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JOURNAL OF APPLIED BEHAVIOR ANALYSIS 1992, 259 21-26 NUMBER 1 (SPRING 1992

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WHY AREN'T EFFECTIVE TEACHING TOOLS WIDELY ADOPTED?
OGDEN R. I]DSEy
BEHAVIOR RESEARCH COMPANY
AND
UNIVERSI OF KANSAS

Effective educational methods are available. They my tracks! If precision teaching continued and pro-
have been available for a long time. They are mostly gressed to the point ofcity-wide public school com-
behavioral, structured, fast paced, and require a parisons, with control groups, independent evalu-
high proportion of regular daily practice. Given ation, and was found superior, it would still be
this, it is irresponsible to invest more public funds ignored!
on educational research without first installing the Programmed instruction, the personalized sys-
powerful results of the research we have already tem of instruction (PSI), direct instruction, and
bought and paid for. precision teaching have all been terminated where
The fate of highly productive educational meth- they were successful. The PSI approach was killed
ods in public instruction is a national shame. No at North Eastern and at Georgetown, and is re-
highly effective educational method or program has stricted to only one course at the behavioral mecca
ever been widely adopted in North America. I in the Department of Human Development at the
didn't understand and accept this until 1983, when University of Kansas.
I read the results of Project Follow Through and It is hard to keep your humor when you accept
how they had been ignored and covered up (Car- the fact that you invested 25 years in developing
nine, 1983; Engelmann & Carnine, 1982). Here, methods that can help your nation out of the ed-
the dear-cut results of the most extensive and most ucational abyss into which it is racing. You made
expensive educational research ever conducted were these methods inexpensive. You made them dear.
being ignored. You couldn't even get the reports You helped illustrate their worth. You made them
out of Washington. These were the results of in- attractive. Yet they are ignored or rejected because
vesting public funds, and they had run out of of popular myth and bigotry. I should have known
reports! They couldn't find them! "Call back next this when I started in 1965, but I didn't. I went
Monday!" blissfully on even though others tried to warn me.
To me, this was scandalous. At the time, we
were getting precision teaching tried school-wide Remember Turnley!
and district-wide, but had never reached the point One of the strongest warnings came to me in
of Follow Through's massive demonstrations of the late 1960s from Winifred Stewart, director of
many city-wide programs, nor compared results the Edmonton, Alberta, School for the Retarded.
among nine different teaching models, as Follow Winifred took me to dinner after my lecture to the
Through did by the end of the project. The two Alberta Teachers Association and my workshop at
behavioral models (direct instruction and behavior the school. She was an elegant British Canadian.
analysis) produced the largest gains in basic skills. With warmth and grace, she took my hand, looked
The self-concept oriented models actually worsened kindly into my eyes, and told me to always keep
the student's achievements below the average cur- my presence of mind and my humor. I laughed
riculum control schools. This stopped me dead in and said, "Why do you tell me such a thing?" She
said, "Because you will need to fall back on humor
Send correspondence and reprint requests to the author, some day." Then she told me the tragedy of Francis
Route 1 Box 157, Lawrence, Kansas 66044-9801. Turnley.
