ERIC Number: ED329913
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990-Nov
Reference Count: N/A
Visions and Revisions: A Perspective on the Whole Language Controversy.
Gersten, Russell; Dimino, Joseph
Conversations with special educators indicates that many view the whole language approach as, at best, a fad and at worst, an assault on what they know about how to effectively teach students with disabilities. In the current atmosphere of increased interest in collaboration between special and general education to better meet the needs of students with handicaps, anxiety over the whole language movement is particularly intense. Calls for increased collaboration come at a time when philosophies of optimal reading instruction between special and general education are in stark conflict. Both direct instruction and the whole language movement can be distilled into images. Whole language proponents imagine a classroom where students are genuinely interested in all they read or have read to them. Teachers are always experimenting, and their freedom is reflected in the dynamic classroom atmosphere. Direct instruction presents an image of students learning in a highly interactive situation, one in which they experience consistent success and are provided immediate feedback when they encounter problems. The role of the teacher is, in part, to demystify the process of reading. Use of approaches based on the work of cognitive psychologists can be integrated into either instructional framework to address some of the nagging concerns raised about each model. Special educators should consider seriously the issues and criticisms raised by whole language authors. If nothing else, empirical research has enabled reading theorists to move beyond statements of philosophy and toward a serious analysis of what teachers really do with children. (Fifty-four references are attached.) (RS)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Direct Instruction; Reading Theories
Note: Version of a paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Reading Conference (40th, Miami, FL, November 27-December 1, 1990).