Barak Rosenshine’s 1997 article, The Case for Explicit, Teacher-led, Cognitive Strategy Instruction, is only eight pages long, but it is an excellent companion to the long-standing educational debate around 'progressive' and 'traditional' approaches to teaching. If you read one thing about education before the new term, I would recommend it.
For a start, the paper underlines that this question is not new, providing a snapshot into a version of the argument that took place in the USA at the end of the 20th century. Rosenshine bemoans the (then) fashionable idea of 'learning by discovery' and the belief that skills are “better caught than taught” (Rosenshine, 1997).
But Rosenshine is not a tribalist, and the paper helped me understand the debate between traditional and progressive ideas in a much more nuanced way than I previously had. He splits the question of whether to prioritise the teaching of knowledge or skills from the question of whether lessons should predominantly be teacher- or pupil-led. He focuses primarily on reading comprehension and surveys a range of studies conducted between the 1970s and 1990s, to recommend that the explicit instruction of reading comprehension strategies is a good idea.
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