21

there forgotten now. 1961). up. orderly or regular pattern of behavior (Gove. Winifred had taught her One problem with adopting effective teaching son to read and write. temporary sources. Now. and most of Canada. and longer lived if we plary center for retardation. Most educators have bought the . (d) punishment. " If you want to kill an educational "sonsils. Sonsils were even consideredfor teaching. At one time people realized that ac- ademic learning required regular practice. Win. with punishment. I still can feel Winifred's warm hand and concerned gaze as she concluded. What a wonderful idea! To build English gram dies. It is against the law to feed wild animals the sounds that you hear babies babbling. and that for curriculum adoption by the province of Alberta. This is the way Project Product (So- on the spoken sounds of babies! Winifred gave me kolove. Work Ethic. most educators and the public see discipline as a bad word and equate it with the fourth and Federal Grants are More Often fifth meanings. with enforced Traps than Seeds obedience. and keep your humor and wits ens. They were service. dent upon your feeding and can no longer survive finite number of them. because a student borrowed and lost is no food on the doorstep. which they are bound to do as the funds rotate they seemed to be the functional parts of spoken elsewhere. We all know how to exercise. We are all able to exercise. Then. despondent. but there were probably between 50 making it dependent on external. who had just developed realistic metaphor for "federal seed money" is "fed- a method for teaching reading and writing called eral trap money. "Remember training or exercise that corrects. stronger. Her son could neither funds. There was not an in. She built an exem. healthier. molds. (b) a subject that is taught. tutoring. Now." Sonsils were the basic sounds of English. But most of us lack Sonsils were tried in many schools and found the discipline to exercise daily. We all know that we would be hap- retarded children and adults. place if they can do it with local funds? A more ifred met Francis Turnley. as some might think. greatly superior to the existing methods for teachingThe word discipline comes from the Latin word reading and writing. and (g) an the rhythm of "Remember the Alamo!" However. Professional educators and schools had been continue the program on its own without the federal able to accomplish nothing. strength- Francis Turnley. (e) control gained by enforcing about you. and Competition In a few weeks. the dependent innovative teaching pro- English. at the time When the politically motivated federal funds dry engrossed in the functional analysis of behavior. then killed. it has rallied me well over the years. You can kill with They were not consonants and vowels. This success influenced Win- tools is the same problem that we have with phys- ifred to dedicate the rest of her life to working for ical exercise." "Remember Tumley!" doesn't have obedience. Discipline.2. I have in the forest on their own. Why did they take the money in the first read nor write. and sonsils were votedit was hard work. politics intervened. LINDSLEY When Winifred was a young woman her son grow after the federal funds stop is appealing but was in his early teens and still couldn't write his wrong. any educational approach that The idea that federal money is seed money and smacks of discipline and requires regular practice that the sown educational seeds will continue to is also avoided. and the now-dependent my sonsils book and I have never been able to get wild animal dies. in Alberta. 1978) was trapped. You have trapped the animal by another copy. committed lists seven meanings for discipline: a) teaching. (f) rule or system of rules. in- struction. they were "kindness. When you leave. They from your doorstep. because they become depen- were the sounds of English. program give it a federal grant. an autographed copy of Turnley's book the next day. The school district would lose face if it could name. Francis Turnley. using sonsils at home no more Avoided in Academics than 30 minutes a day. and is now a legendexercised regularly.2 OGDEN R.pier. and 90 most used sonsils. (c) suicide. To me." This principle is known by the forest not consonant-vowel-consonant words. Webster's unabridged dictionary down. although he spoke quite well.

" I played over the public address and is seen to strengthen participants. marily because academics doesn't keep score. There were no local roofing contractors. Even graduate students require that their "You better ac-cent-uate the positive. and Competition trast need and want. The desperate drive to increase univer. Welcomed in Athletics Two young people were planning a business It is amazing that educators and the public accept venture. "11044291 WINS ALL Harold and the following three matched transpar- CONFERENCE MILE!" encies: Accentuate the Positive Eliminate the Negative Mister In-Between Cirde perfect answers Cross out errors Percentage correct Learning opportunities Number wrong Letter grade "B" Commend the views of . because the learner sees need then there must be at least a little want. with mister in between. The United States needs learning. students. or swimming practice. the student daily on four overhead projectors a picture of Ella and paper must headline.. Projecting learning on progress charts education. I was shaped by my teacher audiences around Posting personal performance scores with names the country to entertain them in keynote speeches. Regular daily coaching and practice are ac. every house with gain than three 1-hour dasses. academics. I had assumed that if there is a great often reduces this stress. Competition system Ella Fitzgerald singing Harold Arlen's song is avoided in academics and is seen only to weaken entitled "Accentuate the Positive. So the partners invested their savings and set up a sity enrollment has forced faculties to imply falsely roofing repair business. I was wrong. is the rule in athletics and is against the law in My "best selling" presentation was called "accen- academics. tions provided. yet reject it in roof repairs. forced out of business 2 years later.. wider range of entertainment than their local sta- tice. Criticize the views of . driving