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     SUPRAD: School and University Research and Development Program at the
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Everybody's mountain a program in the recorded series written and produced by Robert Louis Shea on with the author as narrator. I was a citizen taxpayer on a mission behind the black button of contemporary American education. I traveled throughout the United States for six months. I saw schools universities and educational experiments from Boston to Chicago from San Francisco to Miami. I began my journey in the valleys of generalization abstraction and controversy in education. I ended it on mountaintops of educational leadership and imagination. This broadcast is part two of or a part on one of those mountaintops. Superadded. The school and university research and development program of Harvard's Graduate School of Education. Part one dealt with Superbad teen teaching experiment at the Franklin Elementary School in Lexington Massachusetts. The school's 18 teachers are divided into three teams. Each team is collectively responsible for Earl the children in its group the Omega team works
with two hundred forty first fifth and sixth graders. In addition to teachers the team has two senior teachers and a team leader Merrill a colored junior. At a morning conference before school began Mel Carlotta dressed the old negative. Today is a big day and we're actually going to have some representatives from the ivory towers of Harvard come out here and show us how to teach a lesson. They've been encouraging us for a long time to try some new techniques in this large group. Doug is coming out to encourage us to use these spelling machines and I think some of you saw some last year according to his theory these machines can teach a child the core words in about half the time. Dave of course is going to teach a new technique in generalizations in a social studies unit in history books. So we will be able to criticize his lesson also and maybe pick up some new techniques from this graduate schools of education usually are associated with campus elementary schools which often serve as proving grounds for new educational theories.
Harvard assumes that this is a hothouse atmosphere and that affective research can best be carried out in practicing school systems rooted in the social and political life of our educationally autonomous communities. Later that day Douglas porter of the staff of Harvard laboratory for research in instruction met with a class of sixth graders the US make a teen teachers were in the room observing. On each child's desk lay a wooden box like a narrow suitcase with a plastic window on top of each box was a stack of white paper. Now these little boxes you see on your desk. Well they're just about the size of your desktop aren't they. Some people call them spelling machines and other people call them teaching machines but they're really just little self teachers with these little boxes and with the papers that you put in these little boxes you can teach yourself things. The common criticism of self-teaching devices is that they decrease the teachers face to face contact with the student. Deb Berger maintains that the spelling machine
devised by Professor B.F. Skinner of Harvard provides each child with what amounts to a personal tutor. The child slips of paper with a sequence of questions into the machine. When you've got your name written on the paper you push the lever just a little bit until you have the first. Box there that says underlined these words. And that's the question that you're supposed to answer this time. It says underline these words cottage neighbor adventure. So you read what it says there. And why do you read it you underline the words it says when Dick found he had to spend the night alone in the cottage. He felt uneasy. His nearest neighbor lived a mile away. However he decided to look on the experience as an adventure. As soon as you've got those underlined those three words then you can very carefully. Push the lever on the side of your box just far enough so what
you underlined goes into the top window behind the plastic and in the bottom window you'll see the correct dancers are there for the word card it should have been underlined there be the word there that says cottage with an underline under it. And if you underlined all three words you got them all right. You can put a plus mark in the little box off to the right hand side. If you didn't get them all correct you should put a little 0 mark in that box. If you make a mistake when you're using this machine this shows you right away where you made the mistake you see so you can find out it's like having a teacher there to answer your question right away. The spelling machine implements a principle which has a profound effect upon learning. This is the principle of reinforcement and confirmation and immediate feedback essentially which sustains the people's interest and makes him want to go on to the next rewarding experience. A variety of teaching machines are today being used at preschool elementary high school and college levels. The subject matter areas are psychology as well as spelling reading arithmetic grammar
