ERIC Number: ED329906
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Basal Reading Programs and the Deskilling of Teachers: A Critical Examination of the Argument.
Baumann, James F.
It is an understatement to assert that American basal reading programs have come under considerable scrutiny. One of the central criticisms of these programs is that they result in the deskilling of teachers (relinquishing control over the goals, methods, materials, and evaluation of reading instruction to the basal reading materials). A critical analysis of the deskilling hypothesis, however, suggests that there may be seams in its logic and insufficient data to support it. Three questions form the structure for such an analysis: (1) Do the empirical data provide evidence of teacher deskilling? (2) Are examples from basal materials and the descriptions of their development which are used to argue for how they deskill teachers representative of current material or publishing practices? and (3) Is there a possible contradiction in the deskilling hypothesis, and might it not fall prey to its own argument? There have been and remain conceptual and pedagogical limitations in basal reading materials; they never have been nor will they become the best or only way to assist teachers in developing students' literacy abilities. Teachers, however, are independent, thoughtful persons quite capable of making professional judgments about their workplace and the nature of their work, basal readers included. (RS)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Deskilling; Reading Management
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Chicago, IL, April 3-7, 1991).