When is Drill and Kill not Drill and Kill??

Posted 22 months ago|28 comments|1,518 views
In Animal Farm, Pigs decide the Truth.
Written by
Virginia Beach, VA
If there is one true cancer in the land of education, according to our Education Establishment, it's the torture known as "drill and kill."

Progressive educators always hated Drill and Kill. It hurts the child, we are told, and is the end of genuine learning.

For the last hundred years, our Education Establishment condemned the direct transmission of knowledge from teacher to student. These elite educators are constantly in a rage that students might be forced to prepare for a test in the traditional sense, that is, they know facts.

And yet, when it helps their agenda, the commissars will turn on a kopeck. Suddenly, 2 + 2 equals 5, or else. George Orwell, in his disquisitions on totalitarianism, explains that when power is the goal, Truth will often be tortured until it submits. 2 + 2, on another day, may equal 3.

Thus, evil Drill and Kill turns out to be the most wonderful perfect answer to your child's literacy needs. Thank you, Big Brother.

There is one essential skill, and it is reading. However, from 1932 to the present, our Education Establishment embraced a defective method called Whole Word. The essence of this method is memorizing words as designs or sight-words. Not a few words but all the words--that was the dogma for 70 years. (Now the modified dogma is that children must start by memorizing 220 high-frequency words, such as see, it, is, was, run, see.)

And how are these words to be memorized? There's only one way. You stare at them, draw them, and name them on flash cards, over and over, until your response is automatic. In short, Drill and Kill of the most drastic sort is the essential ingredient in learning to read, according to Whole Word theory.

So now Drill and Kill is a GOOD thing. In kindergarten and first-grade, and sometimes into second and third grade, kids are drilling and killing their little brains in an attempt to memorize the English language as graphic designs. It's difficult for smarter children, and nearly impossible for average children.

So here we have a total about-face of the most blatant and dishonest kind.
At this point, we might want to stop and marvel at the utter shamelessness of our Education Establishment. They are saying that 2 + 2 equals 5.

Here is a list of words that one might want to savor: obvious, patent, transparent, evident, manifest, unambiguous, open and shut, clear, straightforward, unequivocal, unmistakable. All of these words describe the obvious duplicity and hoax of saying that Drill and Kill is lethal and then, when convenient, saying it's delightful and exactly what kids must do.

The amount of Drill and Kill required to memorize even 100 sight-words is huge. A program now used in some schools aims, in the first year, for only 36 words. If the expert is saying that 36 is a year's work, you know this is a very hard task indeed.

Meanwhile, the relatively modest amount of memorization required to learn American history, biology, etc. is quite doable. It's a good thing, even fun. Children learn a few facts each day and as the weeks and months go by, they become expert. But, as already noted, knowing facts is scorned, so our Education Establishments labels the whole business Drill and Kill, and tries to prejudice the community against it, thereby undercutting most academic progress.

It is unpleasant to contemplate the truth here. Drill and Kill, in the amount required to memorize the English language, is a hopeless project. One can only conclude that the Education Establishment never wanted children to be good readers, just as they didn't want them to know much factual information. So they prescribed, at each point, exactly the medicine that would do the most harm.

Orwell wrote about the ability, among the party elite, to accept contradictory facts. The party member has to show endless enthusiasm for whatever is said to be true. One week they love a country; the next week they hate the same country.

Unfortunately, our public school teachers are conditioned in the same way to hate Drill and Kill, and then to turn around and require Drill and Kill in the teaching of reading. Arguably, teachers are as much the victims of this perversity as students and parents.

But what about the professors at the top, the ruthless elite orchestrating all this turning on a kopeck? Surely they see the huge contradiction. Or are they such good party members that they actually don't realize that they are living in a dishonest, self-contradictory world?


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22 months ago: What's even more fun is the change to the common core. More non-fiction, more rote memorization of facts.

I think those at the top of the dung heap that are making up the rules should have to teach in the manner they have prescribed to those who do teach, if those at the top even know how.
22 months ago: I would think that to retain information you have to have an interest in the subject itself regardless.
Drilling can get you to pass a required test but after that you forget quick unless it is being utilized.
22 months ago: I have said it before and many times else where. Overhaul the whole system and create a center of education. Give the parents the freedom to choose a proper education system over what is being offered now.
22 months ago: We can not afford parental choice. We need a solution that works for everyone. Too many parents see school as "child care" and do not participate in their child's education.

The fact that there is such disparity between the educations received by the wealthy and those living in poverty only strengthens the divide between Americans and further degrades the already dwindling middle class.
22 months ago: Very, very true.
22 months ago: Sure you can, this solution does work for everyone and is easily funded publicly for all levels of students to attend. The key is to offer education and get groups interested in helping provide financial funding in the public domain for it. What you need to do is develop a educational system that actually focuses on teaching with optional content the student can add to their syllabus.