language and physics. After Doug Porter had finished his demonstration lesson and the class of sixth graders at left he sat down with the Omega teachers who had been observing the demonstration you saw the teaching machines this morning is not typical of the best sort of use of these devices under the bus sort of circumstances they could be worked in with the way the rest of the children's day went. For instance the devices could be in a study room situation and any time a child had time he could go up and take the appropriate lesson materials and run them through the machine and teach himself. And as the children did today if they didn't get all the words right he could go back and study the same materials again and I think what you saw today were some children finishing a good bit more quickly than other children. And if you carry this on over a period of weeks at a time you'll find children 10 or 12 or more lessons apart from one another each proceeding in his own individual rate. This could be used generally for all but it probably has some particularly good characteristics for being a remedial teaching device. Confusing the speed of a teacher to be giving all these separate tests and correcting all these papers while the teacher has a
little disk recorder let's say that has a record that says less than 10 which matches the lesson the child has just been through the child is just going to listen to and he goes and takes the disk off the hook puts it in the record player writes a test out takes the test hands it in it can be given to a clerical aide let's say or somebody doesn't have to be the teacher who can score the test. And turn the result over the teacher and the spelling teaching I've seen going on around here particularly there's not any use of the sort of technique at all you're in front of a classroom teacher 30 or 40 or 50 or 60 children and you soon are all looking at what you're doing you say Now close your eyes and say the word to yourself and child says a word to himself and they are all having to work at the same rate and they're not generally knowing immediately the response I made is correct or not. I'm interested in the preparation checking is this more work. No reason why it should increase a teacher workout that could actually decrease it. Many of these children in a remedial group need a lot of fanatic training. It seemed that there was very little of this contained in these sheets.
All the evidence which I've been able to find seems to indicate that phonetic training generally does more damage than good beyond the very simple and regular spelling of words in English that the children generally learn more fanatics when they don't have any fanatics because they're not being told that a sound like ah one a sound like that and so forth. I found that the group of children I had this year who supposedly worked on the spying machines put down my interest but they scrambled up and have no idea which letter goes first. So I began to think that perhaps these machines should not be used for million cases. Well I think before you could really decide whether this is so you should compare these children who are remedial children with the other remedial children who didn't use machines last year. The material that they chose are the children who use these devices learn more present at the conference was hope Daniels or one of the Harvard coordinators of the Franklin team teaching experiment. Hope what was it that you didn't like about the contact or the absence of contact between schools and universities that made you welcome super head.
Of. Primary concern with the feeling that in teaching in schools teachers just had a glimpse of. The ideas that were being taught in universities and so far they had themselves in a rut. At the university level however some of the theory and so forth that were being expanded was impractical for application in the public schools. And this would seem to be a way of blending the two. They've purple Doug Porter's Harvard colleague worked with a combined group of fifth and sixth graders and demonstrating his social studies lesson the same Omega teachers of his. Pagels objective was to suggest in a dramatic manner how critical thinking could be introduced into social studies. The procedure would involve a strong pupil teacher interaction. The class would confront ambiguity vagueness and overgeneralization. In the following accept frequent references are made to words written on the blackboard.
To begin the lesson day papa read on the board. Who discovered America altogether who discovered America. Oh. Christopher what slowness. Anybody disagree. OK. Now. This sentence is a funny sentence I don't like it. I don't like these words. Anybody else doesn't like the sentence. You don't like it. Why not the word to two simple words or two simple OK. Can we change these words Nancy. Yes all right would you give me an example another way of saying for instance Jean. What me and discovered America. Man OK. What man. All right anyway I have another one. Tanya. Explorer what Explorer does same as who. OK. Anybody else. Donald. What Pearson. What Harrison.
Karan What. What Spaniard. Who's got some more. Pat. What human what human. Why are lots of ways of saying who and why ask another one. What Captain. But Captain Robert which adventurer discovered America which adventurous. OK let's go to discovered and we have another word for discovery I like that it was either Andrea found found Karen claimed claimed. Claim. OK that's good. OK Jacki found it. Pat. OK I came upon as a Christmas carol. Robert who who bumped into. What's your name. Steven Kay came to me woke up. To see
who seen America. How about saw me. Yeah that's good. People are very good. All these words you got excellent. OK. About America village United States United States. Your name is. Nancy. That's right. That's what I said Nancy. Our country our country. James the state the state the state. Ok Lois. North America North America. David is going to burst our continent our continent. That's good. Robert who farmed our region our region Rosemary who discovered the country live in the country we live in. Robert who discovered the new world the new world. Good chiles and the new land. Pat. Knowing blood willingly.
