Bill Kerr 24th December, 2013

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. Important features of DI (full immersion) include:
  • rigorous field testing and modification of the teaching materials for quality (not normally done in other approaches)
  • placement tests for grouping into age independent ability levels so that every child in the class has a good chance of understanding the lesson content and participating fully in the lesson
  • continual adjustment of ability group membership depending on the progress of students
  • a large volume of relevant materials (teacher manuals, student workbooks) in basic literacy and maths
  • intensive scripting in the teacher manuals stating word for word how the lesson should be delivered to enable quality, fidelity (consistency of delivery) and a mass scale of delivery
  • verbal participation by the students in unison (chanting) which makes it very difficult for a child to avoid participation (which of course is normal in many classrooms, especially in disadvantaged schools)
  • steady, gradual increments in the difficulty of the lessons
  • without fail, every school day, from 9am to 1pm there are 3 hours of English language instruction (broken up into decoding using a phonics approach, comprehension, writing) and 1 hour of Maths instruction
  • No excuses: if the student hasn't learned then the teacher hasn't taught

This approach is not a universal panacea but a good pragmatic method for achieving basic literacy and maths skills for severely at risk students

Note that in the Cape York trial Direct Instruction in only one part (Class, which covers literacy, numeracy and science) of a three part curriculum, the other parts being Club (sport, art and music) and Culture (indigenous culture and languages)

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 results from a deep, internally coherent world view arising from cultural, psychological, philosophical and political elements. Both sides claim that science is on their side but neither side accepts the science of the other because there is no settled view of the nature of the science of learning. This is the generous interpretation, the less generous interpretation is that older practitioners are too set and have too much invested in their ways to change in the face of new evidence.


The word meme is being used in the sense of concepts that individuals assume or take for granted due to them belonging to a particular culture or subculture. They are foundational beliefs, which tend to be replicated within a sub culture without being questioned.

The memes (opposing and supporting Direct Instruction) 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.


Fanaticism is on display from both sides of politics in this culture war but probably more so from the "left" than the "right', since the right is feeling relatively relaxed owing to the presumed triumph of capitalism over socialism

From the "right", constructivist methodologies are part of a socialist plot to weaken capitalist society (Bruce Deitrick Price) . The right is still angry here owing to the persistence of constructivist thinking in the educational establishment.

From the "left", educational drill and skill is a sophisticated form of child abuse. Aboriginal leaders who form an alliance with John Howard or Tony Abbott have sold out, are Uncle Tom's, assimilationists and more colourful terms of abuse. According to Gary Foley, Noel Pearson is "Queensland’s most famous Lutheran since peanut farming Premier Joh Bjelke-Peterson", "the corpulent and verbose Aboriginal Man of the Moment". Again from Gary Foley, Warren Mundine is the "white sheep of the family".


ANTI Explicit or Direct Instruction
PRO Explicit or Direct Instruction

Cultural assimilation into the dominant white, western culture is the main enemy both historically and today

A) Chris Sarra's Stronger Smarter Institute. The path to success lies through positive promotion of indigenous identity. Negative portrayal is nothing but stereotype. Identity politics and identity education are the central themes of Chris Sarra's approach.

B) Ghil'ad Zuckerman
Bilingualism, in the face of linguicide, must come first.

A) Peter Sutton. Strong cultural relativism fails the disgust test (eg. violence and sexual violations against women and children)

B) Michelle Moody-Adams / Amartya Sen. Cultural differences tend to be exaggerated. They often can be resolved.

C) Walter Michaels: Inequality is more important than identity. Diversity issues (race, culture, minority rights) act as a diversion from the main issue of capitalism, that it can't resolve the widening gap b/w rich and poor.

D) Noel Pearson. Any real culture is layers of culture. Orbiting between two cultures, the best of both worlds is the way to go

E) the economic base is the fundamental determinant of culture (Widdowson's Marxist interpretation)


Progressives have battled valiantly over the years for indigenous rights eg. against racism, for recognition after the shame of terra nullius, against assimilation, for land rights, etc.

White guilt: whites have no right to lead in view of the historical legacy of brutal and ignorant assimilationist policies, the deaths, the stolen generations etc.