around their town looking for a new busi- Wednesday. The process of learn. They Entertainment do not realize that it is fluent performance-the I finally decided that I had worked 25 years to result of learning-that is fun. e-lim-inate precious egos be protected with "secret" student the negative. but it buys more entertainment. is most often stressful even considered the American public's want for and painful. Six half-hour dasses per ness venture. . latch on to the affirmative. In my last few dasses in educational administration I used the following parable to con- Work Ethic. don't mess numbers when examination scores are posted. Competition is welcomed in athletics tuate the positive. Parents regularly a bad roof now had a new satellite dish in the front drive children great distances for daily gymnastics yard! Our partners had confused need with want. but fluency coming closer and closer each day. they noticed that the majority of the week would accomplish even more performance roofs still needed repair. I projected Imagine athletics when. Despondently plish as much as three 1-hour dasses on Monday. However. pri. ADOPTION OF EFFECTIVE TOOLS 23 myth that academic learning does not require dis. and Friday." As Ella sang. but they wanted a distance for daily mathematics or computer prac. yet they will not drive any The townspeople needed roofs. of changing performance. They noticed that the majority of the hous- the need for disciplined regular daily practice in the es along the highways around their town needed performing arts and in athletics. by law." The lyrics were. cepted in athletics but rejected in academics. help fulfill the great need for education. Top 20% of the class Offer a solution Reject the null hypothesis Superior student Share your contribution Defend your thesis Needs help . I had not ing. Public Needs Learning but Wants cipline-that the best learning is easy and fun. They did poorly and were that a 3-hour dass 1 evening per week can accom. Discipline.

After ets" for workshop and lecture participants to try a a season or two of such instruction they would have few of the precision teaching tools that we were probably sold a $39. Think over the following "what if?" Suppose ing perfect answers rather than circling errors? Did Sesame Street had been developed by effective ed- any teachers abandon percentage correct and start ucators. faculty members and had time to watch a few ative. 10% mister in-between. Mr." "most promising. With but Not Education! these results. The learning box would of Olympic athletes. A large pot like this one. messes with mister in-between. duced by the Children's Television Workshop. I suddenly realized that be 70% negative. Of the 16 have been politically incorrect to find fault with adjectives used in describing the mentally ill. After participants work by low evaluation sheet ratings. Then derway. politically correct showing how public instruction accentuates the child entertainment.24 OGDEN R. 1976). The "Do Packets" produced a little of safe. has the largest number both the wall and the TV.95 Sesame Street Learning Kit describing. Then. 15 Sesame Street. I faculty members had grants to study educational then showed that of Benjamin Franklin's 13 re. and never that time I did not see it as a destructive educational accentuates the positive. but bad education. example by example. Sesame Street was designed by . Big Bird would have told "accentuate the positive" did was entertain them. plugs into the wall and the TV. I dosed with "The Positive Ten. It would ported virtues. personal communication. March each show. The inter- from 25 years of active teaching in the School of active excitement and dollars now squandered on Education at the University of Kansas.W. and is always dose to the have buttons and knobs and handles for viewer bottom on scholastic achievement. to Englemann. Prior to negative. Now Sesame Street would collect learning Sesame Street-Informing Entertainment. Tempel. pretended to educate. pot." and so forth. go back into the kitchen and bring back a small We later developed what we called "Do Pack. then truly interactive learning would be un- tional approaches emanate from California. and only Sesame Street was a danger to effective education. A small pot like this one. Nintendo® might have been invested in academic alized Sesame Street was very poor education. 9 (69%) were negative. charting frequency correct and incorrect? No! All Keller. LINDSLEY Then I went down the lists. a $199. showing them. Grover. results from its viewers across the country. I was no longer intimidated by my fellow scribing the mentally retarded. 1990.95 Sesame Street Learning Box that plugs into the entertainment industry. "Go into the kitchen. it Unfortunately.95 Sesame Street Learning-Remote that selves to be ineffective. manipulation and would pick up signals from the many of the "new. I showed how each ex. Kermit. but they provided enter. Skinner. after I had retired have been experimentally redesigned. Perhaps I was blinded because fellow ample could be translated to a positive measure." educa. Rogers' television show lation of the decalogue into positive thou shalts asks the viewers to do things at least once or twice (C. and a modem that tainment! plugs into the telephone during program trans- mission. multicultural. yet Methodist minister Henry August Tempel's trans. through Dewey." It produced absolutely no viewer performance. the viewers. a few seasons. 20% positive. after retiring in January (94%) were negative. more effective learning programs could It was not untilJanuary 1990. bring back a and as a reward they rated me highly on their large pot. plastic objects to work and learn along with more effect. Did this produce any more teachers count. influence. I showed the Ten Commandments to segments of the program. television and had found it beneficial. TV. 8 (73%) were neg. from Montessori. but we were punished for making the Big Bird. Pro. Good! Now evaluation sheets. Sesame Street would have sold a It is interesting that California is the center of $99. that I re. A year or so later Sesame Street would sell within a few years they also tarnish. and the others. and of the 11 adjectives de. However. learning. is certainly nice. Paradoxically.

