More on Education
Michele Catalano emailed about my education column with a fascinating story about some educators who were apparently were bored with the very alphabet:
Your TCS column got me thinking and reminded me about my own experience with bored educators and new innovations in teaching methods.Check out the alphabet used for the ITA system, and especially take a look at one of the website's two "success stories" here. How bizarre.
This is not something new. They must have been very bored back in the 60's, because that is when I was taught - for three grades - to learn how to read using the I.T.A. (Initial Teaching Alphabet).
ITA was a phonic-based system with an alphabet all its own.
It was only through the sheer diligence of my mother and my own desire to read and write like a normal person that I came out of third grade with any literacy skills at all. The fact that I was reading on a seventh grade level in fourth grade had nothing to do with ITA and, in fact, had everything to do with my desire to learn like the other kids were learning.
We had to take special ITA books out the library. We could only write in ITA in our classes; all our reports and tests had to be in that form. It was confusing as hell and frustrating to parents who had to learn an entirely new way of writing and reading in order to help their children succeed in school.
I have no idea why I (along with about 10 others classmates) was singled out for this grand experiment, and I never did find out any results of whatever studies were done on those of us who were used in the experiment.