Direct Instruction may not be rocket science but it is effective

Kevin Donnelly:

Teachers should be teachers, not facilitators, when it comes to educating schoolchildren.

NOEL Pearson may not be an educationalist by training but when it comes to his advocacy of Direct Instruction and knowledge about what best works in the classroom, he outshines most academics in teacher training institutes and universities.
Since the late 1960s and early 70s, beginning teachers have been taught that more formal, structured and teacher-directed models of classroom interaction are outdated and ineffective.
In the jargon much loved by academics, teachers are called on to be facilitators and guides by the side. Whether associated with what was known as child-centred learning, or its more recent cousin, personalised learning, the assumption is that children must take control and direct their own learning.
Open classrooms, children working in groups, teachers no longer standing at the front of the room and lots of noise and activity are all manifestations of this progressive and new-age model of classroom interaction.

Memorisation and rote learning are condemned as drill and kill, whole language, where beginning readers are told to look and guess and phonics and phonemic awareness go out the window, reigns supreme and mental arithmetic and reciting poetry are obsolete.

There’s only one problem: what has become the current orthodoxy in teacher education is the least-effective and most costly in terms of energy and time. Best illustrated by a US study titled Project Follow Through that evaluated various models ranging from child-centred to teacher-directed, the most successful method of teaching is Direct Instruction.
The more traditional approach involves carefully structured, highly focused lessons where teachers are in control, where children are given a clear and succinct idea of what needs to be mastered and where there is immediate feedback.

Madison, rhetorically, is contemplating the use of phonics, after decades of disastrous reading results.

Related: Catholic schools will sue Dane County Madison Public Health to open as scheduled

Notes and links on Dane County Madison Public Health. (> 140 employees).

Molly Beck and Madeline Heim:

which pushed Dane County this week not to calculate its percentage of positive tests — a data point the public uses to determine how intense infection is in an area.   

While positive test results are being processed and their number reported quickly, negative test results are taking days in some cases to be analyzed before they are reported to the state. 


The department said it was between eight and 10 days behind in updating that metric on the dashboard, and as a result it appeared to show a higher positive percentage of tests and a lower number of total tests per day.

The department said this delay is due to the fact data analysts must input each of the hundreds of tests per day manually, and in order to continue accurate and timely contact tracing efforts, they prioritized inputting positive tests.

“Positive tests are always immediately verified and processed, and delays in processing negative tests in our data system does not affect notification of test results,” the department said in a news release. “The only effect this backlog has had is on our percent positivity rate and daily test counts.”

Staff have not verified the approximately 17,000 tests, which includes steps such as matching test results to patients to avoid duplicating numbers and verifying the person who was tested resides in Dane County.

All 77 false-positive COVID-19 tests come back negative upon reruns.

Madison private school raises $70,000 for lawsuit against public health order. – WKOW-TV. Commentary.

WEAC: $1.57 million for Four Wisconsin Senators

Assembly against private school forced closure.

Wisconsin Catholic schools will challenge local COVID-19 closing order. More.

2017: West High Reading Interventionist Teacher’s Remarks to the School Board on Madison’s Disastrous Reading Results

Madison’s taxpayer supported K-12 school district, despite spending far more than most, has long tolerated disastrous reading results.

My Question to Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers on Teacher Mulligans and our Disastrous Reading Results

“An emphasis on adult employment”

Wisconsin Public Policy Forum Madison School District Report[PDF]

Booked, but can’t read (Madison): functional literacy, National citizenship and the new face of Dred Scott in the age of mass incarceration

Unions, political affiliation more predictive of virtual learning decision than COVID cases. The report.

Run for Office: Dane County Executive is on the Spring, 2021 ballot.