However. 1988). spend their struction. but the effects of their instruction are evenings sewing buttons on socks to make puppet hidden from public view. Escalante's teaching The accomplishment of band directors and foot- should have been analyzed by the state and by the ball and basketball coaches cannot be hidden. public view. I have had teachers in my Not only are teachers punished for effective in- dasses. You can't find out! Districts are was given with strict monitoring by Educational afraid that if word gets out that one second grade Testing Service staff. or research credits. able for averaging by teacher. mental chairmanship. produced the highest achievement last year. That is educationally dangerous! Lawrence. couch-lizard amusement. punished. Kansas (a university town). the key lems and parent displeasure. taught them mathematical tricks. You guessed One of the few dassroom teachers in North it! The Lawrence district achievement was below America to gain attention for the superior accom. prospective citizens and businesses. made them respond rapidly in public. but only the averages by district are released dasses into reading. However. and model and analyze complained that Escalante's students were spending the exemplars. he has re- ucational. the danger comes when we Illegal Local Suppression of Teacher and give Sesame Street awards for education and speak School Accomplishment of its educational value. His high school dass of dis. And. sur. more rural Effective Teachers are Punished. And there seems to be press collab- that reading comes from a lot of reading practice. nice child schools of Sacramento. entertainment-pure and simple. Esalante's students still passed teacher is more effective than the others. ADOPTION OF EFFECTIVE TOOLS entertainers. East Los Angeles drastic effect on the attractiveness of the town to (Mathews. 1988). In every school district eyes. that of a less advantaged neighboring district. The Lawrence can come from viewing talking puppets and danc. A make-up exam the years before. It the National Advanced Placement Calculus Ex. and removed from depart- or sitcom show. is illegal for this information to be hidden from amination that the Educational Testing Service. They are the sonal fame by the media (Warner Brothers. Nowhere are there academic. too much time on academics. A look at the credits scrolled at the 1978). Go to your local school district office prised by the high scores from a barrio school. and a lot of it. under Sesame Street influence. children in that second grade dass next year. this might cause enrollment prob- ridiculed and entertained them. Journal World printed the district test scores for ing letters. although given brief per- end of each program gives this away. They University of California as an exemplar (Gilbert. and accused the students of cheating. districts until a week later. There is no problem cently moved to another teaching position in the if Sesame Street is seen for what it is. Instead Escalante. by subject. and had both horror ofhorrors. and then did not indude Jaime Escalante the Lawrence scores for comparison. in the country pupil achievement scores are avail- Next morning the teachers pulled their sock-pup. are teachers in the same system. oration in making it difficult to compare the district Sesame Street had convinced them that reading results with neighboring districts. ting the public see these differences could have a formerly of Garfield High School. retrain and Teachers of the performing arts at the school help less effective teachers. information to reward effective teachers. and their accom- . and and try to find out which second grade teacher finding identical errors made by several students. rather than customizing student practice sheets. It did not print the test scores of neighboring. same entertainment credits as those of any TV soap was scorned. there will the exam with flying colors. and by pets over their hands and tried to puppetize their school. So rather than use this element was work. Let- plishments of his or her students isJaime Escalante. teacher accomplishment is buried. advantaged barrio students performed so well on Achievement test scores are public property. In desperation. Escalante had drilled be a rush by parents of first graders to get their his students. These teachers had not realized to the public. ed.

