February 5, 2007

"my kids read better than your kids, and you know it"

Chapter Three of Zig's book has been posted. This chapter focuses on the how Project Follow Through was implemented at each location. Judging by the resistance faced, it's a miracle theat the project performed as well as it did.

The senior reading teacher and guru in one of our schools instigated an argument with me about reading—what it was, and how best to teach it. In the best cocktail-party style, we were polite, and the small group surrounding us was intent. The teacher’s premise was that the creativeness of teachers should not be trammeled by a lockstep program, like DI. She was well read, and quoted the literature with flourish. After the discussion went on for possibly ten minutes, one of our first-year teachers from the same school interrupted and ended the argument.

She said, “Angie, you know more about reading than I’ll ever know. You know linguistics, and all those theories I don’t understand. All I know how to do is follow the program. I do what it tells me to do in black type, and I say what it tells me to say in red type. But Angie, my kids read better than your kids, and you know it.”

8 comments:

Parentalcation said...

Dude... I loved that line.

Catherine Johnson said...

wow

what a great story

Tracy said...

Chapter 3 reminds me of that doctor who figured out that washing hands between patients drastically reduced the number of women dying of child birth fever in his hospital.

He couldn't persuade other doctors to take it up, and eventually went insane under the stress of knowing hundreds of thousands of people were dying unnecessarily.

What is it about us humans that it's so hard for us to chose what works over what fits with our pre-conceived ideas?

Anonymous said...

> that doctor who figured out that washing hands between patients drastically reduced the number of women dying of child birth fever in his hospital.
> [...]
> What is it about us humans that it's so hard for us to chose what works over what fits with our pre-conceived ideas?

"Because the innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions, and lukewarm defenders in those who may do well under the new."
-- Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince, Chapter VI

Mark Odell

Independent George said...

On the other hand, the Larry Gotkin story is utterly heartbreaking.

Anonymous said...

I don't get what is supposed to be profound about this... there is an assumption being made that both sets of kids were born with same innate reading ability. One can't just make assumptions like that. Of course, admitting that a person who is less educated than oneself has smarter kids is a tough pill to swallow.

KDeRosa said...

Anon, these are two teachers talking about their students. They are referring to who has taught their students to read better.

CrypticLife said...

Note that WL teachers have used this to show that "DI advocates rely on anecdote even though they criticize its use."

I can't drop comments on their TAWL listserv, but they monitor this site (particularly lately).

This anecdote does not prove anything regarding DI vs. WL. DI advocates know that anecdotal evidence is not proof (of course, the other side of this is that it is an anecdote of 40-60 kids or so, which would be enough for a small-n study if done scientifically, but let's just leave it as this story not proving anything).

Instead of proving, the anecdote is properly used to illustrate a point. It's an amusing story. The point itself -- that DI works and WL does not -- is properly proven by data. DI has provided this support, but WL has provided only anecdote.