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NIFDI's Office of Research and Evaluation has issued a review of the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) report on Reading Mastery (RM) and Learning Disabled students. As you will see in the review, the office has concluded that there was serious misrepresentation of the articles included in the study. One actually showed that students studying with RM had significantly greater gains than students in national and state norming populations. Because the gains were equal to students in Horizons (another DI program), the WWC concluded that RM had no effect. The other study involved giving an extra 45 minutes of phonics related instruction to students studying RM. The WWC interpreted the better results of the students with the extra time as indicating potentially negative effects of RM.

Path-to-LiteracyBy Richard E. Clark, Paul A. Kirschner, and John Sweller

Discovery learning, problem-based learning, inquiry learning, constructivist learning—whatever the label, teaching that only partially guides students, and expects them to discover information on their own, is not effective or efficient. Decades of research clearly demonstrates that when teaching new information or skills, step-by-step instruction with full explanations works best.

Read the article here: Putting Students on the Path to Learning

Overview courtesy of American Federation of Teachers and American Educator.

Educational Maverick Siegfried "Zig" Engelmann has been developing and refining an instructional approach, Direct Instruction, for over 40 years. Produced by Palfreman Film Group, this two-part film captures Zig's life work in changing the lives of students all over the world.

See it now! Click here!

In an article dramatically titled, "The Death of Preschool," in the November/December 2011 issue of Scientific American Mind, Paul Tullis attempts to establish a link between "direct instruction" and a host of psychological and physical ailments that preschool children may suffer later in life due to "toxic stress". Without clearly establishing what he means by "direct instruction," Tullis makes the claim that "early exposure to academics" has the potential "to psychologically damage developing brains," and can lead to physical health problems, including (but presumably not limited to) "depression, anxiety disorders--even cardiovascular disease and diabetes." Damage to the hippocampus is evidently a likely outcome if a child learns the names of different types of whales in preschool, according to Tullis.

Dr. Kurt Engelmann responds to Mr. Tullis' article in his letter to the Editor of Scientific American Mind.

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