kitchen table math, the sequel: Sigh. Misunderstanding Scripted Learning [whiny voice] AGAIN!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Sigh. Misunderstanding Scripted Learning [whiny voice] AGAIN!

One of the most important things I gathered from the Direct Instruction literature is that is isn't scripted lessons, it is a script for lessons that have been tried, tested, debugged, tested again, further debugged, [repeat ad nauseum until you have a program that has a X% rate of success upon delivery] plus effective training of teachers in script delivery plus constant, rapid testing and feedback to students that make a scripted program effectove

[sidebar: Ken deRosa had an excellent summary, from Engelmann's The Outrage of Project Follow Through: how this works in practice"]

These quality-control features are what is missing from the conversation about "scripted lessons", which are often depicted as "teacher proof".

Sheesh. Would any theater-goer think of a play (which after all, is a script) as "actor-proof"? Haven't they ever been to a wooden production?

It is the "phonics vs. whole language" argument, all over again. Frankly, if I had a child in k-3, I'd prefer a semi-competent whole-language teacher, who was at least reading good stories, over a lousy phonics means workbooks and illogical teaching and drill teacher. At least I could supplement my kid's reading mastery with good phonemic extra-curricular teaching, rather than trying to erase the wrong approach and start over.

But wait. I got away from the point of this post.

The point of Direct Instruction and Precision Teaching is that both approaches are continually refined, based upon accurate* assessment. I can sit at home all I want, and come up with a clever, creative lesson plan (which might well be wonderful based on thought experiments) but until I use the lesson plan, and then test what of the concepts in the plan the students have mastered, on actual is just pie in the sky.

NYC Educator has some doozies from classroom teachers on script-hating.

*another time we will talk about how malformed multiple choice questions have nothing very little to do with getting an accurate picture of what your students have or have not mastered.


Anonymous said...

Does anyone know of courses offered to educators for professional develpment credit (for state recertification) on the topics of DI and/or precision teaching?

Catherine Johnson said...

good question

where can we go even to learn these things?

I would love to spend time at the Morningside School.

palisadesk said...

This is entirely hearsay and I don't know specifically what courses are offered nor how, but I have heard very positive comments from people who did take courses through these institutions. Some of my informants indeed got some coursework on DI and PT. So with that caveat, here are some sources to investigate:

University of North Texas
Western Governors University
Chicago School of Professional Psychology
University of Washington (google Dr. Owen White)
Utah State University (google Dr. Tim Slocum)
West Virginia University has a strong applied behavior analysis program, so they may incorporate DI and PT -- I don't know.
Penn State has Dr. Richard Kubina, who has researched and published on both DI and PT. I don't know if any courses through these latter four schools are online.

Seek and ye shall find!

Anonymous said...

Maybe this'll help

Opportunities for training and study-Precision Teaching (including Morningside Academy)

Precision Teaching --University programs (including Owen White and the Chicago School, etc.)

Organizations that offer Direct Instruction- training and classroom coaching

Other Direct Instruction resource
The Association for Direct Instruction

'Sorry, don't know how to activate links, but the link through my nickname goes to my Precision Teaching site, which has the same information among other topics.