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TeachersChangeLivesTeachers Change Lives is an Australia-based podcast. Two recent releases featured Direct Instruction. The first one is about THRIVE Community School, a new charter school in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Co-founders Amy Chacon and Sean Duncan sat down with interviewer Mrs. Angel and talked about their journey from being classroom teachers to having their own school. It is an interesting story and shows their dedication to giving students the education they deserve. Click here to listen to the 40-minute podcast.

The second podcast is an interview with NIFDI President Kurt Engelmann. Kurt talks about his education from elementary to his Ph.D. in Geography. He then details his involvement in writing stories for the early Direct Instruction programs and gaining teaching experience as a tutor at the Engelmann-Becker Corporation. Kurt gives his insights into Project Follow Through, its impact, and his goal of seeing a fully implemented Direct Instruction school. Click here to listen to the 40-minute podcast.

ZigTwinsSiegfried “Zig” Engelmann began his investigation into education when he was in advertising. He needed information on how many exposures it took for children to recognize or remember slogans presented on TV. Finding very little research, Zig set out on his own to get the answers to his questions.

As Zig writes in his book Teaching Needy Kids in Our Backward System, he wanted to get a job in education, so he decided to create a film of his sons Kurt and Owen (four-year-old fraternal twins) “working math problems–areas of rectangles, simple algebra, and other skills that were not generally mastered until children were in fourth grade. To show I was not 'cheating,' there was only one camera and no cuts in the action.”

He showed the film to 17 organizations and companies concerned with educating children, and “although they had never seen 4-year-olds perform like the boys did in the film, they did not seem even slightly impressed. One of the last presentations I made was to four people from SRA (Science Research Associates), the publisher that would later publish over thirty instructional programs my colleagues and I developed.”

Ultimately, the eighteenth and last entry on Zig’s list of places to contact was the prestigious Institute for Research on Exceptional Children at the University of Illinois. Zig presented to James Gallagher and Carl Berieter, who, after viewing the film, were very intrigued. They hired Zig as a research associate, and the rest is history.

Click here to watch the film that started it all.

IDEATravisNIFDI is pleased to announce that IDEA Travis Academy has been selected to receive the 2023 Wesley Becker Excellent School Award. Travis was nominated by NIFDI Implementation Manager Kris Althoff. Travis Academy is located in Midland, Texas. Listed as a failing school in 2018-19, in 2021-22, they achieved a “B” rating and are anticipating an “A” rating when the 2022-23 ratings are released. Eighty- three percent of Travis students met or exceeded their individual growth goal on the STAAR exam.

In her rationale, Kris lists some amazing performance statistics achieved at Travis. These statistics reflect the percentage of students meeting their targeted lesson performance at mastery.

  • Pre-K has obtained a 98% average for reading, math, and language.
  • Kindergarten has obtained a 98% average for reading, math, and language.
  • First Grade has obtained an 86% average in reading. With two weeks of better school left and summer school, it is anticipated first grade will reach 90% or
  • Second Grade has obtained a 92% average in reading. Congratulations to the leadership, instructional staff, and certainly, just as important, the students. You all put in the hard work and show dedication worthy of this recognition.
Presentation of the award will take place at the opening of the National Direct Instruction Conference in Eugene, Oregon, on July 25. A video of the presentation will be posted to our website soon after.
AnitaArcherPodcastAnita Archer and Louisa Moats were recently interviewed in an EDVIEW360 podcast titled Why the ‘Science of Reading’ Needs the ‘The Science of Teaching’—A Conversation Between 2 Literacy Leaders. In this 58-minute podcast,
both guests highlight the need for close attention to instructional design. They caution that the “what” to teach not be overshadowed by the “how” to teach. We emphatically share that perspective. Both of these pioneers in effective instruction are very hopeful for the future of teacher education and its impact on society.

Click here to access the podcast.

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