Changing Stage for Students, Teachers and Schools

By Commons, Michael Lamport | The Behavioral Development Bulletin, Spring 2007 | Go to article overview
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Changing Stage for Students, Teachers and Schools

Commons, Michael Lamport, The Behavioral Development Bulletin

Productivity and therefore income depends on education. But education is suffering world wide. The problems with education are not with the lack of effective pedagogy. It is with the failure of the educational system to use what is known to be extremely effect pedagogy. Here, we present pedagogical ideas that may help educational systems end their poor performance. Two ideas address these pedagogical issues and include two variables that are essential in efforts to improve education including: the actual stages of performance of teaching and learning; and the set of motivational conditions that support increases in the stage of performance to meet task demands. This paper situates the discussion of these variables in the context of a sequence of the minimum behavioral-developmental stages observed in teaching. It supports the benefit of (a) a developmental framework for individualizing instruction and (b) plans for motivating for students, teachers and administrators. Individualized instruction and reinforced successful performances tailored to teachers, students and administrators are two of the general methods introduced. Another is a computerized Reading Teacher based on stacked neural networksh, an approach to a behavior-based flexible artificial intelligence. Attending to individual patterns of development on specific tasks along with the use of reinforcement for immediate performance should make it possible for up to 95% of the children to learn to read.

Periodically, agencies of the federal government issue reports on the state of education in the United States (U.S.). For example, in a report issued by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the following quote appears: "While our younger students are making progress on national assessments and are ahead on some international measures the same can not be said at the high school level", Schneider (2006), NCES Commissioner. "U.S. students compare relatively well in reading literacy when compared to their international peers, but they are outperformed in mathematics and science and our 15-year-old students trail behind many of our competitors in math and science literacy." Despite multiple national efforts undertaken from different perspectives over a number of years, education continues to fail many students. As a result, there is a continual need for new ideas to improve teaching and methods to obtain learning and development. The current paper presents a set of new ideas to achieve these aims.

These ideas address issues in pedagogy alone. Nothing else has been shown to be very important. There are two variables that must be examined in improving education. The first is actual stage of teaching performance and of performances of students, administrators and the like. Discussed below are three aspects of stage of performance: minimum stage demands to be successful at teaching material at a given grade; what is normative now; how computer assisted instruction based on stacked neural networks might solve these problems. The second is the set of motivational conditions that support stage change as the hierarchical complexity of problems demand more complex tasks.

The purpose of this paper then is to present a sequence of minimal behavioral developmental stages at which teaching takes place. It also describes the activities engaged in at that specific stage and presents the pedagogical problems with low-stage teaching. Low-stage teaching is supported by two conditions: (a) there are not enough higher stage teachers in the system and (b) teachers that are at a high enough stage are not receiving the support they need for teaching at the appropriate stage. In Table 1, the minimal observed-stage teaching skills of teachers at that stage are listed. Note that these are not the minimal skills needed to teach successfully but a description of what one typically finds.

Problems and Methods to Ameliorate Them

There are serious problems that may occur at the three lowest stages of teaching.

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