Now who knows all about Columbus who can tell me what Columbus did. Peter do you know she's OK to improve the world. He will go around the world will end up in Spain but instead he bunked intron America into America. Yes. And when we landed we know Tanya. I don't think so. Nancy in Planet Earth. Not exactly from its rock part Plymouth Rock it was right at Columbus. I was at the pilgrims. OK good comic stuff I'd like to know. And I don't need to cause what I WANT WHEN I WANT TO KNOW WHAT I WANT. Richmond. San Salvador San Salvador. How many never hear the word San Salvador before. Were you here before. Lewis in a book what the books say about it. I know you don't know. Who
knows about San Salvador. Donald. An island off the coast of North America. Right. Did Columbus go to any other island around here they may know. Carol. America any place else. And I remember Steve he might have gone to Florida my gone to Florida but you know we didn't know. Pat do you want to hear me maybe maybe you went to the moon but what do you know about on the coast of Maine how many think you went in the coast of Maine. Karen but I think you land on the coast of Boston and the coast of Boston. Well Richmond I know that on those three trips to North America the landed somewhere around the Caribbean islands all the time around the tip of Florida. Right on the islands and Florida you know write the history books tell us that Columbus landed on these islands in the Caribbean. Right. San
Salvador which are off the coast of Florida a few hundred miles off. Right OK well let's look at these things we have here was Columbus the first explorer to bump into the USA. Pat No I don't think I don't see. Was he the first man who found us say Alan. No he wasn't. Was he the first person who saw or not America. James. Oh. Was he the first human to come upon our region. DAVID No know. What Columbus Do you understand I thought you said these words were the same. What did he do. Nancy.
He proved that the world was wrong. Oh let's forget about that. Let's just let's just talk about this business about discovering America. They discover America. Well Eric the Red did but I think people forgot about him then made that Columbus discovered it is something like that Columbus didn't discover Merican. Now he didn't Charles. He was the first civilized human that was on it because there were Indians at first and then these are not civilized people they weren't. So the common discover America in a way did in what way. Well the Indians are. Well they were civilized. Well in one camp Columbus came. Well you know. Maureen I think Columbus did discover was he the first person who saw the United States is that true. We said before he went to the Caribbean islands. But if you go to United States even if you had going out of
state who was here before him. India so they must have seen it before Columbus. So I was climbing the first person of the United States you know. Now did Columbus discovered America didn't need. James would you say. Yeah he didn't he just discovered islands off the coast just discovered islands of course the distance is wrong to say Columbus got an American. We say Columbus didn't discover America right. Yes yes so while the books are wrong. That's just what my father told me. Problem Jane. Well the Indians were here and then the raid came. Well you could say he discovered America and then about a hundred years later all the people were saying to Congress that the world is flat so really all he did was prove to the people that the world was so that he discovered America. No he didn't. What about the book say these discover some books so I don't book wrong. Yes Robert. I don't think to
discover because Eric discovered first he discovered it first and he was the first person to see our country. No but he was the first of the Explorer spores. He was the first explorer. How do you know for teachers. Teachers said that Eric was the first explorer to bump into our country a reading from the book from the book but we hear the books also say that Columbus discovered America Which book do you believe. That Peter discovered Greenland. But I don't think that's considered the land was discovered so I think Tom's really did discover he really did discover America. And what I mean by America states. How about the islands off the coast off the coast. Because I consider North America I think.
