Big-ol' ABA misconception #1: ABA is Lovaas Discrete Trial
I think one very common misconception, especially with Oregon Department of Education (ODE) folks, is that ABA is synonymous with discrete trial teaching (Lovaas). ABA is a methodology that can be applied everywhere, with anyone, at any time. It involves noting responses to an instruction while keeping in mind the motivation aspect of the subject's response (something is motivating to the child when it increases the appropriate response when that motivating thing is given to the child). Behaviors are strengthened by positive reinforcement and diminished by non-reinforcement or replacement by something else. It is effective because you constantly monitor the program by collecting objective data and analyzing it - then modify interventions based upon the data.
Big-ol' ABA misconception #2: ABA doesn't work with older kids
Another myth is that ABA only works for certain kids. You can use ABA principles on siblings, employers, parents, etc (see Don't Shoot the Dog).
Big-ol' ABA misconception #3: ABA take away from the child's personality
I'm trying to author some free curriculum for elementary. In doing so, I'm trying not to step on large publishing house toes. But the problem is, it sounds like almost everything can be construed as copyrighted. Some examples:
1. In teaching writing, are phonetic representations copyrighted? For instance, putting the letter "c" and "h" together to teach a child that "ch" is a single sound. Well, that was put out over 30 years ago. So how do authors know where copyright starts and ends?
2. Where do story ideas start and end. If you want to author children stories, will big publishing houses trot out their attorneys if you put out a very short story about a boy who wears glasses and has wizard powers?
3. How about trying to write simple chemistry or earth science experiments for k-3? Are ideas on an a simple experiment copyrighted? I've read somewhere that an idea is common knowledge if you find it in at least 5 published articles or books. How does one know if the idea wasn't stolen?
Oh good Lord! 1/2 a million for a k-5 reading program for the entire school district from Houghton Mifflin. You ought to check out their website on the reading programs they offer: Houghton Mifflin Reading 2008.
Are you looking for a reading program for 2nd graders? Well we have a plethora of stuff to sell to you, I mean, offer you:
I found a series of http://youtube.com video posts by nowthatshockey that show testimony of parents and concerned citizens against constructivist/discovery method math curriculum such as TERC math and Everyday Math. Some of it is very compelling testimony.
In the following video, a series of parents speak out at a local school board meeting against the curriculum, Investigations in Number, Data, & Space (aka TERC):
Olympia, WA is undergoing a math curriculum review. The local paper published these letters from parents, commenting on the school district plans. This is starting to happen in Oregon with a group of parents in Beaverton fighting the curriculum in their city. Please remember, this is a statewide issue, not just a Beaverton city issue. Our state standards AND testing is aligned for non-traditional math curriculum using language and multiple methods of arriving at an answer instead of standard formulas and correct answers.
Story about Olympia planning to use Connected Math LINK
Traverse City, MI - population 14,000+ is fighting a battle in the math wars. The group calls themselves "We All Count" - and they want traditional math courses back. In the early 1990s, TCAPS started phasing out traditional math courses in favor of a reformed math curriculum.
The move drew a slew of complaints from parents who argued that reformed math shortchanged basic skills and left many students needing remedial math classes at the college level:
Saxon Math is unfashionable in the educational bureaucracy. It is structured — even a bit rigid. One lesson leads to the next. Each ends with a list of problems, and all of them demand the right answer. It's so ... linear.
I found out last night that my son, affectionately called the "monkey boy" in the past, had passed his state writing assessment for fourth grade. "Wow," I thought. "That's pretty good." He started reading fluently just last year. I've been working from SRA's (Engelmann) Direct Instruction Reasoning and Writing for a couple of years now. He is just getting up to writing three paragraphs. Funny, the assessment was three paragraphs.
I like the article linked below because it states clearly what someone considers serious issues with the No Child Left Behind federal law (NCLB). Most of it I agree with. Notice the person doesn't blame the parents (although there is blame there) or other things out of the control of the school system.
I'm not sure about the special ed part. I can go with the no sanctions if the students don't make progress with their peers but they bloody hell should be tested against peers to see if they are catching up or actually regressing. At least parents should know. All the "developmentally appropriate" testing can actually mask teaching and curriculum problems and I don't see how that is going to help ALL special ed kids, especially the many that can catch up with their grade appropriate peers.
Firstly, the article brings to light the thoughts of the Montana superintendent:
"I would like to see someone who has the guts to say, 'Let's take one thing. Let's make sure our students can do it before we go on to the next,'" she said.
Basically, the author points to the differences in the two approaches to teaching math.
The reformers, representing the education establishment, believe learning "process" is more important than memorizing core knowledge. They see self-discovery as more important than getting the right answer. For them it's the journey, not the destination.