Education Profession World-Wide Has No Serious Instructional Cognitive Foundation for Thinking, Reading, and Writing

Says Dr. Maiorana.

Educational attainment is declining throughout all platforms in English-speaking countries according to trustworthy reports (Stopgradeinflation; OECD Reports 2007 and 2014). A primary math teacher from the UK visited Shanghai to find out how Chinese children score 30 percent higher on international tests than children in the UK. According to the teachers there, they say that they owe China's success to methodologies adopted for teaching – ones that the UK and Ireland strayed from over the past 40 years. Back then, teachers used the whole-class method. This practice, which continues today, revolves around rote learning pedagogy such as memorizing the alphabet and multiplication tables. Such learning is maintained at all grade levels and extends into engaging all subject matter. This pedagogy is believed to be much superior to modern ones that are currently in practice.

China exercises the classic whole-class method of teaching: the teacher does his or her work on the blackboard following the given curriculum. Knowledge is relayed to the students. They are then tested with questions once they’re done with portions of the syllabus. This was the style of teaching that was practiced in Ireland until the 1960s before educationalists argued that it was too authoritarian.

What followed was an introduction of a new child-centered naturalistic approach that promoted students to discover more about what they are taught. They should be working at their own individual speed or in groups where the guidance is minor and only up to the point where teacher’s help is required. More topics based on their interests and their multiple learning styles are to be adopted by teachers that would favor the child’s comprehension level. This could branch into forms taking upon sight, sound or movement – anything to make sure the child knows what’s happening.

However, William Reville (2015) says “Whole-class teaching, in which child[ren] learn to use their long-term memory, has been abandoned for a more personalized, naturalistic approach, and it’s been a disaster.” Reville cites Paul Kirschner’s claim that the new methods may seem intuitively appealing, but their effectiveness is supported by very little empirical evidence.

J.E. Stone describes, in Education Policy Analysis Archives (1996), explains how child-focused methods of teaching emerged from a long-standing educational doctrine called “developmentalism”. One could say that it’s a figure of romantic naturalism that is centered upon natural development. It has pervaded the field of teaching for ages now, but the consequence it carries is that it triggers a biting discomfort for teachers if any different steps they take seem incompatible with the developmental approach.

After a thorough review of 200 research studies, UK’s Sutton Trust in October 2014 identified teaching practices that carried the strongest evidence of improving achievement. These included identifying common misconceptions and asking questions. They also observed that there is no evidence to support modern methods such as lavishly praising the students, which develops favoritism; allowing learners to discover key ideas by themselves; grouping students by ability; and presenting information to students based on their preferred learning style.

Another notable educator who is leading a groundbreaking pathway for teaching practice that meets the needs of the digital 21st century is Victor P Maiorana. He says that both the roteism-based whole class method and the new naturalistic method pedagogies share an unacceptable common and fundamental fault. They both lack a serious-minded, genuine, and meaningful cognitive instructional foundation for engaging new and revisited subject matter. Neither offer critical reasoning processes for engaging subject matter. Both defeat the concurrent development of critical language-literacy abilities. This means students’ innate ability to think critically is suppressed instead of nurtured and developed. Consequences include students are more prone to readily accept curriculum subject matter without challenge and as something to memorize not comprehend. Instead, they must be taught to take intellectual control of content by looking for the inherent truth within all subject matter.

Dr. Maiorana’s core body of knowledge for critical instruction pedagogy provides the means to minimize roteism instruction in favor of critical instruction. It’s an exciting and a powerful pedagogy that plucks the flaws of entrenched and outdated teaching methods and provides the basis to revolutionize world-wide teacher education, practice, certification, professional development, research, and classroom practice at all levels.