But did Columbus go the other place except those islands. So this I mean when you discover an island off the coast I mean to discover the whole continent you know well it means they generally pretty pretty much discovered pretty much discovered here so we don't say Columbus got America we say Columbus pretty much discovered better. Yeah I guess still Maureen Columbus was the first one from Spain that discovered the islands. Columbus was the first person from Spain to discover the islands. That's not the same as Columbus discovered America though is it. No. OK Columbus was the first. Spaniard to discover the island San Salvador right. OK well big deal. So what. Is that why we have a holiday because you discover a little island in San Salvador. Whenever this becomes discovered America business Richmond. People thought he was still the Indies. So are the
Spaniards and the people who are most of the Spaniards and the civilized world. Their time which is around the Mediterranean Sea area. Yeah they started the those the Indies and they start to get great riches out of here so they kept on going there. Finally they found the mainland so we give Columbus the credit of finding it but they didn't actually find it. No we actually didn't actually do it. So this statement is false. Yes. Well let me tell you about this. You have to say this is a matter of extreme urgency otherwise we won't go on the. Right. Path. Who am I thinking Marco Polo had some to do a look as I think he was. He was a page before. Let me tell you about this. Very quickly. When you say Columbus discovered America you're saying a lot of things that really aren't true. If you analyze each one of these words you take these words and break them down like we have. Columbus was the first Spaniard to discover San Salvador. Can anybody disagree with that. Not really. But the first name of Columbus discovered America.
Lots of people here have disagreed with it. So what we have to do when we say statements like Columbus discovered America what kind of thing should we think about Nancy child of the Pacific. Right. Try to be more specific what does that mean anyway know what that means to be more specific. Who knows him more strict more strict. OK. Nancy what do you mean by that. More exact more exact. That's good. So what happens when somebody asked you Peter who discovered America what would you say I guess. What would you say Christine. I don't know you don't know. What would you say Marco Polo. Marco Polo. What would you say. I'd say Columbus. You say Columbus. What would you say Nancy. I'd say Columbus discovered America but he really didn't discover America. OK. About Steve up there. What would you say.
You would. Peter you know. Doctor I think you just should just leave it at Columbus. Just leave a club because a stew is too much of a trouble to care for to make you feel. Well the Columbus discovered America. No but really feeling really. Implicit in any proposal for a new method of teaching is a criticism of current methods. Almost inevitably the Omega team teachers who had observed a peple generally assume the defensive position and the Harvard experiment adopted the role of Challenger. What is needed is something to shake these kids up to blast them out of their complacency and their indifference to any concept of critical thinking you saw the reliance upon authority established so well he saw that the kid said that when even though the book may not be right I'd rather listen to the book as it's easier. Why are you implying then that we don't do the shaking up in any other area or that we haven't done it. Yes but I think it's our foremost
objective in our teaching about how you count a look at things are resistant to these ideas this morning. I could have been you as a new person but it seemed to me that they were relaxed enough to speak openly and yet the idea that the book may be wrong seemed not to be an aural notion. No we've thought that quite often in studying early civilizations that some of these facts that we have are merely opinions of people who have come down from century to century and therefore we have to question them. I wonder in a normal classroom situation if you gave the same level of stimulation to them this kind of teasing and so forth whether you wouldn't have a discipline problem on your hands before five minutes had gone by. I think I would suggest that the teacher establish a very secure footing in the class before he begins to use this technique. I hesitate to use it over a long period of time for the simple reason that. The same children I think would continue responding in I think small groups and different kinds of experiences would be vital for those who
don't respond. The point is where do you draw the line and start. Teaching them to think critically. You start by being very careful in what you say even in the first and second grade. Or do you wait until you get to third grade and then. RE teacher make them unlike in something they've already learned. Well I think we should be teaching critical thinking and you should always check on something and accept any fact as a final truth. It seems that you try to keep the children from following Actually your train of thought. They did learn that it was a book said Marco Polo had written that Christopher Columbus had there and I noticed that when they did mention that you had tried to start this immediately and say well let's stick to this particular point. I'm glad this happened. One of the problems in traditional social studies teaching is that kids learn these things as a series of connected unconnected events just wrote and don't really know what to do with it when faced with situation where these things aren't made clear. The fact that Marco Polo has nothing to do with Christopher Columbus probably would have sat down