It is very simple and easy to do. As a matter of fact their are educators, private citizens, focus groups, studies and entire course systems already done that focus on education. Over what ever it is that your current system is providing. I am failing to see the problem with getting this done and operational. Well the only problem I seen thus far is your unwillingness to do the work.

Step one: Create a education syllabus that works from existing work already done (it has already been done for you)

Step two: Get a public company going with the purpose to get funds, lots of actors, corporations etc... who love this stuff and want people to have access to education.

Step three: Put out a call to educators who have a vested interest in this kind of work. Shouldn't be hard to find, they wrote your course materials. Also should be easy to find like minded teachers who want to TEACH.

Step four: Their isn't a architect alive who wouldn't want to do the design work for free to have the prestige of such a institute to their work portfolio. we do pro-bono work all the time.

Step five: Build your education system on Teaching. Take a page out of the Romain educators of ancient times. A school isn't its walls or class rooms. It is its teachers, syllabus and students. Focus on what actually matters and get out of this boxed thinking.
22 months ago: What if the parent doesn't care? The only reason many students have any chance at all is because they are required to go to school no matter how the system is at this time. Probably the freedom to choose would go to the priveleged.
I don't think a change in the system will happen for a very long time.
Virginia Beach, VA
22 months ago:
Just for a moment, forget the sociological context. For most of history, schools told children to memorize such things as the multiplication table, the dates of famous events, and poems.

Then came progressive educators; and they said that such memorization was wasteful, harmful to children, and destructive of genuine education. The endpoint of all their nonsense was that children no longer knew anything from memory. Nothing. Nor should they!

And into the middle of this emptiness came Whole Word demanding that children memorize 50,000 sight-words. I'm writing about the paradox, the contradiction, the dishonesty, the sophistry, that lets the so-called educators prohibit all memorization, and then turn around and demand that kids complete a mountain of memorization.
22 months ago: It is completely out of control.
Eugene, OR
22 months ago: Most of the problems with our school system is socioeconomic. Poor families especially with a single parent holding down two minimum wage jobs, do not have the time to read to their kids every night. That is critical. Here are 10 other ways that parents and teachers can help their children with their reading.

Going to year long school sessions would help, because each summer off the poor kids slip behind so by the time kids are in 8th grade they are two grades behind.

Schools in poor areas drag down the overall national scores down but the good schools are still doing pretty good. To bring up national scores we need to concentrate on those schools that are not doing well and give them More funding, better teachers, and better equipment. The way NCLB and Race to the Top is set up is that the schools that perform badly get less funding. Totally backwards!
Here is a good program that reduces program failure by 75%.
22 months ago: Makes very good sense. Not everyone is treated equally in education. It is unreal to think that it could be different by parents making the choice.
Many parents don't even care and themselves are not educated. It's a shame but a very real and distrubing truth. Poverty will always defeat those who can't get out from under.
22 months ago: Not always true sunny. Education isn't limited to the rich, nor is it something you have to pay large sums of money for. All it costs is a person willing to donate time to teach and the cost of a few books as study materials for each course. At the end of the day education is only a guidance of a studied topic at its core. That is it, it is very simple and easy to provide for.
Virginia Beach, VA
22 months ago: I like the drift of this. I often think about all the great schools around the world that are nothing but raggedy tents, some broken benches, an old blackboard, and torn textbooks used for many years by many previous students. But the teachers, and the officials, do everything possible to make sure kids learn.

Talking about money and economic conditions all the time is a cop-out. The real issue is the sincerity of the people in charge. The people in charge of American public schools are not sincere. They are perfectly comfortable with mediocrity, because that's how they get the leveling and collectivism they want.

This may get worse. You'll hear more and more about Social Justice and Fairness as our socialists try to dilute what is left of traditional education. And all the time they do this, they will ask for more money.
22 months ago: A few years back we took on a project in Africa.
No one cared at that time and there was one man pleading for someone to help them. No one would have answered or took on the project or tried to get any help for him. We did help all by ourselves because we cared. It isn't a hard thing to do. Celebrities take big credit for doing things like this, but it takes caring and researching for help.
A few months ago they got their school up, the kids and families are happier, there is water, and because we were able to get the resources for a teacher's house, they now have a qualified government teacher.
The community people were taught how to make the building blocks for the school, so at this time they have learned a significant skill. It is only going to get better from here. We are so proud of this accomplishment and want nothing except to see things get better there which it will.
These kids look for their education, and it is a good one that they are getting.
22 months ago: Maybe America should go back to grass roots and rebuild their system. Starting over might be the best thing to do.
22 months ago: Nethel, it isn't limited to the rich, but the rich are privey to the best education in this country. Most college age kids are drowing in debt. When they get out of school and graduate, the colleges hold on to their degree until all the debt is paid making it hard for them to have a good credit score. Most of these kids will have judgments put on them. Children living in poor areas have trouble with the English language and don't have a clue as to what is available to them. Nobody is willing to help them unless they step up. My daughter sits on the Board of a community to assist children in a poverty area here in the US. The Board made head way improving the quality of education given to them. It will take an overhaul of the system in this country. Kids look to make a few dollars to help their families out before thinking education is important for their future. They give up. Who is going to correct that?
22 months ago: This is all volunteer work.
22 months ago: You are speaking to someone who knows and has been there.
We get involved and get our hands dirty.
We don't make suggestions, we work at it.
We've seen the worse conditions imaginable in Africa. I know what it is to want something done and no where to turn for these people.
With some tenacity and perserverance we are successful.
Teachers are not always for the student and won't show any interests unless they feel their families are somebody. I don't know if I agree with you that they are comfortable with mediocrity. They can't fight the system alone. They need a volunteer board like the one we have to point out the problems and bring in the politicians to take a closer look and make it better for the students.
22 months ago: Why don't you take your skills to an impoverish area and build it up.
You can do it. You'll make yourself very well known.
22 months ago: I plan too once I have my seal, but as much as I want to help the world get with the program I also have my own backyard I have to take care of. My plans are relatively simple:

1. I am going to develop a recycled design theory for temporary/permanent housing that can be constructed from used materials and common materials.

2. I also intend to study the works of tesla to develop power/heating system to make these homes self generating for power and heat.

3. Using these design theories I intend to make them avalable to the public for free and or provide a copy of the plans to those seeking them.

4. Once I have eliminated and redeveloped the community model to make the idea of homelessness a concept of the past I will move outward. There is no excuse in our world for a person to not have a place they can call a home. We have all of this technology and it isn't being used.

5. try and avoid political entanglements like govenership that will eat my time from my important work. Cause some where at some point someone is going to try and put me in charge of something.

Idealistic goals for sure, but we shall see what happens and if I can meet my own expectations for myself. As my girl friend tells me I am going to PO a lot of people before I am done with the stuff I am working on. I am also jerk enough to patent it and create a term of use licensing agreement just in the event some government agency or company gets it in their head to try and assume ownership to try and profit from my work.
22 months ago: Bruce, sunny, education is easy to fix. As I have said, the core of education is simply a guided study of a particular topic. This education format is the original educational system from ancient times. All you have to do is find the educators willing to put in the time. Text reference material is relatively cheap and can be bought second hand though services like abebooks etc...

I know a problem can look insurmountable because you do not know where to start. I am telling you to start at the beginning of education and work your way forward. Education is a two way street... one part is the student making the effort and having a desire to learn. Maybe no even understanding the why it is important. The other half is the guidance and wisdom provided by the educator who leads the students through the materials and explains why. This isn't limited too just math and sciences. It also applies to religious studies, social studies, economics etc...

All forms of education follow this singular path format. Your public system has just set up some road blocks and you need to knock them down. This is why their are recreation centers, churches and other public structures that would more then happily help with it. All you need to do is get on with the work.
22 months ago: it is also ok to toss some credit my way ;)
22 months ago: Ahhhhh. Of course, I give you credit. I'm sorry I'm cooking.
I know you can do it and be proud. You have a wonderful talent.
I know you can make a difference.
22 months ago: You are right about help.
Do you know how many people will turn you down? They jump in when you have things going for you. Even the large organizations and so called philanthropist turn you away.
The person who helped us get the funds for us to file for a charity as the Catholic Arch Bishop in our area. He just knew and had faith that we could do it and do it on our own. I put money out for people because the money in the US can do so much over there because it's value is higher than their money. We give them a Christmas party at the end of the year. Takes just a little and the people come from all over. At this time our good friend who is family to us, has gone to school and found good jobs. We help with the extra where we can.
It really will be the person who has the passion and the care that will get it done.
22 months ago: We need to have idealistic goals. We need to dream and make them a reality.
Take these plans and build on them. I think they are great ideas coming from a special person.
22 months ago: Yes I do Sunny, but the difference is I will have my professional business to fund my other work. Also why I would give the work to the public and agencies who can manufacture the systems. Because of the design constraints I am held to by the Building code, public safety standards and fire code. Anything I design is already held to the most stringent of safety standards and well being of the user.

I just need to show them a functioning system that works, is cost efficient to construct and meets all standards and requirements set down by Architectural Code. basically build a full scale demo unit of each design system with full functions. I learned a lesson from Columbus, once you have done something, everyone else will tell you how easy it was to do and they could have done. But until you proved to them it could be done, it will only be a impossible dream.
22 months ago: Using one business as leverage to get another project up and running is always goo.My Dad did it that way.
Those people you talk about as seeing it as impossible, they don't do much or accomplish much on their own. They will never know what it is.
I wouldn't care about proving anything to anybody. I know what you are going through.
22 months ago: It is going to take a lot of concerned citizens that are willing to give enough time and care enough about education in this country.

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