"So no more reading, writing and arithmetic ? Are they short changing those subjects ?"
"I cover the reading wars in the book as well as the maths and sciences. What I discovered when I got into the research was there was never a dispute on how to properly teach reading, maths or science. There was an understanding that what are called secondary symbol systems - where you`ve got the alphabet that represents the sounds, and then the sounds are what is replicated in print - those secondary symbol systems are like oxygen to the human mind and ignite this ability to imagine different scenarios. You appreciate when you`re being told something that`s not true . So yeah you could say whole language has brought us lower standards because it does get in the way of that ability to think."
"Is this intentional that they are short circuiting critical thinking? Is this being done on purpose ?"
"Yes, and I`ve got those quotes in the book and what`s truly horrifying is that so much of the maths, science, whole language and coding for all interferes with the ability to think. They know that. That`s the whole purpose of what they`re now calling a concept driven education."
"The new science standards all say how they`re just going to teach core disciplinary ideas and what they call cross study concepts and themes. So those ideas become all the knowledge there is and there`s not an emphasis on facts."
"You`ve mentioned before this is a global initiative . So where is this coming from ? Who`s behind it? Who`s doing it?"
"UNESCO is probably the primary pusher globally but so is the OECD . When you hear about all these international assessments - you know like `how`s your country doing ?`- all of those international assessments like PISA and the international comparative assessments of student achievement in mathematics and science, TIMSS, all of them are created to actually drive global education reform in a common direction, with what went on in Scandinavia in the late 50s being the model."
"The guy that set up the learning assessment, Torsten Hussen, he wrote a book called the Learning Society and later the Learning Society Revisited and he laid out the whole purpose of these international assessments. In my book I cover the beginning of PISA which the OECD created. They laid out what they called the definition and selection of competencies and the competencies push is what is going on all over the world, also called 21st century skills. It is being run out of Australia. The assessment and teaching of 21st century skills also brings in Microsoft, Intel, Cisco and then surprisingly the other global push is coming out of the World Bank. They had a meeting in Lima, Peru, a couple of months ago - I think it was in October - and they laid out their plan for the world, both developing countries and developed countries. They will be seeking changed mental models."
"So all of these organisations have been convinced that this is the way to go and who convinced them ? Is there a political agenda here? Is there a specific country where these ideas originated ? "
"I would say the ideas originated in the United States and there are documents that show people from all over the world came to get their graduate degrees in the US where education had a behavioural science focus. A lot of the actual research on these ideas, once they were created, took place in the old Soviet Union and you will see people who are well known professors of this model and when you look into their backgrounds you will discover that they were an exchange student for a famous Soviet psychologist like Alexander Luria or Aleksey Leontyev in the sixties and so, yes, they go back and forth . They will then become a translator into English of these books which were originally written in Russian."
"And so there may have been a cold war going on but there wasn`t a cold war involving the psychiatrists and the behavioural psychologists and the behavioural scientists. They always worked hand in hand throughout the fifties, sixties, going forward. Still do."
"And behavioural science applied to the education of children, I mean is a kind of stimulus response - the way you can kind of get a dog to salivate when the bell rings is this kind of what they`re doing to children ? Are they trying to elicit certain responses from them ?"
"No. What you`re talking about is behaviourism. They`ve got much better. They don`t think behaviourism works very well and so they came up with a hybrid model. It`s what they wanted to do with behaviourism but they understood they needed to get what I just said: to get at those mental models. Going back to what we talked about with reading, maths, science and now coding for all. They understand that the rational mind filled with facts can`t be manipulated through the behavioural sciences in the same way as an education that is grounded in activities, ideas first, and seeing the world through those ideas. So that`s become the point of emphasis. They call it programmed instruction. I tend to call it cybernetics because that`s what it`s grounded in."
"When I talked about the competencies push going on all over the world - a way to shorthand that is that competencies get at what is internalised within an individual`s mind, as well as how it manifests itself in behaviour. And it`s that hybrid that the competencies push is pushing all over the world and again you`d never see it because competencies sounds like one of those dictionary words that you know what it means so you don`t question it."
"But the real thing they`re cultivating is incompetency, isn`t it ?"
"What they`re really cultivating is this sense that either you`re acting unconsciously in which case you`re not really thinking about what you`re doing and what has been cultivated through values, attitudes and beliefs and have become habits of mind. Or if you think you`re planning what you`re doing with your mind the concepts have been inculcated - so you think you`re autonomous. You`re not really autonomous at all which is kind of why I call my blog Invisible Serf`s Collar. You`re being managed but you have no sense you`re being managed."
"So it`s a stealth take-over of a person`s opinions and brain without them really having a say in it. ?"
"Absolutely, and there`s a tremendous amount of neuroscience research going on now . It ties to the White House and it`s called the Brain Initiative and they absolutely lay out the sense to which they are targeting how the brain works in order to see whether these educational ideas have taken root."
"And the children, they don`t read better, they don`t think better, calculate better than the children under the older system of education. Is that it ?"
"That`s absolutely it, and again it`s purposeful. ..When I lay this stuff out a lot of educators say they were never told it was deliberate. They just wondered why nobody in their schools of education ever taught them to teach reading properly, and they all read my stuff and go, that`s it. That explains everything I`m being asked to do in the classroom and I wish more parents knew this. I wish more parents were upset. I would have greater leverage if more parents understood what`s really being pushed in the classroom and why."
See Robin Eubanks` blog
See Robin Eubanks` blog