The responsibility agenda rather than the rights agenda is the more pressing requirement in the current context of indigenous progress ("Our right to take responsibility" - Noel Pearson)

The immediate social issues of welfare dependency, substance abuse and fourth world conditions should be tackled NOW and distinguished from issues which can't be solved (the history of dispossession) immediately

Compassion as the supreme virtue is critiqued by Arendt, in the context of revolutionary movements, how it helped to destroy Robespierre and the French Revolution

Note: Nicolas Rothwell explains the "Fourth World" terminology:

  • But crafting a future for Aboriginal remote communities requires above all else a clear sight of what they are now. The communities are a welfare state and, thanks to Cape York activist Noel Pearson, the rotting effects of passive welfare provision in the Aboriginal realm are plain, and the virtues of work-for-welfare programs are accepted across the board. But the communities form a welfare zone with unusual, complicating characteristics. They have Third World living conditions but they are not in the Third World.

  • Rather, they are in a much stranger place: a place quite hard to see and understand. We might call it the Fourth World: a deeply deprived space contained within the borders of a modern, prosperous First World state. Absolute poverty is not the limiting economic problem: a controlled, regular, yet inadequate supply of transferred money is, along with its inevitable outcome, relative poverty - a fate both grinding and comforting for those locked out of the productive economy. Capital formation is impossible under such circumstances, unless land use can be traded.

  • The inhabitants of this zone are welfare pensioners, who have subsisted for decades without strong incentives to acquire skills or seek jobs. In this Fourth World of the communities, there is a strong awareness of positional disadvantage: the men, women and children there know they are at the bottom of the social pyramid of Australian life, but they have no idea of how to change their status. The younger generation's members are encouraged to share the expectations of the wider society but geography and the lack of educational pathways prevent them from taking part in the outside world on even terms.


A) Poverty
Social class always has and always will determine learning outcomes. Student achievement will not be advanced unless poverty and disadvantage are first eliminated.

Diane Ravich initially supported "No Child Left Behind" (NCLB) but then changed her mind about it: High-stakes testing, "utopian" goals, "draconian" penalties, school closings, privatization, and charter schools didn't work, she concluded. "The best predictor of low academic performance is poverty—not bad teachers."

"What we need is not a marketplace, but a coherent curriculum that prepares all students. And our government should commit to providing a good school in every neighborhood in the nation, just as we strive to provide a good fire company in every community" (Why I Changed My Mind About School Reform)

Diane Ravitch critique of Michelle Rhee: her leadership led to cheating, teaching to bad tests, dumbing down tests, fraud and a narrowed curriculum
Student outcomes are more determined by educational factors than social factors

NCLB was driven by informed researchers such as Reid Lyon

How do miserable people progress in the world?The great failure of "progressive" thinking is that there is no magic mass elevator or social justice forklift. Each individual has to climb the stairs, one by one. Everyone has to climb. Social justice is the sum of individual progress. (Noel Pearson)

Welfare: If an indigenous person can make $220 per week on the CDEP (Commonwealth Development Employment Projects) compared with $170 per week in a Traineeship then they will naturally make a price calculation and choose welfare

B) School Attendance
Chris Sarra: Building positive relationships with indigenous students and families is sufficient to improve school attendance to more than 90%
Chris Sarra's attendance and academic achievement claims have been disputed by Allan Luke in a comprehensive study of the Stronger Smarter schools.

Noel Pearson: In the context of the widespread breakdown of social norms, if parents break these norms they need to be held accountability by a Family Reponsibility Commision (FRC) which has powers to quarantine welfare. The social norms are:
a) Send kids to school
b) protect children from abuse or neglect
c) look after your house
d) obey the law

C) Jobs
David Vadiveloo: Although jobs are important a person from a marginalised culture can have a job but lose their sense of who they are which can lead to suicide (based partly on Inuit experience)
Marcia Langton: Mining companies have a mixed record but some of them, some of the time have done more for indigenous people than government programmes (Boyer Lectures, 2012)

Twiggy Forrest: People with jobs enjoy and nurture their culture. Welfare dependency is the quickest way for a people to destroy their culture


A) Standardised research:
Preference for thick descriptors and explanations of how learning works. Reluctance to accept evidence from standardised testing without a coherent model which explains the mechanism. (Luke, King et al)

High stakes testing distorts the whole learning process. Finland has the best PISA results but they don't have high stakes testing.

Allington: Evidence based practitioners are fudging the data
Evidence based practice. Give me the f___ing data. (Engelmann, Hempenstall)

Australian data:
Statistics from ABS (in the 2010 Dyslexia report) noted that 52% of Australians aged 15-19 had a literacy level that “was insufficient to meet the complex demands of everyday life and work”.

The Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies, Australia, 2011-12, found that 44% or 13.6 million Australians aged 15 to 74 years have low level literacy skills

The PIRLS 2011 study into reading comprehension put Australia second bottom of all English speaking countries surveyed. 24% of Australian students had a Low or Below Low score in reading comprehension.

See Engelmann's response to Allington. Allington appears to come off very badly in this exchange.

B) What does brain science tell us? (Hempenstall, Willingham)

C) Learning Styles
Howard Gardner's multiple intelligences

Factory model critique - education is analogous to a 20th C assembly line, churning out industrial fodder
Multiple intelligences and learning styles debunked by Dan Willingham

D) Reading Wars:
Phonics worksheets, levelled readers and controlled vocabulary is boring and kills natural interest and the enthusiasm of children.

King et al: Reductionism and phonics is dangerous. It is not possible to strip down complex phenomena such as reading. We need to find creative ways to harness, complex, hard to study structures (27)

Stephen Krashen: we acquire language and literacy best not through direct instruction but via “comprehensible input” – for literacy, this means reading, especially reading that the reader finds truly interesting, or “compelling.” Complex phonics, word reading, fluency are all the RESULT of real reading for comprehension
Core principles of MULTILIT (Wheldall) are
Non categorical - one method fits all
Positive teaching - reward positive behaviour
Integrated literacy - phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension

Decomposition of reading into parts and systematically developing skills in those parts is the most effective way to teach reading

E) Maths wars
to be completed
Rhonda Farkota: When it came to the employment and cultivation of higher order skills where reasoning and reflection were required it was clear that a student-directed approach to learning was better suited. But when it came to the acquisition of basic skills the empirical evidence unequivocally showed that a teacher-directed approach was best suited.

Liping Ma:
... mathematics teaching in Chinese classrooms, even by a teacher with PUFM (Profound Understanding of Fundamental Mathematics) seems very "traditional"; that is, contrary to that advocated by reform. Mathematics teaching in China is clearly textbook based. In Chinese classrooms, students sit in rows facing the teacher, who is obviously the leader and maker of the agenda and direction in classroom learning. On the other hand, one can see in Chinese classrooms, particularly in those of teachers with PUFM, features advocated by reform - teaching for conceptual understanding, student's enthusiasm and opportunities to express their ideas, and their participation and contribution to their own learning processes


DI will kill creativity and exploratory learning and much will be lost in this process. Creativity, curiosity and exploration is the path to meaningful engagement. From the teachers POV nothing is worse than surrendering their personal educational / cultural approach to the collective, since the collective always turns into a mind numbing bureaucracy. Noble stance: I am an autonomous, free, exploratory agent teaching and respecting others to be like me. I will fight for liberty against an epistemological death that will destroy my progressive soul and is an affront to my free will

When intelligent people report about their school experiences more often than not they say that it nullified rather than encouraged creative thinking
Creativity has a behaviourist underpinning. It is not possible to be creative without a strong underpinning of basic and factual knowledge. (ED Hirsch)

Dobbs:The most important elements of genius are:
1) hard work, focused effort (effortful study), is most important
2) supportive environment, mentoring is also very important
3) natural ability (genetics) has some importance but is not so important as the first two

Hofstadter, Dennett on the nature and evolution of creativity (see references)


Student motivation is the key to real learning. If we get motivation right and don't deny creativity and imagination then problems will be solved and learning will flourish. No other way is acceptable. Child development is an ocean; learning by comparison is throwing a few pebbles in this ocean.

Rousseau: Progress is freedom because humans are naturally good. Whatever is natural is good (Naturalism or Romanticism, although usually not overtly stated).

Piaget: "If you teach someone something you deprive them of the opportunity to learn it for themselves"
The "non universals" (Alan Kay) or "biologically secondary cognitive abilities" (David Geary): anthropological findings show that there is no easy or natural path to certain types of knowledge, including reading and writing

Kevin McGee eloquently refutes Piaget's famous quote (references)

B) Causation: Tends towards "deep underlying reasons" explanations and the need for mega change or revolution to get to the root of desirable change.

