Looks like a winner!

Explicit Instruction, a new book by Anita Archer and Charles Hughes, sure gives the appearance of a winner. I’ve only had the chance to read the first chapter, but that and the knowledge that these two authors know their way around both the research about and practice of instruction are enough to convince me to place an order.

I suspect that this would serve well as a textbook for a methods class. It probably would also be a good source for a teacher who wanted to get back to basics, to renew her or his commitment to doing fundamental instruction well. I’m looking forward to getting my copy.

There’s an accompanying Web site for Explicit Instruction where one can peruse the table of contents, read the preface, learn about the authors, download that first chapter (can you say “free download?“), and so forth.

Disclosure: Yes, I know these folks. No, they’ve not given me a copy of the book nor any other inducement to encourage me to endorse the product.

2 Responses to “Looks like a winner!”

  • I appreciate that the first chapter directly addresses the “constructivist is student centered… so you’re not!” issue (without going so far as to say “constructivism relieves the teacher of the responsibility of teaching by unloading it on the student”). I’m contemplating that delicate balance between the need for developing internal goals and loci of control vs. effective learning of specific skills regarding math right now…

  • Sue, thanks for throwing another comment into the mix. I’m still not past the first chapter (which I read for free).

    The concern about balancing mastery of specific skills and development of a sense of responsibility for one’s success is a concern I understand. It seems intuitive that explicit, teacher-directed instruction would lead to students being more dependent of others for direction and initiative whereas more student-centered approaches would promote independence and internal locus of control. Interestingly, in the Abt Associates (1976) evaluation of Follow Through, that didn’t appear to be the case. When asked about their beliefs about their responsibility for their for their own successes and failures (the Crandall et al., 1965, Intellectual Achievement Responsibility Questionnaire positive and negative scores), children who had been in classrooms based on the Direct Instruction model reported the greatest sense of responsibility for their own successes and failures, i.e., had strongest internal locus of control. I interpret this outcome in this way: A strong sense of internal locus of control is an epiphenomenon of success, not of the way one does things. If you succeed regularly, you begin to think that you can can do things. You’re willing to do them. You’re more willing to take chances on new things!

    Abt Associates. (1976-1977). Education as experimentation: A planned variation model (Vols. 3A & 4). Cambridge, MA: Author.

    Crandall, V., Katkovsky, W., & Crandall, V. (1965). Children’s beliefs in their own control of reinforcements in intellectual-academic achievement situations. Child Development, 36, 91-109.

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