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Re: [xmca] Bruner on Vygotsky

hi Mike,

Thanks for description of Engelmann's approach. It's not a distraction from
Bruner or Vygotsky. I did introduce Engelmann's approach at the beginning
since I'm very interested in the comparison b/w AL and that approach.

Your earlier comment implied a critique of Engelmann. From the extracts you
provide now I can't see that critique so you will have to spell it out for
me more.

Sorry, I'm not familiar with the nitty gritty details of the Cape York
Pearson / Engelmann implementation. I did write up the details of a recent
speech by Noel Pearson in which he claimed it was working. I posted that
link in my reply to Helen and will repeat it here:

Pearson has written an essay called "Radical Hope", which provides the
background to his choice of Engelmann's DI. I do have it as a pdf so let me
know if you want to read it. I'm a huge fan of Pearson but of course his
primary area of expertise is in indigenous affairs, not education. I find
his writings on indigenous matters quite electrifying. I'm not so sure
however that his principle of the radical centre has been applied to the
educational sphere.

 This section of Engelmann's bio, "Teaching Needy Kids in our Backward
system" goes a long way to explaining his theoretical basis, Theory of
Instruction, pp. 259-266. I'm definitely interested in continuing this

On Thu, Jan 26, 2012 at 12:08 PM, mike cole <lchcmike@gmail.com> wrote:

> Bill-- Interesting that an indigenous teacher is using Direct Instruction.
> In writing about the cultural deprivation controversies of the 1960's
> Engelmann and Bereiter played a special role. Here is the context for my
> query in the form of a long quotation with a little
> of my own words in it. The rest is an article by Bereiter which seems
> succinctly to capture the strategy and its rationale.
> mike
> ------------------
> "The speech of the severely deprived children seems to consist not of
> distinct words, as does the speech of middle-class children of the same
> age, but rather of whole phrases or sentences that function like giant
> words. That is to say, these "giant word" units cannot be taken apart by
> the child and re-combined; they cannot be transformed from statements to
> questions, from imperatives to declaratives, and so on. Instead of saying
> "He's a big dog," the deprived child says "He bih daw." Instead of say­ing
> "I ain't got no juice," he says "Uai-ga-na-ju." Instead of saying "That is
> a red truck," he says "Da-re-truh." Once the listener has become
> ac­customed to this style of speech, he may begin to hear it as if all the
> sounds were there, and may get the impression that he is hearing articles
> when in fact there is only a pause where the article should be. He may
> believe that the child is using words like *it, is, **if, *and *in, *when
> in fact he is using the same sound for all of them-something on the order
> of "ih." (This becomes apparent if the child is asked to repeat the
> state­ment "It is in the box." After a few attempts in which he becomes
> con­fused as to the number of "ih's" to insert, the child is likely to be
> reduced to a stammer.)
> If the problem were merely one of faulty pronunciation, it would not be so
> serious. But it appears that the child's faulty pronunciation arises from
> his inability to deal with sentences *as sequences of meaning­ful parts. *Even
> a sophisticated adult will have difficulty pronouncing a very long word if
> he is unable to deal with it in parts (the reader might take a try at
> EMPIANASROFLALILIMINLIAL, reading it aloud once and then trying to repeat
> it from memory). In the Cognitive Maturity Test, children are called upon
> to repeat sentences of varying degrees of complexity. The severely
> disadvantaged child will tend to give merely an approximate rendition of
> the over-all sound profile of the sentence, often leaving out the sounds in
> the middle, as is common when people are trying to reproduce a meaningless
> series-this in spite of the fact that the words themselves are often very
> simple, like "A big truck is not a little truck." Bereiter and Engelmann
> (1966, p. 34-35)
>             Bereiter characterized the underlying logic and practical
> application of the approach in the following terms. (Again we quote at
> length because the way issues were being discussed is so revealing of
> underlying assumptions.)
> The language program we have used was originated by my colleague,
> Siegfried Engelmann. His outstanding achievement in this program, I
> believe, is a bold simultaneous solution to the problem of time, and the
> problem of priorities. As Engelmann saw it, the child's primary need was
> for a language that would enable him to be taught. Once the child had that,
> you could go on and teach him anything else you pleased. Such a language
> did not have to be distilled from a recording of actual verbal behavior but
> could be constructed, much as Basic English was constructed, by a
> consideration of the needs it had to serve.  Such a language could be
> taught to children in a relatively short time (in practice, two to six
> months), and it would then be possible to add the refinements of complete
> English and also to teach other things in a more direct and normal manner.
> Teaching disadvantaged children a miniature language that someone else has
> made up for them may sound a bit 1984ish to the doubters among us; but
> realize that it is regular English, just a stripped-down version of it, and
> that the principle of starting with a miniature system which is part of,
> but more easily grasped than, the entire system is
> a respectable and widely used pedagogical device. Methods of reading
> instruction that begin with a limited vocabulary t hat follows a few
> consistent spelling rules are an example, as are physics lessons that begin
> with consideration of a homogeneous frictionless environment.
> To describe the basic language program briefly, it presumes nothing more
> of the child at the outset than that he be capable of making some attempt
> at imitating what is said to him. Only two basic-statement forms are
> taught, the first being the identity statment, "This is a ___ ," and "This
> is not a ." Once this statement type is mastered (and mastery of the
> not-statement is a major challenge to many seriously deprived children),
> the remainder of the beginning
> language program is devoted to work with the statement form, "This ___ is
> ," with its negative and plural variations, introducing several different
> kinds of concepts that are used in the predicates of these statements:
> polar sets (big-little, hot-cold, and so on); nonpolar sets, such as the
> colors and prepositional phrases; and subclass nouns, as in "This animal is
> a tiger."
> What part of all of this has been imported into Australia? Does it come in
> a red or a green bottle?  :-)
> mike
> PS- sorry if this is a distraction from the topic of JSB and LSV.
> On Wed, Jan 25, 2012 at 12:31 AM, Bill Kerr <billkerr@gmail.com> wrote:
>> On Wed, Jan 25, 2012 at 2:24 PM, mike cole <lchcmike@gmail.com> wrote:
>>> Bill-- A shocker the Englemann is peddling DE. Just been reviewing its
>>> origins in Toronto, lo these 50 years. Chilling.
>> My impression of Engelmann, Mike, is that his practice is good or at
>> least worth a close look but theoretically he shoots from the hip without
>> much discernment. I know a few home schooling families who have used his
>> materials to good effect in teaching their kids to read and write. Also
>> have been on other lists and heard parents with disadvantaged kids say his
>> was the only approach that worked.
>> With disadvantaged students the teacher has to take much more control of
>> the programme than is possible with middle class students, provide
>> additional detailed scaffolding etc.  (The reason I found the AL course
>> great was that it outlined a pathway to do this for language
>> teaching) Engelmann has worked with disadvantaged students his whole career
>> and developed an approach that seems to work but at the same
>> time indiscriminately criticises good educators such as Dewey and
>> educational approaches such as constructivism, which have both good and bad
>> implementations. I half read his bio, "Teaching Needy Kids in Our Backward
>> System: 42 Years of Trying". He's a practitioner, not a theoretician. But
>> possible a very good practitioner.
>> At any rate I'm very interested in the fact that Noel Pearson, an
>> indigenous leader in Australia, is using Engelmann's approach here.
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