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‘Malpractice’ Category

  1. shaping of groupthink and other maladies . . .

    November 25, 2017 by Tunya

    Shaping of Groupthink and Other Maladies . . .

    While groupthink has yet to be classified as a mental illness in the huge Diagnostic Manual it is something to guard against. I note that the matter of defending oneself from it was a Quora Question, which elicited a number of good suggestions (How do you defend yourself mentally against groupthink?)

    Two recent events bring up the topic — Wilfred Laurier University free speech controversy & Chilliwack school trustee calling for a public review of new sex education guidelines. The first, while in full public hullabaloo nationally and now subject of an inquiry, the second is still bubbling along as a local issue just because it happens to be in the “Bible Belt, you know”!

    The first protagonist, Lindsay Shepherd, was subjected to a “struggle session” intending to shape her university lessons to politically correct expectations. She was far-sighted enough to have her session taped for all to hear the pressure tactics. The second protagonist, Barry Neufeld, was not so favored. He belongs to a corporation called a school board, which makes decisions by consensus. Who knows what “struggle session (s)” he endured in discussion of a radical new sex education proposal before he broke rank and privately went to the public via a Facebook post? Even the Minister of Education is pointing fingers. But, I’ve read the hundreds of comments (pro and con) to the news stories. This protagonist has indeed stirred up a hornet’s nest and he and his many followers deserve to be heard, not silenced or have him forbidden from seeking re-election.

    These “struggle sessions” are an import from the Cultural Revolution in China and are meant to humiliate one into compliance with the group. There are all kinds of ways in which people are subjected to pressures to follow a party line or prevailing dogma. As one who watches school systems closely I despair over the current push for so much group work and collaboration. Is this meant to shape early toward groupthink? Let’s look into both groupthink and “struggle sessions”.

    [to Facebook 25 Nov 2017]


  2. tutoring explosion

    November 21, 2017 by Tunya

    Priorities Matter

    Who said this at the latest researchED event in Toronto, Nov 10, 2017: “ Why is education the least empirical of all human pursuits? We need to build an empirical base.” ? Those may not be the exact words but I heard it over live broadcast and wasn’t there to note who said it or verify exact words.

    Anyway, the point is that this conference was about sharing proven practices that work, and work repeatedly, in education. It was no surprise that such a statement should be made here. What remains is that there be a commitment to that mission, i.e., build that empirical base.

    The definition of empirical is: “concerned with, or verifiable by observation or experience rather than theory or pure logic”.

    Paul, in reporting the growth of tutoring in Canada and other parts of the world says: “It’s no accident that the private tutors provide early reading instruction utilizing systematic phonics and most teach Math using traditional numbers based methods.” Apparently to counter the rather ineffective results from “Discovery Math” and “Whole Language”.

    Not on the 21st Century Learning bandwagon is this list from the Edvocate with 10 Essential Skills For The Education Leader of Tomorrow, Nov 11, 2017 #2 says: “The ability to implement large-scale turnarounds. The bar is set increasingly high for student achievement in numeracy and literacy.”

    Seems simple, doesn’t it? That’s the priority. It certainly is for most parents — strong numeracy and literacy. That’s why the explosion in tutoring. These are needed skills for today and tomorrow. It’s the schools that are lagging!

    [my comment to Educhatter post of today, 20 Nov 2017, on huge growth of tutoriong]

  3. Evidence-based education — When?

    July 30, 2017 by Tunya

    Desperately Seeking Evidence-based Practice In Education

    There are at least two reasons why we should study the Whole-language experience if evidence-based education practice is a goal.

    Dress-Rehearsal: The entire, long, frustrating experience of how this now generally discredited method was initiated and sustained can be seen as dress rehearsal for the fads and untested methods being thrust upon us now. There is considerable literature on this topic, though unfortunately, few confessions by those largely responsible for the error of their ways. This would add considerably to the insights needed to understand how these movements gain traction and overcome opposition. For those opposing some of these new methods for the 21st Century the insights from this study would be enormously beneficial. Is there, maybe, such a book or article already?

    Characteristics of the Followers: Not everyone falls for the latest trends and fancies in education. But, during the Whole-Language debates Patrick Groff (1924-2014) did identify six such characteristics:

    “The Special Attractions of Whole-Language (WL)
    1 . . . educators historically have been notorious for their inability to resist the lures of educational innovations, regardless of whether or not they have been empirically validated.
    2 . . . WL relieves educators of much direct personal accountability for the results . . .
    3 . . . WL appeals to many educators’ romantic and/or humanistic interpretations of what is healthy child development . . . honoring children’s freedom and dignity is held to be more essential than how literate they become.
    4 . . . in the past, educators have ignored or rejected most of the empirical findings in practically all aspects of their field of endeavor.
    5 . . .the apparent simplicity of WL is alluring for teachers . . . With WL, teachers do not have to submit to pedagogical discipline that a prescribed course of direct and systematic instruction demands.
    6 . . . educators who have liberal social, economic, and political views doubtless are charmed by WL’s decidedly left-wing agenda . . . ”

    I will find a link for this Groff article and post it later in case current teachers might be seeking ways not to fall for the enticements placed in their way.

