Most prospective teachers seeking certification must go through education schools where they get bombarded with the rhetoric of progressive/constructivist education, the dominant ed school ideology. Here is an antidote to this mind-numbing assault written by Martin Kozloff (a/k/a Prof. Plum), an education professor who is in a distinct minority. In his inimitable way, Prof. Plum deconstructs ed school piffle point by point in Fads and Flapdoodle vs. Serious Instruction.
Here a few excerpts:
Fads and Flapdoodle
The nonsense below has for about 100 years been foisted on gullible education students and public schools by the dominant education establishment, run by so-called “progressive” educators in ed schools, state departments of public instruction, curriculum organizations (such as International Reading Association, National Council for Teachers of English), organizations that certify ed schools (National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education), and unions (National Education Association).
No Fads. Serious Instruction.
The tested, true, and effective ideas, below, are the minority position in the field of education, and are advocated by the so-called anti-establishment, which supports traditional forms of instruction guided by scientific research.
If you believe and act on the following tested and valid ideas, you’ll be on the road to Master Teacher; and you’ll be a blessing to your students.
2. “Education theorists---Piaget, Vygotsky, Dewey, Gardner---provide useful information on how to teach.”
2. Education theorists---Piaget, Vygotsky, Dewey, Gardner---provide next to NOTHING useful on how to teach.
Their ideas are vague (it’s not clear what you’re supposed to do), over-generalized (don’t apply to your students), plain wrong, or totally insane.
“What would Dewey do?”
3. “Be guided by the following ideas: child-centered and student-centered, holistic, natural, authentic, learning styles, multiple intelligence, brain-based instruction, developmentally appropriate practices, best practices, etc.”
3. DO NOT be guided by these ideas. These ideas are LOONEY. They’re one step away from psychotic. In any other field they’d be considered fraud.
[See number 2 at the end.]
• There is NO scientific research to support them.
• They will be NO help at all to you.
• These ideas reflect the preferences of education professors---not science, not reality.
• The more you use these terms, the dumber and you get and the less effectively you teach.
b. “Instruction should be holistic. For example, you should teach spelling, reading, and writing at the same time.”
b. The word “holistic” is new-age mind slop. Like “holistic healing.”
• Complex skills DO consist of simpler skill elements. It’s essential that students learn these first.
• You can’t solve math word problems if you don’t know the basic math operations, such as addition and multiplication.
• You can’t write or spell if you can’t read words. So, what should you teach first?
g. “You can’t transmit knowledge. Students must construct knowledge. Therefore, most learning and instruction should be in the form of inquiry and discovery.”
g. “The battles at Lexington and Concord were on April 18, 1775.”
• I believe I just transmitted knowledge.
• Persons who talk about students constructing knowledge have no idea what this even means. Are they mind readers?
• The SANE way to look at learning is this: Teachers present examples and students induce (figure out) the general idea (concept, rule, routine) that is revealed by the examples. Teachers can also TELL students a concept, rule, or routine, and then substantiate this with examples.
• There’s a lot of research showing that students learn MORE and learn faster when the teacher teaches in an explicit and direct way, rather than when students try to discover knowledge.
• What does it even mean---discover knowledge?
“Hey, guys, I discovered reading!!”
• Discovery and inquiry are the worst possible ways to teach essential skills (reading, math) to disadvantaged students.