The socially critical view starts from the premise that social problems originate from the unnatural and inhumane social system of capitalism. To progress from this starting point requires freedom, which includes freedom from authoritarian teaching methods.
B) Causation: Tends towards simple cause and effect explanations

C) Against Behaviourism
Behaviourism is robotic, Skinner has been rejected for good reasons. Spoon feeding doesn't work

Struggle - real learning is messy and complex, struggle is an important component

Unambiguous instruction is impossible (in contradiction to basic knowledge about the dialectical nature of processes)
C) Kevin Wheldall promotes behaviourism in a pragmatic rather than ideological manner

"I didn't realise how radical the single-interpretation principle was ..." Engelmann, p. 3 Teaching Needy Kids (by the single-interpretation principle he means unambiguous instructions and his efforts to make the teaching instructions unambiguous)

Daniel Dennett: Why the Law of Effect won't go away? (in rejecting Skinner don't throw out the baby with the bath water)

D) Swear words directed at the "right": reductionist, positivist
D) Swear words directed at the "left": holistic, relativistic, phenomenological, even philosophical as a pejorative (the last from Reid Lyon)

E) Gilbert Ryle: Knowing how v. Knowing that. The first is factual or abstract knowledge. The second is a skilled disposition. it is not enough to memorise rules about fallacies and syllogisms. "We learn how by practice, schooled indeed by criticism and example," writes Ryle, "but often quite unaided by any lessons in the theory." One must actually read, think, formulate arguments, listen, reply, and so on.

F) Rebellion
"It is right to rebel against reactionaries" Mao Tsetung.

That is a fine slogan but the only problem is in determining who is a reactionary as distinct from who is a truly progressive. As teachers are well aware it is normal for kids to rebel (eg. call an adult a "silly old fart" or steal a car or compose a song "We don't want no education ... leave us kids alone" but what we hope for is activism informed by the best knowledge around. Sometimes this is acquired through the process of activism but it also requires serious research.

As a result of some authorities doing very stupid things (eg. conscripting Australian youth to fight in Vietnam) this led some to rebel against all authority and adopt naturalism (freedom of development is the main thing that is required for progress). Some of the former 60s radicals rose to prominent positions in education departments and promoted open ended constructivism and whole language ideas. This mindset leads to rejection of any form of Direct Instruction because it has a structured and authoritarian form ("robotic"). The baby was thrown out with the bathwater.

G) Pragmatism

I tend to agree that the philosophical basis of DI has been poorly explained. For example, in "Could John Stuart Mill have saved our schools?" Engelmann and Carnine put forward a philosophy similar to logical empiricism, which has been rightly rejected for many years by most philosophers.

I'm searching for a philosophy which is both socially critical of capitalism (the gap between rich and poor continues to grow, the Occupy Wall Street protesters had a very sound basis for their protests) but which also promotes progress for the disadvantaged in the here and now. Still under review but the best candidate I have found so far is the style of Pragmatism promoted by Hilary Putnam, Amartya Sen and Martha Nussbaum (the capabilities approach). Their arguments also promote the idea that reasoned, robust discussion leads to a plurality of approaches, not one true way. (so this paragraph belongs more in the radical centre than on the right hand side)


Millions of dollars are poured into indigenous issues in order to "close the gap" (whatever that is meant to mean) but the results have not been impressive. There is a continual battle going on about the rationale for this money and who should receive it. People work in jobs / careers which are often guided by policy inertia and usually they are policies which have not succeeded. In the distribution of this money where and how do we draw the lines between wisdom, good will, "just doing my job" and corruption?

Respecting individuals in all their diversity is more important than measurement.

Other approaches have failed so a no excuses approach with strict standardised measurement of outcomes is the only viable way to go.

Measurement is more important than sentiment.

“The dirty little secret of liberal [leftard] politics is that it is not about the poor or ‘social justice’ but is about the political careers and moral exaltation of liberals themselves. The actual consequences of liberal policies on the poor or others seldom receives anything like the amount of attention given to promoting these policies and demonizing the critics of these politics.”—Thomas Sowell


The important thing is to be able to read the world rather than read the word. The new computer medium can be programmed so that difficult things to learn can now be taught more naturally. Seymour Papert called this "hard fun". We need to focus on mastering the new medium, the new literacy rather than focus on older media. (Gee, Papert, Di Sessa).

21st Century Skills, web 2.0, connectivism (George Siemens), creative disruption or Schumpeter's gale, disruptive technologies, disruptive innovation (Clayton Christensen), the one laptop per child initiative (Negroponte), Sugata Mitra's hole in the wall experiment

Deschooling society (Illich, Freire): updating the original ideas of those authors using the new computer technologies.