    [posted on Filling the Pail blog, topic: Problem-solving does not exist, July 30, 2017]

    Desperately Seeking Evidence-based Practice In Education – Supplementary

    I said I would provide the link to the full article by Patrick Groff —

    His more complete article on Whole-Language and how it spread is worth reading for those who are interested in how shaky theories in education proliferate. By going to the link above there is a “click” provided at the bottom for his fuller article plus more from a Journal in 1997 concerned about language and spelling.

    I know this post by Greg is about problem-solving as a shaky theory, but generally it’s also about how the education field seems to glom onto unproven fads so easily. There’s a lot of that going on right now. It’s important to call out these questionable practices, and Greg does a fine job of it, but is there hope to squelch bad practices?

    Self-esteem was a huge phenomenon pushed in the schools in the last decades. Is current exposure, calling it a “con” or “hoax”, going to sway anyone? See:

    [2nd comment posted 31 July, 2017]

  4. need ‘higher standard’ for education

    July 14, 2017 by Tunya

    Education, Especially “Public” Education, Should Be Held To A Higher Standard!

    Because educators can lead people astray, this biblical injunction should be brought forward as a reminder from time to time — “Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly (James 3:1, NIV).”

    In these days when truth is being called upon evermore, we are beginning to see more people brave enough to judge and call out bad “science” in education. Thanks to JPGreene and blog for leadership in this regard.

    See also how the self-esteem hype is being unmasked:

    – “It was quasi-religious”: the great self-esteem con”, Will Storr, Guardian, 3 June ’17,

    – “Why Are Schools Still Peddling the Self-Esteem Hoax? – Social-emotional learning is rooted in ‘faux psychology’”, Chester Finn, Education Week, 19 June ’17,

    – Selfie, (the book by Will Storr) describes in more detail than the two articles above how the self-esteem project was pushed through to a global education phenomenon despite poor science.

    [rejected by JPG blog — “mendacity” comment of GF accepted — Mendacity — falsehood, deceit, deception, fabrication, dishonesty, deceitfulness, untruthfulness,  unreliability, spuriousness, inaccuracy]

    [submitted as response, but blocked — ]

    Professional mendacity in the education field should be called out.  It ultimately harms both individuals and society.  The deceits and trickeries used to advance unproven education projects and methods need exposure.  Perhaps a trend is emerging.  See how the self-esteem phenomenon is being unmasked; [quotes as above re self-esteem]

    [to JPG FB, and remains — 

    “mis-stating basic facts” in education is a key issue being raised here.  If people twist “facts” to their own purpose how can genuine education reform happen?  Greene gives an example.  Here is another example of exposing an education project based on hype and misuse of “research” — the self-esteem movement unmasked: –   [quotes as above re s-e]  

    [this is the contradiction, irony, of the blocking – so avowedly promote “choice” — my quote in Joanne Jacobs comment “So as educators increasingly opt for private schools for their own children and often rail against choice, the best that the “proles” can hope for —you know, those who are on long waiting lists for alternatives — is for radically more choices. And that is where public policy needs legislation and laws to open up vouchers and the other plans to help parents choose freely.]


  5. “I can’t read ” — tearjerker !

    May 5, 2017 by Tunya

    Here Is A Tearjerker !

    It’s beyond tearjerker — it’s a tragedy, a MAN-MADE tragedy !

    Hope this link works for you — (hover over the picture)

    It should bring up a video of a child, perhaps 8 years old, no sound — she is saying: “I can’t read.” I bet she can talk a mile a minute, with a great vocabulary, BUT She CAN NOT Read! You can see in her eyes she is deeply anguished. Just who has denied her the ability to read?

    Yet, from the brief comment on this twitter screen shot she is being tested in her school. You know — tons of tests that are being administered in schools these days. How can she participate in testing programs without the ability to read? And, by the way, how can she participate in Math. That has been changed so much that reading is now required — the directions and the problems are little narratives that must be read first.

    I think withholding of teaching to read from school children should be a punishable, criminal event!

    I think this photo, if allowed by the parents, should become a poster or billboard for a highly noticeable reading campaign. Perhaps some benevolent group might sponsor such a campaign. Perhaps another lawyers group (as we had in the 70s) could sponsor a symposium on “Suing The Schools For Fraud “ and use the backdrop of the nasty ideological Reading Wars as part of the reason why so many children are denied the skill-training to learn to read. Isn’t compulsory schooling a contract of sorts, and the withholding of the key tool for learning being reading — should this not bring about a simple ethics and legal breach of contract case?

    What kinds of worldviews are at play here anyway?

    [below to ECC, above to American Thinker on “Alien Covenant” ]

    After William Brown's alert about "Alien Covenant" by Bruce Deitrick Price I became more disturbed than ever. When will it ever end — the persistent, insidious Reading War which continues to cripple? I've experienced it here in Canada as recently as last year — a training tape for reading volunteers stressed that sounding out was NOT to be done — "Remember, reading is caught, not taught."

    I recall Deb Andrews fabulous newspaper article a year or so ago where her chart clearly showed that Black and Latino children were way behind in reading proficiency. Why? Research proves that this gap can be overcome.

    I just posted the following to the American Thinker article of Bruce's (yes, late, and probable stale interest by now) but I did want to say something and test whether I could actually produce a link that works (I'm a s-l-o-w techy). If you can't get the link to work, please let me know — it's the little anguished black girl saying "I can't read". Her pain on her face is enough to make you cry.