostly by the 'Chardonnnay-Left', ie, middle-class, urbane-dwelling people with little experience of the diffiuclties faced by residents in these remore, highly disadvantaged communities.

The SRA/DI trial will take a couple more years to show up in National Benchmark (NAPLAN) testing. The children who received all SRA/DI from their first year of formal schooling will hit the Grade Three NAPLAN test in (from memory) 2015. That is, if the programme remains in place.

Campbell Newman holds out on funding for welfare trial

by: MICHAEL MCKENNA, QUEENSLAND POLITICAL EDITOR
From:The Australian
August 28, 201212:00AM

SCHOOL attendance has jumped 24 per cent in the trouble-plagued Aboriginal community of Aurukun during the Cape York welfare reform trial, which is now facing tougher funding controls by the Queensland government.

Indigenous leader Noel Pearson's Cape York Institute and the Newman government have failed to reach agreement over "governance changes" being demanded in exchange for $5.65 million in state funding for an extension of the trial until the end of next year.

Mr Pearson last week wrote to Queensland's Indigenous Affairs Minister Glen Elmes rejecting the new measures, which include new performance benchmarks and the removal of the Cape York Institute from directly allocating state funds for the trial.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/nationa ... 6459373552

JAC
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Re: Wheldall blog what's wrong with What Works C/house

Post by JAC » Wed Aug 29, 2012 2:20 am

How awful to read this. There'll be nothing left in Queensland of public services at the rate Campbell Newman is going. I do believe that the Cape York Institute does have significant private funding as well? Do you happen to know if this is true.

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Re: Wheldall blog what's wrong with What Works C/house

Post by MonaMMcNee » Wed Aug 29, 2012 3:16 am

STOPPED that splendid teaching!
Sorry - my reply jumped to SEND on its own.
Mona McNee

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Re: Wheldall blog what's wrong with What Works C/house

Post by MonaMMcNee » Wed Aug 29, 2012 8:26 am

I hope this gets through.
Debbie writes that teachers CAN... so pupils learn indirectly.” But my whole point is that government issued Letters and Sounds, and for many teachers that is their first taste of “phonics”, so that the TES then gives us a headline “Phonics knocked off its perch.”
The L&S does not encourage teachers to “be more flexible.” If they use my “Step by Step”, they do not need to be more flexible.
Mrs Chew also says teachers are free to teach GPCs in any order. If so, why bother with L&S?
“If you could point to other teachers”. Well, Richard Freeman in Ulster teaching strugglers in a secondary school achieved such good results that inspectors were “stunned”. He got the sack. A teacher of teenage strugglers in Edinburgh has always used my stuff. Once she tried it, she felt no need for anything else. She has retired. There must be many teachers who read these messages. Will any of them try Step ON ITS OWN? If so I would provide all the equipment needed for a class of 30 and they could then report back....I would expect an ARQ at or near 20 points higher than they get with L&S. No graded readers, no flash cards, no homework, no training, no Running Reading Records, just common sense and page after page of SbS.. Only 2 sight words: to,the. I have a thank-you from a parent in Japan. I have letters from Hong Kong, China, Venezuela, a folder an inch think. But teachers teach according to their training, and are controlled by the LEA. I have approached a dozen primary heads in Knowsley and they DARE NOT walk away from L&S. They refer me to the LEA who says “The matter is closed.” My M.P. Consults the DfE and LEA, both of whom give me the thumbs down and my MP then says “The matter is closed.”. A group in Singapore is now working to spread “Step” unchanged. The man who ut Step on the web at www.phonics4free.org also presents it UNCHANGED, not as a mix of methods.
Why does Mrs Chew say I quit after 3 years? I retired in 1981 after teaching 6 years in a middle school. The two-year success in Southmead was taught by Gill Downey. Later aged 74 I taught just the literacy hour for 2-1/2 terms. Why three years?
I teach “ai” as part of the i/y lesson, no an alternative of long a so that pupils UNDERSTAND how letters work. Magic e is an example of how letters work, the same for all 5 vowels. Ai ee igh oa oo shows no such system. Why “igh”? It only said lng I after a consonant. After a vowel it says A: weigh straight; or even EE : Leigh. Bu I have seen no REJECTION of ai ee igh oa oo. Does the RRF accept ir or not?
Mrs Chew wants more examples of Step used in schools. Will any readers of this try it ON ITS OWN in schools? For any age, beginners, strugglers, dyslexics. Is it possible for it to be tried without the teacher getting the sack> The establishment wants only power, knot literacy or CUTS.
However a class may be taught, schemes are organised either from sounds (as L&S) or from letters (as Step, The Writing Road to Reading). You cannot ORGANISE a scheme both ways. It is not possible.

Mona McNee

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