for this reason I stressed that I felt the response was going on that there were a great many people responding with the fifth grade it seemed to be the smaller children and the brighter children and not the average group. I think this is an area that is so new to most of these kids. That the brighter kids don't necessarily have an advantage over the slower kids who now have a chance to talk about something anomalous equal footing by getting them excited about Columbus discovering America without referring to any conceptual tool as a problem or something bothering them. Then they see that they have you know certain things they have to find out when he's driving it and there's some more motivation here to learn these new concepts not to solve the knotty problem spelling machines and the problem solving approach to the teaching of critical thinking. I'm nearly two items in an abundant pattern of new methods being researched in the schools today. However the research strategy which brings together a university and a practicing school system in close and continuing collaboration is
rare. Francis Keppel dean of Harvard Graduate School of Education is the architect of Superbad made possible by a grant from the fam for the Advancement of education of the Ford Foundation. His presence in the teachers lounge of Franklin was itself an eloquent symbol of his effort to close the gap which has existed since the turn of the century between the ivy covered seats of higher learning in the United States and the nurseries of education in our public school systems. Carol what led you into the team teaching experiment with its corollary opportunities for a search as exemplified by the Doug Porter and a purple demonstrations. I think any graduate school in a university that's dealing with a profession has a responsibility a continuing responsibility to help in any way it can in improving the performance in the actual professional world. Now in practice this means that you have to have a collaboration between the professional school and some unit of the profession. In
this case obviously with the Lexington schools it would be quite impossible for Harvard to make any contribution without the Lexington schools. On the other hand the Lexington schools which have the regular daily in very heavy responsibilities of running the school system cannot have the personnel or the time to conduct development or experimentation. The fund for the Advancement of education can provide the kind of funds which I think are proper to provide at the start of an experimental program in which I not only get the proper to provide from tax money. Therefore it's the combination of the University the school system and a philanthropic agency that is essential at this stage of the development Super-AIDS premises that America's basic educational problems will not be solved by short hastily improvised crash programs reacting sporadically to recurring dramatic crises in national or international affairs. Only a long term program built on fundamental research can give us quality as
well as quantity control. The scholars job is to sculpt the front tiers of knowledge. The teacher's job is to use effectively the knowledge we already have. The public needs to understand that the assimilation of new knowledge into the body educational must proceed with the utmost co-operation of the school and the university arms. And if financial support is the key to a permanent teacher Skyla task force designed to combat educational obsolescence then the public must be prepared to take up its responsibilities where the private philanthropic foundations leave off. Education is your mountain to. The scholars mountain the teachers mountain. Education is everybody's mountain. The recorded series everybody's mountain was written and produced by Robert Louis Shea on for the Educational Television and Radio Center. The programs are distributed by the National Association of educational broadcasters.
The series consultant was Dr. Ernest O MELBY professor of education at Michigan State University and former dean of education at New York University. This is the end E.B. Radio Network.
Everybody's mountain
SUPRAD: School and University Research and Development Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education
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National Association of Educational Broadcasters
National Educational Television and Radio Center
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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The fifth program in this series discusses SUPRAD, the School and University Research and Development Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
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A series on educational leadership and imagination in the United States today.
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Educational change.
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Narrator: Shayon, Robert Lewis
Producer: Shayon, Robert Lewis
Producing Organization: National Association of Educational Broadcasters
Producing Organization: National Educational Television and Radio Center
Writer: Shayon, Robert Lewis
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 59-49-5 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
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Duration: 00:29:30
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Chicago: “Everybody's mountain; SUPRAD: School and University Research and Development Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education ,” University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed July 25, 2024,
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