No computer program has yet been invented that teaches people to read.

In practice, the computer medium provides an infinite distraction for a non motivated learner when he/she strikes a problem

refer Larry Cuban

All of this has it's place but you have to be literate, to know how to read and write, to participate in it. See my blog posts under the web2.0 tag. The identification and teaching of powerful ideas is the real justification for traditional school.


A) Is Radical Epistemological Self Transformation Possible?

Does evidence determine outlook or does outlook determine what evidence one is prepared to look at?

It seems that most of us have deeply embedded cultural, psychological, philosophical and political memes that play a far greater role in determining our opinions about what works in education than any empirical evidence that is brought to bear on the question.

Self awareness and self examination of one's own deeply held biases or beliefs is a difficult process. Nevertheless, it is possible through reasoned argument combined with real world experience (skin in the game) for people to transform their viewpoints. In this case because of the synergistic combination of a variety of mind memes a number of significant hurdles need to be jumped.

Alternatively, is this a paradigm shift where we just have to wait for the older generation to die out?

B) Science, Education and the Radical Centre

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. Should Direct Instruction be a model for the whole of the curriculum or just for the basics? Rhonda Farkota has argued from her review of evidence in maths education that teacher-directed approaches are best for basic skills and student-directed approaches are best for higher order thinking.

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 may well be necessary as well (possibly based on the educational ideas Montessori, Bruner and Vygotsky). There is still no unified learning theory; a variety of approaches are required to achieve excellence.

this is currently organised under the subheadings

Bruce Deitrick Price. A Tribute to Rudolf Flesch

Bruce Deitrick Price. Phooey on John Dewey.

Foley, Gary (2013). The Contrarian: Liberation through acquisition.

Foley, Gary (2013). Warren Mundine: The white sheep of the family?


Michaels, Walter Benn (2006) The Trouble with Diversity: How we learned to love Identity and ignore inequality

Michaels, Walter Benn. Let Them Eat Diversity.

Michele Moody-Adams (2002) Fieldwork in Familiar Places: Morality, Culture and Philosophy

Pearson, Noel (2009). Up From the Mission. Black Inc.

Sutton Peter. (2009) The Politics of Suffering: Indigenous Australia and the end of the liberal consensus. Melbourne University Press.

Sen, Amartya. (2008). Identity and Violence: The Illusion of Destiny

Esther Usborne, Julie Caouette, Qiallak Qumaaluk, Donald Taylor. Bilingual education in an Aboriginal context: examining the transfer of language skills from Inuktitut to English or French. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism. Vol 12, No 6, November 2009, 667-684

Zuckerman, Ghil'ad and Walsh, Michael (2011). Stop, Revive, Survive: Lessons from the Hebrew Revival Applicable to the Reclamation, Maintenance and Empowerment of Aboriginal Languages and Cultures


Arendt, Hannah. (2006 version) On Revolution. Penguin

Michele Moody-Adams (2002) Fieldwork in Familiar Places: Morality, Culture and Philosophy

Nussbaum Martha C. (2011) Creating Capabilities: The Human Development Approach. Belknap Press

Sen, Amartya. The Idea of Justice. 2009


FaHCSIA (Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs ).
Cape York Welfare Reform Evaluation. 2012.

Langton, Marcia (2012) The Quiet Revolution: Indigenous People and the Resources Boom.

Luke, Allan, Cazden, Courtney, Coopes, Rhonda, Klenowski, Valentina, Ladwig, James, Lester, John, MacDonald, Shelley, Phillips, Jean, Shield, Paul G., Spina, Nerida, Theroux, Pamela, Tones, Megan J., Villegas, Malia, & Woods, Annette F. (2013) A Summative Evaluation of the Stronger Smarter Learning Communities Project : Vol 1 and Vol 2. Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD.

Lyon, Reid interview.

Pearson, Noel. 2009. Radical Hope: Education and Equality in Australia.

Ravitch, Diane (2010) Why I Changed my Mind About School Reform.

Ravitch, Diane (2011). Shame on Michelle Rhee.

Ravitch, Diane (2013). Reign of Error: The Hoax of Privatization Movement and the Danger to American Public Schools.



Engelmann, Siegfried (2002). Allington leveled serious allegations against Direct Instruction.

