A little song
A little dance
A little seltzer
Down your pants.
[Mary Tyler Moore Show]
Here's a bit of interchange between Professor Plum and a colleague whom we shall designate Perfessser Mumblemore.
Mumblemore is big on celebrating diversity, learning styles, multiple intelligences, and whole language. He despises direct instruction--though of course he knows nothing at all about it. He presents himself as a "Man of the People," fighting at all times against our "racist, oppressive, society" while at the same time advocating with all his heart, soul, and adipose tissues for "The Underclass." Which means that he recently traded in his white Cadillac convertible for a Jaguar. This is the TRUTH.
Mumblemore hates my guts. Why I could not say.
Yesterday, another colleague (A good guy. Right-thinking. Let's call him Ned) sends to all the faculty and staff the url for an article on scientific research. In fact, this one.
I respond to Ned with a bit of sarcasm, as is my wont--sending the reply to the whole faculty and staff. The sarcasm was aimed not at Ned but at the REST of the pseudo-progressives....
Dear Ned, or Neddy, as you prefer....
I, for one, appreciate your posting the article on how to conduct rigorous scientific research.
However, we must acknowledge the downside of basing education decisions on such research, rather than on testimonials, anecdotes, field notes, unvalidated/teacher-made instruments, and children's drawings.
1. About 95% of "practices" and "pedagogies" would be placed in one of several containers: (1) pure bilge; (2) demented edubabble; (3) child abuse.
2. Very expensive curricula and materials in reading--to take one example--that don't work any better than no treatment--would be replaced by tested materials that work reliably, cost about 20 bucks, are readily available, and are user friendly. This would cut into profits big time.
3. Purveyors of fads, untested programs, and methods that are shown by rigorous research either not to work at all or not to work as well as other methods would soon be out of business. In other words, in this case, knowledge is BAD for business. Moreover, as in other professions that are guided by scientifically validated protocols, educators who insist on pushing nonsense would become defendants in lawsuits. And this might adversely affect their schedules.
4. Articles, books, and presentations submitted for publication that are counter to the tenets of scientific research would be scored on what would come to be called "The Hilarity Scale." Author feedback would consist of one or more "Ha's."
1. Ha. [Simply stupid.]
2. Ha Ha. [Oh, my Lord! What drivel.]
3. Ha Ha Ha [Caluminous rump-fed beslubbering fustiliarian flapdoodle]
So, let's be careful about becoming TOO scientific, Ned. We might not like the consequences. Consider what happened to Oedipus. Not good, I'll tell you what, Boy Howdy!
Apparently sensing the wolf at the door that he shares with his kind--multi-culti's, whole languagers, child-centrists--Mumblemore replies to me and Ned....
ON GARBAGE AND GARBAGE CANS:
“What’s one man’s cup of tea, Is another’s cup of urine!”
A true artist can find beauty in a garbage can!
1. HA! Humor, of course. However…historically, a functioning “belief” has been more often dismissed as “myth” by the “true believers!”
2. WHOLE TO PART, Or PART TO WHOLE? THAT IS THE QUESTION! CAN THEY COEXIST? REALLY?
3. Are you affirming that millions of persons have learned to read using a “Whole word decoding” approach,Involving an understanding of a word-in-its-context? WOW! What growth!
The present “government standard” [for “funding”…the $$$ hustle is on] = Bushwacked B.S.
Typical Mumblemore! Note the carefully crafted argument. The deft use of data. The moronitude masquerading as humor. Who could resist? [Could YOU?] And so I replied to Mumblemore and the whole faculty...
My Esteemed Colleague, Prof Mumblemore writes...
>>ON GARBAGE AND GARBAGE CANS: "What's one man's cup of tea, Is another's cup of urine!"
True, Mumblemore. But persons who are guided by their senses and by data rather than by ideology, fantasy, cult-think, and delusion generally know the difference.
>>A true artist can find beauty in a garbage can!
Not if there's no beauty in it. Where's the beauty in 60% of African American, Hispanic, and Native American kids in 4th grade illiterate. I can't see it. I guess it takes a true artist.
>> Are you affirming that millions of persons have learned to read using a "Whole word decoding" approach, Involving an understanding of a word-in-its-context? WOW! What growth!
