26 February, 2013

Curriculum Theory: Adoption of a Traditional Theory

Traditional Theory versus Experiential Curriculum: An Open Challenge

Adopting the Traditional Theory posited by theorists such as E.D. Hirsch and Bennett (as cited in Posner, 2004) I would like to challenge my colleagues to recognize that there is a set of pre-determined skills that every child should learn.  This is in direct conflict with the Experiential Curriculum Theory and specifically one of Dewey’s major assertions (Posner, 2004).

Contrary to the Experiential approach that, “…assumes that the curriculum is more or less the same as the very process of living and that no two individuals can or should live precisely the same lives” (Posner, 2004. p. 48).  Traditionalists recognize that there are critical knowledge, basic skills, and societal ideals that provide a society with the very backbone needed to survive.  An example of the importance of this aspect can be understood by conducting a simple review of history.  In each societal existence there remains a common need for members of the society to understand and adhere to basic principles set by the greater society for the safety and growth of the groups existence.  While these basic principles have changed over time as societies have evolved, we exist now in a society that places a strong emphasis on basic skills in reading, writing, and mathematics.  If those basic skills are not taught by teachers or learned by students  within the society, society would find itself lacking in potential for increasing individual and societal growth.

We must not view these needs for critical knowledge as limiting.  They are the building blocks from which creativity stems.  Further, command of fundamental knowledge facilitates acquisition and engagement in higher order thinking.  Thus, regardless of the negative connotation of teaching students to mastery in basic skills [reading, math, and writing] these skills provide the very foundation of knowledge needed to advance learning.

How does society gain from reducing education of its youth to the whims of what the youth is interested in rather than that what the greater society has determined as important.  It is only through the manipulation of norms that we have the potential to be creative.  There is no chicken and egg discussion – there is no deviation from the norm without the existence of a norm to manipulate.


Posner, G.J. (2004). Analyzing the curriculum (3rd ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.

15 February, 2013

Motivational Theory: Corrective Reading [Conclusion]


Evidence of careful consideration and balance in understanding the importance of encouraging students to transition from extrinsic motivation toward  intrinsic motivation when learning is apparent within the Corrective Reading's (2008) approach to program design and delivery techniques.  The application of goal-oriented motivational strategies that foster effort based attribution to success and setbacks assists learners in understanding that learning and the acquisition of skills and knowledge increases self-efficacy.  In identifying that the Corrective Reading (2008) program contains strong elements of both extrinsic and intrinsic motivational strategies, and that the direct instruction design has a strong evidence base that supports increase in student affect (Carnine, 2000), educational institutions choosing to implement this program should do so with confidence.

Regarding the Corrective Reading (2008) program and the perceived problem posited within the initial post suggesting that, corrective programs fail students as the result of lacking motivational substance, the alleviation of this motivational concern provides implementors not only confidence in using the program, but also more time to focus on implementation issues rather than program adoption concerns.  For example, implementors can spend more time discussing student and teacher progress within the program.  Implementation discussions [rather than discussion on program adoption] provide opportunities for implementors to measure and report on student and teacher success as well as identify opportunities for additional professional development directly related to the use the program.


Carnine, D. (2000). Why education experts resist effective practices and what it would take to make education more like medicine [Online exclusive]. Thomas B. Fordham Institute: Advancing Educational Excellence. Retrieved April 1, 2000, from http://www.edexcellence.net/issues/results.cfm?withall=doug+carnine&search_btn.x=0&search_btn.y=0

Engelman, S., Hanner, S., & Johnson, G. (2008). Corrective reading: Series guide. Columbus, OH: McGraw-Hill

06 February, 2013

Motivational Theory: The Corrective Reading Program [Part 2]

Correctie Reading & Attribution Approach to Motivation

The Corrective Reading (2008) program, being an intensive reading intervention program recognizes that students that place into the program may either attribute their lack of reading success to intrinsic or extrinsic factors that are as Martinez (2010) indicated, either stable or unstable and either controllable or uncontrollable.  Evidence of this can be found in the scripted routine cards that remind teachers to provide positive verbal reinforcement to students as they [the students] indicate that learning [or successful application] of a skill or strategy occurred.  These occurrences of praise encourage students to recognize that the effort that they put forth during the lesson lead to the successful acquisition [or application] of a skill or strategy that was taught.  Martinez (2010) posited,
Effort is arguably the most desirable attribution.  Effort is universally adaptive because if a person has experienced success, that person will continue to apply effort in the future.  If there has been a failure or setback, there is recourse to trying again and trying harder (p.170).
Not only is Martinez's (2010) point evident in the scripted routines within the program, but it is also embedded in the design of the program that is based on students learning to mastery.

The goal of attributing success and setbacks to student effort through attention and engagement during instruction is also encouraged during the professional development that teachers engage in prior to teaching the program.  It is critical that teachers understand the importance of controlling the learning environment ~ that is, the instruction that is being provided so that students are able to understand and internalize what is being taught.  When student errors occur they are identified as information of either ambiguous instruction or the need for additional practice.  The teacher models the correct understanding [as provided by the program] encouraging students to re-process the pattern of instruction that is being provided and then engages the students in trying again (Marchand-Martella, Slocum, & Martella, 2004).  Upon completion of the teacher-directed instruction whereas students are brought to a high level of success in the skills or strategies that were taught, students are provided student-centered activities to complete.  During the student-centered activities students engage in applying what was taught [and learned at a high level of accuracy] during the teacher-directed instruction in a meaningful way that is independent and reflective of student learning.  The successful application of learning at an independent level reinforces that learning is related to effort.  The message to the students is, with hard work, attention to detail, and practice, you will learn; all of which are prominent elements within the domain of effort.


Engelman, S., Hanner, S., & Johnson, G. (2008). Corrective reading: Series Guide. Columbus, OH: McGraw-Hill

Marchand-Martella, N. E., Slocum, T. A., & Martella, R. C. (2004). Introduction to direct instruction. New York, NY: Pearson Education Inc..

Martinez, M. E. (2010). Learning and cognition: The design of the mind. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill, Pearson Education Inc..