According to some educationalists, children have the right to an effective education (Barrett et al., 1991) and parents have the right to expect the best education for their children. Children therefore need to be provided from their early life with the best education possible through the best teaching methods available.
For this to happen methods of education must be based on sound, scientific evidence (Carnine, 2000; Kozloff, 2005). Furthermore, teaching practices must follow research proven methods that are based on evidence-based practice and validated and refined through practice-based evidence (Brusling, 2005; Carnine, 2000). Whatever the political debates about whether effective educational practices are regarded as civil rights, clearly there is little argument over whether educational practices should be as effective as possible given the current level of investment and resources within a society.
What is effective education?
According to Barrett et al. (1991) a good instructional system or teacher must fulfil a minimum of three criteria: “(1) It must be effective in helping students learn more rapidly then they would on their own; (2) what students learn must benefit both the individual and society as a whole; (3) it must employ positive rather than coercive or punitive methods.” (pp. 79-80).
This means that if a child who has been failing academically is to catch up with their age-appropriate grade level, they must learn at a faster rate than they had previously been learning (Johnson & Layng, 1994; Johnson & Street, 2004; Skinner, 1984). This is because by definition such children have been showing less than average or sub-optimal learning within the normal environment. Clearly then any failure to make faster gains in learning than the average child typically makes will only result in them falling even further behind. Thus for these children it is vital that a method that can effectively monitor academic gains or losses is put in place. Arguably, if such a method had originally been in place then such academic losses might have been prevented.
In the next blog post I will expand my initial statements and talk about the knowledge-to-practice gap that currently exists; this gap prevents effective practices being readily accepted and used in education (and previously in medicine). I will also begin to talk about methods that can effectively be used to raise educational performance for all children.
Effective Education for Children by Dr Mike Beverley is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Barrett, B. H., Beck, R., Binder, C., Cook, D. A., Engelmann, S., Greer, R. D., . . . Watkins, C. L. (1991). The right to effective education. The Behavior Analyst, 14(1), 79-82.
Brusling, C. (2005). Evidence-based practice in teaching and teacher education: What is it? What is the rationale? What is the criticism? Where to go now? Paper presented at the Professional Development of Teachers in a Lifelong Perspective: Teacher Education, Knowledge Production and Institutional Reform, November, 17-18. 2005., Centre for Higher Education Greater Copenhagen in collaboration with OECD, Copenhagen, November, 17-18. 2005.
Carnine, D. (2000). Why education experts resist effective practices (And what it would take to make education more like medicine). Washington, DC: Thomas. B. Fordham Foundation.
Johnson, K. R., & Layng, T. V. J. (1994). The Morningside model of generative instruction. In R. Gardner, D. M. Sainato, J. O. Cooper, T. E. Heron, W. L. Heward, J. W. Eshleman & T. A. Grossi (Eds.), Behavior Analysis in education: Focus on measurably superior instruction (pp. 173-197). Pacific Grove, California: Brooks/Cole Publishing Company.
Johnson, K. R., & Street, E. M. (2004). The Morningside model of generative instruction: What it means to leave no child behind. Concord, MA: Cambridge Centre for Behavioral Studies.
Kozloff, M. A. (2005). Fads in general education: Fad, fraud, and folly. In J. W. Jacobson, R. M. Foxx & J. A. Mulick (Eds.), Controversial Therapies for Developmental Disabilities (pp. 159-173). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Skinner, B. F. (1984). The shame of American education. American Psychologist, 39(9), 947-954.