Tag Archive for 'Direct Instruction'

Barbash: Fix affirmative action by fixing k-12 instruction

In a clearly reasoned, researched, and written analysis, Shepard Barbash argued that the solution to racial disparity in higher education outcomes is not likely to come from affirmative action. Instead, he wrote, it will come from improving instruction in K-12 schooling. Yes, indeed! We need to teach effectively. His essay is worth the read.

Free Funnix returns!

Loyal readers of TE will recall that the folks at Royal Limited Partnership gave away copies of the Funnix Beginning Reading program in 2011. Welp, it’s going to happen again! Yes indeedy! Quoting from a page on the Funnix Web site:

From February 1 through 16th, the Funnix Beginning Reading program will be free for download–no strings, no hidden costs.

The Funnix sequence teaches 2 year’s worth of reading skills. During last year’s promotion, more than 40,000 people received the Funnix Beginning Reading program free. Even higher numbers are anticipated for this year.

If you’re in the market for an excellent beginning reading program, sign up for your free download of Funnix Beginning Reading. The program has been offered for $25 during most of 2011; however, the price will rise to $38 following the giveaway in February.

Funnix is a computer-based early reading program that delivers the essential components for decoding instruction. A teacher, parent, teaching assistant, or other competent reader can work with an individual child or small group and provide the guidance needed by the student or students as they go through the instructional activities provided via the computer. It’s predicated on all the principles of Direct Instruction (its authors are Zig and Owen Engelmann). The lessons are lively and fun. There’s plenty of monitoring and opportunities for individualization.

Now, you can’t register early for this giveaway. You have to arrive after 1 February 2012. But, you can go to the Funnix giveaway announcement and look at the various offerings now, and you can become familiar with the products in advance, and you can be prepared (i.e., bookmark the site, put a reminder in your calendar, and so forth).

Free gift from Education Consumers Foundation!

partial image of cover of Clear Teaching

Isn’t it unusual to get something for free that is actually worth a lot? The good folks over at Education Consumers Foundation (ECF) are giving away a small book that is quite valuable, and I encourage readers to download it, read it, and tell their friends to get it, too.

What are they giving away? It’s a book called Clear Teaching: With Direct Instruction, Siegfried Engelmann Discovered a Better Way of Teaching by Shep Barbash. As one can tell from the subtitle, it’s about Zig Engelmann’s work on education. I talked with Mr. Barbash as he worked on the manuscript for the book, read an earlier version of it, and am very impressed with this finished product. It’s even more impressive that the book is now out in the wild for free. Kudos to Mr. Barbash, John Stone, and all the others at ECF who made this happen.

Clear Teaching – The Book
Written by veteran journalist Shepard Barbash over a period of 10 years, Clear Teaching is a well-researched, highly readable introduction to Direct Instruction (DI), a systematic teaching approach which for more than 40 years has dramatically improved learning outcomes for students of all abilities and from all walks of life. The book looks at the development of DI through the early experiences of its creator, Zig Engelmann; explains the principles that underpin this approach; and looks at DI’s reception in the world of teaching, where it has been effectively shunned despite a formidable research base and example after example of transformative success.

The image at the top of the post is hot, but readers can also click here to go to the ECF page where they can download the PDF.

More free Funnix! It’s math this time.

The folks who brought us the give-away of Funnix Beginning Reading are doing it again! They’re giving away Funnix Beginning Math for free throughout the month of June 2011. Funnix Beginning Math is a 100-lesson computer program designed for children who have not learned beginning math operations. One can download the program from the Funnix site (see link at the end of this post). All of the components of Funnix Beginning Math are included in the download—100 animated, computer-based lessons; workbook materials; a teaching guide, including explicit directions for the teacher; and a placement test for assessing and placing the student.
Continue reading ‘More free Funnix! It’s math this time.’

Secret DI?

Over on the Society for Quality Education blog there is a discussion about a post entitled “The ‘Secret’ Principles of Direct Instruction” that might interest one or two (of TE‘s three or four) readers. I’m not sure what the secrets are, but the original post refers to the video from Children of the Code about which I commented recently (and less recently). However, it’s the comments on that post to which I want to point here. In particular, Mark H. comments from the perspective of a student whose teacher used DI methods to teach him to read. Mr. H. is thankful:

Thank you Dr Englemann

I can read due to a wonderful headstrong Special Ed teacher named Lois Eddy, my diligent mother and my aunt, who was the local French teacher and pulled a lot of strings.
Continue reading ‘Secret DI?’

Children of the Code posts Engelmann 2

Over on Children of the Code, David Boulton and colleagues affiliated with Learning Stewards, a non-profit organization, posted the second segment of an extended video interview entitled “Professor Siegfried Engelmann Part 2: Improving the Quality of Learning.” Here’s a snippet from the the announcement:

Siegfried “Zig” Engelmann is Professor of Education at the University of Oregon, the Director of the National Institute for Direct Instruction, and President of Engelmann-Becker Corporation, which develops instructional materials and provides educational services for students with various educational needs. The creator of “Direct Instruction”, Professor Engelmann is also the author or co-author of more than 100 articles and chapters of professional books, and more than a dozen professional books and monographs.

“It doesn’t matter what your theory of learning is, all you need to do is look at the facts of what you did and the facts of what the kids are doing.”

I like that quote. It captures the raw empiricism that undergirds Professor Engelmann’s approach to teaching and instructional design.

Siegfried Engelmann 2: Improving the Quality of Learning
Read an earlier entry from Teach Effectively that links to the first part of the interview: “Engelmann interview on instructional design.”

Evidence-based education in Head Start?

Isabel Sawhill and Jon Baron published an editorial in Education Week calling for a new approach to the venerable Head Start program, one founded on evidence about effectiveness. They argue that in the wake of the discouraging Head Start Impact Study reported by US Department of Health & Human Services, it’s time to bring research into the nation’s play pre-schools.

A new approach is needed. One that has been suggested—defunding these programs—would amount to giving up the fight against major social problems such as educational failure and poverty that damage millions of American lives. A far better alternative is to use rigorous evidence about “what works” to evolve Head Start and other federal efforts into truly effective programs over time, and to use sophisticated models to trace their longer-term effects on children’s life prospects.

Continue reading ‘Evidence-based education in Head Start?’

Tutoring the right way

Over on Facebook Martha Gabler announced the opening a private tutoring center in Silver Spring (MD, US): Kids’ Learning Workshop. The focus is on what she calls “fluent foundation skills” by which she means rapid, accurate performance on such tasks as reading aloud, writing answers for arithmetic facts, and answering questions about academic content.

Readers might wonder why I would post a note about such a private enterprise on Teach Effectively. There are at least three reasons:
Continue reading ‘Tutoring the right way’

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