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Teaching Needy Kids in Our Backward System Hardcover – November 13, 2007
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"Teaching Needy Kids" is essentially the story of one of the biggest cover-ups in the history of the United States: how the establishment prevented the wide-scale adoption of the most effective literacy program ever developed and instead deliberately promoted (and still promotes) alternatives that are less effective and in some cases even harmful to kids.
I would call this a "must read" for anyone interested in education reform and effective teaching. Be forewarned: Engleman's righteous indignation is contagious.
It is essentially a tale of Zig Engelmann and his struggle to get schools to adopt Direct Instruction (DI). I like the book because it give great color and background to the development of DI, its uses throughout the years, and his struggle to gain adoption. It's very readable, and quite enjoyable. If you're interested in DI, you'll find it a very worthwhile read.
Engelmann has spent the last forty-two years trying to bring effective instruction to at-risk children - children of poverty, whose best hope, and sometimes only hope for success, is a good, effective education. This book documents Engelmann and his colleagues' success in devising an effective instructional model - Direct Instruction - and the educational establishment's willful failure to recognize and adopt its tenets.
Engelmann's no-nonsense, scientific approach to developing effective instruction demolishes the received wisdom of educational theories that continue to hold sway in both universities and school districts. For example, through a carefully designed experiment Engelmann once demonstrated that, "Piaget's notion of the relationship between development and performance was wrong." Since Piaget's universal development schedule is an essential element of constructionist, progressivist educational philosophies, one might think this would result in further research, and perhaps a reevaluation of those philosophies. But in a continuing pattern of rejecting objective data for subjective dogma, academicians disdained or ignored Engelmann's research.
Nowhere is this pattern more apparent than in the history of Project Follow Through, recounted by Engelmann in great detail.Read more ›
In a similar manner, Dr. Engelmann's gripping journal of his forty-two year travel through ed land and his novel discoveries and fascinating inventions could serve us well. We may view his book as a travelogue with a wealth of "how to" information for those who may seek to follow him. He guides you successfully around the quicksand of Paiget-spawned mythology and the infamous truth-devouring bandersnatches who inhabit the dark underworlds of the treacherous territory we call our education system.
Or a second perspective of 'Teaching Needy Kids in Our Backward System' could be as an informal revelation for the layman of Dr. Engelmann's theories, now scientifically proven beyond any dispute, which should occupy a place in education similar to Newton's Principia Mathematica in physics or James Clark Maxwell's A Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field dealing with his field equations.
Finally from a third point of view, Engelmann's 'Teaching Needy Kids' could rank with Upton Sinclair's 'The Jungle' which exposed the horrors of the nation's meat packing industry and resulted in the establishment of the FDA and the closure of many food processors. It could even rank with Abraham Flexner's 'Report' in 1910 that produced a national outcry to revamp the country's medical standards causing nearly half the country's medical schools to close.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book tells the truth about Direct Instruction. It is a highly effective research based approach which proves itself in study after study. Read morePublished on September 6, 2013 by MC
Education, the great equalizer? Its amazing what is possible - and still more amazing is what happens in education to prevent the possible from occurring. Read morePublished on March 13, 2009 by T. F. Forgette
If you are interested in DI, then this is the book for you. All teachers should read this book, especially those who are for DI. Read morePublished on February 17, 2009 by Hannah L. Rhodes
This book should be required reading for those seeking to improve education in the USA, particularly members of the Obama administration. Read morePublished on December 23, 2008 by Special Education Teacher