I've uploaded the outline of this research proposal at the learning evolves wiki: DI_indigenous_memes
DIRECT INSTRUCTION FOR INDIGENOUS STUDENTS: A CASE STUDY IN MEME WARFARE (RESEARCH PROPOSAL)
CONTEXT: appalling basic literacy and numeracy rates amongst indigenous Australians, especially those who live in remote regions.
PERCEPTION: We literally see the world according to the memes in our minds
The Direct Instruction (DI) approach is a good attempt to solve a number of practical problems that arise for teachers of severely disadvantaged students who have poor skills at reading, writing and comprehending English and Maths.
HYPOTHESIS: Many can't see the value of DI because of the synergistic influence of a plethora of mind memes which act as blinkers and filters to influence their perception. The rejection of DI is not based on research or science as is claimed but results from a deep, internally coherent world view. ie. the rejection of DI is more part of a cultural, psychological, philosophical and political world view and not scientific as is usually claimed.
The memes are grouped under various subheadings: (1) culture, (2) rights, morality, compassion, justice (3) social class, (4) "real learning", (5) creativity, (6) philosophy, (7) institutionalised inertia and (8) computer lib. The identified memes are often associated with a "progressive" world view / education and form a large part of the cultural background of "progressives". It will be argued that some of these memes are refutable, some of them are valid in a more general sense but not in the particular context being discussed (basic education of severely at risk students) and some are more or less correct and should contribute to the educational environment that ought to be developed. However, when combined together synergistically these memes are likely to evoke a critical response to DI in any context and act to block its possible implementation. The critical response is often emotionally charged, that is, part of a culture war.
WHERE IS THE ARGUMENT HEADING?
Try to imagine the process involved in changing from the anti DI mindset to a pro DI mindset, or vice versa for that matter.
Discussion points arising -
Self awareness and self examination of one's own deeply held biases or beliefs is a difficult process
When people argue that science or evidence supports their viewpoint what does this mean? This requires not only looking at the evidence but also looking at the model of science that is being evoked here
In a few of his essays Noel Pearson outlines the dialectical concept of the radical centre where the best elements from both sides of the political divide are combined into a coherent policy. Yet it could be argued that his currently favoured educational policy, Direct Instruction, is going too far to one side of such a centre.
Direct Instruction (full immersion) is an educational framework that can transform a community of poor learners to become fair learners. Naturalist approaches such as unguided constructivism have failed. Nevertheless, there are limits to Direct Instruction and a framework of guided discovery to promote higher learning is outlined (based on the educational ideas Montessori, Bruner and Vygotsky).
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