Engelmann interview on instructional design

Over on Children of the Code David Boulton published a transcript of an interview with Siegfried Engelmann, the primary force behind the development of the Direct Instruction methods. In “Instructional Design 101: Learn from the Learners!,” which provides only part of the material that CoC will publish, Mr. Boulton asked Mr. Engelmann a wide range of questions and recorded his answers.

Engelmann recounts how he entered education, how he came to develop scripts, and lots more. Also, there are insightful anecdotes. For example, in one segment Mr. Engelmann recounts a story about the development of the Corrective Reading Program.

Siegfried Engelmann: For instance, we had to do a corrective reading program that deals basically with failed readers in grades four through twelve. There’s a strand that’s for decoding, and there’s another strand for comprehension.

And when we were field testing this one program, teachers working with this small group of kids that were, you know, word guessers—I mean, they just didn’t have the game at all.

David Boulton: They had developed habits and strategies that were working against them.

Siegfried Engelmann: Right. And they were often very complicated.

David Boulton: Yes.

Siegfried Engelmann: And this one kid showed just how complicated his strategy was. He made a mistake in reading a word, and the teacher who was working with him said, “No, that’s not right. Sound it out.” And the kid looked at her and said, “Well, tell me the word, and I’ll sound it out.” And I thought what a smart ass comment. But then I thought, no, he told exactly the complexity of the strategy he was trying to apply!

Read Instructional Design 101: Learn from the Learners! and watch for follow-up materials with more of the interviews. While you are over there on CoC, take the time to browse other interviews and resources. There’s plenty of good material there.

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