Gunn, Stephanie and Wyatt-Smith. Ch 2 Learning Difficulties, Literacy and Numeracy: Conversations Across the Fields. In: Multiple Perspectives on Difficulties in Learning. Springer.

Helping people with dyslexia: a national action agenda. Report to the Hon Bill Shorten, Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children's Services, from the Dyslexia Working Party: Submitted January 10 2010

Highlights from TIMSS and PIRLS 2011 from Australia's Perspective.

Hempenstall, K. (1996). The gulf between educational research and policy: The example of Direct Instruction and whole language. Behaviour Change, 13(1), 33-46.

Hempenstall, Kerry. (2013) Why does Direct Instruction evoke such rancour?

Hempenstall, Kerry. (2013) A History of Disputes about reading instruction

Hempenstall, Kerry. () Older students literacy problems

Hempenstall, Kerry. (2006) What does evidence-based practice in education mean? Australian Journal of Learning Disabilities, 1(2), 83-92

Hempenstall, Kerry (May 2011). Sounding off about teaching children to read, The Conversation.

Hempenstall, Kerry (August 2011). As easy as ABC: the way to ensure children learn to read. The Conversation.

Catherine A. King, University of New Orleans, Peg Griffin, Laboratory of Comparative Human Cognition, Stephen Diaz, California State University at San Bernardino, Michael Cole, Laboratory of Comparative Human Cognition. A Model Systems Approach to Reading Instruction and the Diagnosis of Reading Disabilities (1989 )

Luke, Allan. (2013) On explicit and direct instruction.

Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies, Australia, 2011-12.

Wheldall Kevin (2013) PIRLS before Swine: Or why Australia sucks at reading.


Hempenstall, Kerry (December 2011). Use your brain and teach people to read properly. The Conversation.

Willingham, Daniel. Brain Based Learning: More Fiction than Fact.


Willingham, Daniel. (2004) Reframing the Mind: Howard Gardner and the theory of multiple intelligences.

Willingham, Daniel (2008) Learning Styles Don't Exist.

Willingham, Daniel. Learning Styles FAQ.


Allington Richard L. (2001) What do we know about the effects of Direct Instruction on student reading achievement.

Allington Richard L. (2002) Big Brother and the National Reading Curriculum: How Ideology Trumped Evidence.

Cunningham, P.M. & Cunningham, J.W. (2002). In A.E. Farstrup & S.J. Samuels (Eds.), What Research Has to Say About Reading Instruction (3rd ed., pp. 87–109).

Federal Reports on Reading Issues (USA), 1999-2011.

Flesch Rudolf. (1981) Why Johny Still Can't Read: A new look at the scandal in our schools. Harper Colophon

Gray Brian. (2007) Accelerating the Literacy Development of Indigenous Students: The National Accelerated Literacy Program (NALP)

Kozloff Martin A. (2002). A Whole Language: Catalogue of the Grotesque

Kozloff Martin A. (2002) Rhetoric and Revolution: Kenneth Goodman's "Psycholinguistic Guessing Game".

Mills, Kathy. Deconstructing binary oppositions in literacy discourse and pedagogy. Australian Journal of Language and Literacy. Vol 28, No. 1, 200, pp. 67-82

Moats Louisa Cook. Why teaching reading IS rocket science.

Moats Louisa Cook. Whole Language Lives On: The Illusion of "Balanced" Reading Instruction

Moats Louisa Cook. Why Teaching Reading IS rocket science.

MULTILIT materials
Wheldall Kevin, Beaman-Wheldall Robyn

Buckingham Jennifer, Wheldall Kevin, Beaman-Wheldall Robyn. (2013). Why Jaydon Can't Read: The Triumph of Ideology Over Evidence in Teaching Reading. Policy, Vol 29, No 3, Spring 2013

Wheldall Kevin, Beaman-Wheldall Robyn. ‘Effective Instruction for Older Low-Progress Readers: Meeting the Needs of Indigenous Students,’ in Claire Wyatt-Smith, John Elkins, Stephanie Gunn (eds), Multiple Perspectives on Difficulties in Learning Literacy and Numeracy (New York: Springer, 2010).

Pogorzelski, S., & Wheldall, K. (2005). The importance of phonological processing skills for older
low-progress readers. Educational Psychology in Practice, 21, 1–22.

Rose David, Martin JR (2012). Learning to Write, Reading to Learn: Genre, Knowledge and Pedagogy in the Sydney School. Equinox Publishing.

