Mining the Nuggets

June 14, 2018

Admittedly, I have trouble letting go of things.  If a magazine had an article about the Rolling Stones, for example, it could never be thrown out.  Boxes of such magazines in my attic, along with an assortment of other memorabilia speak to the streak of sentimental hoarding running through me.

I also have dated textbooks and yellowing professional articles hiding in various places.

With all of the changes in technology, psychology and education, you might wonder why I would hold on to this stuff?

Recently, I was rummaging through an old box. One of the articles I stumbled on was one I had the good fortune to be asked to co-author as a graduate student with my mentor, the late Dr. Stanley Rosner, one of the finest psychologists and people I have ever known..

The article was written in 1982 (egad, you can do the math). (Frankly, I think we hand wrote the draft on yellow legal paper and then had it typed on a typewriter, using white-out to take care of the errors.)

What’s astounding to me is how relevant things still are today.  Here’s a point that was made in the article about remedial instruction.

A major commonality  of good remedial programs is the intensification of sensory input in the presentation of material.  Approaches in the past have suggested that certain youngsters are more efficient in learning when a single avenue of sensory input is utilized (Frostig & Horne, 1964; Delacato, 1966; Kephart, 1960) However, the most valued and lasting approaches appear to be those in which there is a general increase and involvement of as many sensory avenue as possible in a specific learning area ( Fernald 1943; Gillingham & Stillman, 1966;)

Good remedial instruction is teacher-directed as opposed to teacher-assigned. The use of kits, programmed instruction, and work-sheets is a distortion of the concept of individualization….

The utilization of sound psychological and educational practices with the child who has only known failure goes far to renew his or her damaged sense of self and faith in the educational process.  We have frequently observed youngsters who have previously been described as hardened and embittered make seemingly astounding personality changes as a result of finally being taught by a method that matches their unique learning abilities.” (Rosner & Selznick, 1982)

Mutlisensory programs (e.g., Orton-Gillingham) are all the rage now, yet they were being advocated in the 1940s!!

So many of the kids that come in to see me are struggling because they are continually asked to manage “teacher assigned” material.  Worksheet upon worksheet or teacher-assigned work on Chromebook, may be ok for those fortunate to be on the smooth road.

For those who are on the rougher side of the road, the ones with ongoing reading, spelling and writing problems, the teacher assigned material is much of the problem.

These kids detest school and they become increasingly, disconnected and shut-down from the mountain of assigned busy-work they have to get through.

Takeaway Point

I’m quietly glad I am a bit of a hoarder and don’t throw stuff out (much to my wife’s chagrin).  Maybe next week I’ll comment on the Proceedings of the Reading Institute of 1964 from Temple University.  (No, I did not attend that!)

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