J. the REFERENCES discrepancy between athletics and academics is dear. 147-156. Binder & Watkins. 1989. an interview with Michael Malo- I will help Sig and others with my support and ney. C. Escalante. B. Breaking the structuralist barrier: Literacy and numeracy with flu- can set up formal academic advocacy for children ency. to adjudicate and legislate action (Bateman. & Humphrey. 103 minutes. New York: McGraw- Maloney & Humphrey. We can transfer Hill. (1988). ment methods. I Mathews.26 OGDEN R. D. LINDSLEY plishments are published weekly. 9. Human competence: Engineering worthy performance. Lindsay. I will call this Sokolove. S. ESEA Title IV- "Quality Navigation" and work to make it as C. remind others of Project Final acceptance December 8. (1991). (1991). Washington. Playhouse quality as it was in improving learning. Binder. 1-3. Webster's third new inter- We can publish more widely and promote our national dictionary of the English language (un- measurably more effective tools (Binder. & Bloom.. P. but my major efforts will be in industry. New York: McGraw-Hill. (1991. (1982). (1991). J. Government discrimination against How Can We Promote Effective effective educational practices. (Ed. Merriam Co. V. used in total quality management. C. Fluent the same right to move to a school with a more product knowledge: Application in the financial services effective math teacher? If parents could find out. 1(3). We Johnson. to improve public education. a more effective football coach. T. L. 4-8. (1989). Blueprintfor PRODUCrive Class- rooms. 17-21. Sig Engelmann is Maloney. Wellesley. 7-11. 10(7).N. 1982). 1991). (1989. 1991. 1991. The Behavioral Educator. Gove. 1991 Follow Through. OR: International In- than the 25 years I have already invested in trying stitute for Advocacy for School Children. (1961). MA: QED Information Sciences. J. New York: Henry Holt and Company. International Institute for Advocacy for School Children. abridged).. (1978). Promoting ef- many would move. The Behavior the cumbersome statistical process control methods Analyst. effective in monitoring and improving product Warner Brothers. Lindsay. L. H. Per- formance and Instruction. V.. Scott Geller ley!" .). will offer standard celeration charting methods to Pennypacker. (1988). (1988). academic teach. Pennypacker. 1991). ucational crisis. D. but again. R. S. 1-3. (1986). Shawnee Mission School District. W. Color. & Carnine. Practical applications of expert sys- tems. Stand and deliver.. 11805. but the school and town ad. behavioral education. Engelmann. stay loose. Inc. & C. Kansas State Department of Education. Watkins. Academic child abuse. H. Maddalena. Theory of instruc- learning commissions Johnson & Layng. let's hope they also want them. C. 1989. OR: Athletics teaching is accountable. Proceedings of the Sub- Teaching Tools? committee on Human Resources Hearing on Follow Through Amendments of 1983. October). advice. California'sacademicelitismand Personally. Seattle: Morningside Corporation. Performance and Instruction. (1982). February). E. the best teacher in Amer- ica. Many parents move across town or to Binder. 33-39. Bateman. ing is not. C. S. (1988). M. Youth Policy. our teaching technology to industry (Binder & Gilbert. Received November 7. Watkins. Project Follow Through: A story our industries need more effective quality manage. of the identification and neglect of effective instruction. (1983). C. Springfield. DC: GPO. tion: Principles and applications. 1991 keep it light. Carnine. I am not going to invest any more blatant discrimination. & Watkins. Eugene. 1988). 1990. V. We can bypass public instruction with private. F. Efforts to promote mea- another town for their child to be in a school with surably superior instructional methods in schools. fective instructional methods: Solutions to America's ed- ministrators don't want that. Eugene. 1988. Bloom. Shouldn't they have Binder. We know Theatrical Film No. for-profit learning centers with guarantees and Direct Instruction News. Engelmann. V. and always "Remember Turn. The challenge of technology North American industry as an improvement over transfer: Buying in without selling out. T. S. industry. 1986). 4(1). Why I sued California. K. B. Winter). MA: G. (1978). E. (1990. Action Editor. Maddalena. (Interviewer). Future Choices.. The Quinte Learning Center: A successful venture in angry and still banging away (Engelmann. C. No matter what happens in public education. & Layng.