Rose, David. Articles, books & reports on Reading to Learn, @
(too numerous to list at this stage)


Farkota, Rhonda. 2003. The Effects of a 15-minute Direct Instruction Intervention in the Regular Mathematics Class on Students' Mathematical Self-efficacy and Achievement.

Harel, Idit. (1988) Software Design for Learning: Children's Construction of Meaning for Fractions and Logo Programming. MIT

Liping Ma (1999). Knowing and Teaching Elementary Mathematics: Teachers' Understanding of Fundamental Mathematics in China and the United States


Bruner, Jerome (1986). The Inspiration of Vygotsky (Chapter 5). In Actual Minds, Possible Worlds. Harvard University Press.

Bruner, Jerome (1996). The Culture of Education. Harvard University Press.

Dennett, Daniel. (1978) Brainstorms: Philosophical Essays on Mind and Psychology. Bradford

Dennett, Daniel. (1996) Ch 5. The Creation of Thinking. In: Kinds of Minds: Towards an Understanding of Consciousness. Phoenix

Dobbs, David (2006). How to be a Genius. New Scientist, September 16, 2006

Hofstadter Douglas R (1985). Metamagical Themas: Questing for the Essence of Mind and Pattern. Penguin
#12 Variations on a Theme as the Crux of Creativity
#23 On the Seeming Paradox of Mechanising Creativity
Also #25 and #26? (lost reference?)

Hofstadter Douglas R. Others? eg. (1995) Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought

Minsky, Marvin. (1987) The Society of Mind. Picador.



Geary David C (1995) Reflections of Evolution and Culture in Children's Cognition: Implications for Mathematical Development and Instruction. American Psychologist.

Hempenstall, Kerry (Dec 2011). Using your brain and teach children to learn properly, The Conversation.

Hirsch ED Jnr (1999). The Schools We Need: And Why We Don't Have Them. Anchor Books

Hirsch ED Jnr (2009). The Making of Americans: Democracy and Our Schools. Yale University Press

Kay, Alan. The non universals.

McGee, Kevin. (1992). Play and the Genesis of Middle Manager Agents. MIT

Willingham, Daniel. (2012) When Can you trust the experts? How to tell good science from bad in education Jossey-Bass

B) Causation

C) Behaviourism

Dennett, Daniel. (1978) Brainstorms: Philosophical Essays on Mind and Psychology. Bradford

Dennett, Daniel. (1996) Ch 5. The Creation of Thinking. In: Kinds of Minds: Towards an Understanding of Consciousness. Phoenix

Engelmann, Siegfried (2007). Teaching Needy Kids in our Backward System: 42 Years of Trying. ADI Press

Wheldall, Kevin (1987). The Behaviourist in the Classroom. Routledge.

Wheldall, Kevin (2006). Developments in Educational Psychology: How far have we come in 25 years

D) Swear Words
Hempenstall, K. (1996). The gulf between educational research and policy: The example of Direct Instruction and whole language. Behaviour Change, 13(1), 33-46. See p. 2 for a couple of paragraphs describing the philosopy

E) Young, Damon (2012) Critical Thinking Critical to Teaching.

F) Rebellion

G) Pragmatism

Engelmann, Siegfried and Carnine, Douglas. Could John Stuart Mill Have Saved Our Schools? 2011

Putnam, Hilary. The Collapse of the Fact/Value Dichotomy. 2002

Putnam, Hilary. Reason, Truth and History 1981

Putnam, Hilary. Words and Life 1994

Ryle, Gilbert. The Concept of Mind. 1949


Fleming, John & Kleinhenz, Elizabeth. Towards a Moving School: Developing a professional learning and performance culture. ACER. 2007

Widdowson, Frances and Howard, Albert. Disrobing the Aboriginal Industry: The Deception Behind Indigenous Cultural Preservation. 2008.


Cuban Larry (one of the best critics of computers in schools). Look up.

DiSessa Andrea. Changing Minds: Computers, Learning and Literacy. (2000). MIT

Gee James Paul (2003) What Video Games Have to Teach Us about Learning and Literacy. Palgrave MacMillan.

Papert, Seymour. (1993) The Children's Machine: Rethinking School in the Age of the Computer. Basic Books

Rotherham, Andrew and Willingham, Daniel (2009) 21st Century Skills: The Challenges Ahead.

Version 1: