Engelmann’s Direct Instruction: I’m a Convert

Although much written in this post is correct, do note – just to be clear – that again there is no silver bullet. For learning new stuff direct instruction can be indeed very effective and efficient and much of the more naturalistic approaches do fail, but variation in approaches is also much needed. True professionalism is finding the right approach for the specific goals in the given context, while knowing “thy impact”.

The Traditional Teacher

Conversion CaravaggioThe Conversion of St Paul by Caravaggio (1571-1610)

Writing is not a natural activity, and most pupils don’t just ‘pick it up’. A few will, because they are gifted, have articulate parents, read a lot and just generally belong to the top two percent of academic achievers. I am one of those few. Because I am good at writing, but I was never taught it, it has been easy for me to believe that others will also achieve mastery without explicit teaching.

Here we see a clear illustration of why many very clever and articulate people are taken in by progressive ideas. In fact, one might almost argue that they make the most sense to those who have learned most easily, with little apparent effort, all through their school and university career. For those who have slogged hard and had few advantages, the nonsense of naturalistic methods is much more…

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