You are confusing knowing what a word SAYS with what a word MEANS. Of course we use context to induce meaning. However, there is no such thing as a whole word decoding (what a word SAYS) approach. There's whole word memorizing (rote learning) and decoding via knowledge of letter-sound correspondence (which is a cognitive strategy).
>>Have you read: SILLY STUFF: A CHEATING OF THE PHONICS-MIND? [He made this up. It's supposed to be an insult. It's on the level of "You're a poopy head." We dismiss it utterly. We think of a witty rebuttal...]
No, Prof Mumblemore, but I've read BULL%$#: CHEATING KIDS OUT OF A LIFE. by Srank Fmith, Gen Koodman, and Reggi Loutperson. And I had to take Pepto Bismol to keep from barfing. I invite you to read Srank Fmith's 1985 hit, "Reading without nonsense." The title is a self-referential oxymoron. Read the book and you ARE reading nonsense. If he isn't certifiably insane, he must be joking.
Here, for your amusement, are a few quotations from Mr. Smith's widely read catalogue of the grotesque...
It is easier for a reader to remember the unique appearance and pronunciation of a whole word like 'photograph' than to remember the unique pronunciations of meaningless syllables and spelling units" (p.146) Smith, F. (1985).
Reading without nonsense: Making sense of reading.
[This is nonsense at its finest. How is it easier to remember how to say "photograph" when you see that word than to remember to say mmm when you see m? Of course it is easier to remember one word by sight than to learn the sounds that go with each letter. What Smith neglects to tell the reader is that if a child memorizes ten words, the child can read only ten words, but if the child learns the sounds of ten letters, the child will be able to read 350 three-sound words, 4,320 four-sound words, and 21,650 five-sound words. Moreover, if the child merely memorizes (but cannot sound out) "photograph," what is the child likely to "read" when the child bumps into "phosphate," "phonograph," and "phony ass?"]
Or this beauty, which took Second Prize in the Sheer Idiocy competition...
"Phonics, which means teaching a set of spelling to sound correspondence rules that permit the decoding of written language into speech, just does not work." Smith, F. (1985). Reading without nonsense (2nd. Ed).
[Mr. Smith's theory of reading makes about as much sense as the theory which argues that bumblebees can't fly. Just ask about 2000 k-2nd graders in Big Bend County who only LOOK like they're decoding words! Mr. Smith is merely lulling himself to sleep with a litany of undiluted drivel.]
I know you are waiting for the entry that received First Prize. And HERE IT IS.....
"Early in our miscue research, we concluded…That a story is easier to read than a page, a page easier to read than a paragraph, a paragraph easier than a sentence, a sentence easier than a word, and a word easier than a letter. Our research continues to support this conclusion and we believe it to be true…" Goodman, K. & Goodman, Y. (1981). Twenty questions about teaching language. Educational Leadership, 38, 437-442.
[These lines have a nice rhythm--and they make sense if you have lost your mind. The sane person wants to know how a child who cannot easily read a letter is able easily to read a word (which consists entirely of letters); how a child who cannot easily read a word is able easily to read a sentence (which consists entirely of words); how a child who cannot easily read a sentence is able easily to read a paragraph (which consists entirely of sentences); and how a child who cannot easily read a paragraph is able easily to read a story. One wonders what kind of "research" would support the Goodmans' backwards-land belief. Must be from another world. Or, as I suggested earlier, peyote.]
But enough. I have run out of Pepto Bismol.
>>The present "government standard" [for "funding". the $$$ hustle is on] = Bushwacked B.S.
I know. I feel so sorry for folks in this field who have been getting free milk from the government udders. Under Bush, they now have to demonstrate some intelligence before they get the cash. Well, perhaps these trials are sent to make us more philosophical. On the other hand, maybe it's the mills of the gods--grinding slowly, but grinding on and on.
We have been waiting with bated breath [not "baited" breath. That would be as silly and as fruitless as Barbara Boxer drawing herself up to her full height. The woman most closely resembles Grumpy from a movie entitled Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs--a movie whose heroine was Professor Plum's (at 8 years of age) first love. Pathetic AND psychotic.] for another response from Le Mumblemore. However, we believe we have dashed his hopes of scoring. We have poured the proverbial ice water down the proverbial shorts with the usual proverbial results--maximum shrinkage.