Engelmann Glossary


  • Affective models: One of the three general approaches to compensatory education used within Project Follow Through. The affective models (Bank Street, Responsive Education, and Open Education) shared the assumption that the best way to improve a child's school performance was to focus upon experiences that fostered higher self-esteem. Proponents of this approach maintain that higher self-esteem energizes learning of basic skills and higher order problem solving. This approach has widespread support within schools of education.
     
  • Basic Skills models: One of three general approaches to compensatory education used within Project Follow Through. The basic skills models (Southwest Labs, Behavior Analysis, and Direct Instruction) shared the assumption that the best way to improve a child's school performance was to focus upon the lower order skills. Proponents of this approach maintain that higher order skills of thinking and problem-solving, and heightened self-esteem, result from mastery of the lower skills. This approach is not popular in most schools of education, but is consistent with specialized instructional methods that have demonstrated dramatic achievement (e.g., Johnson & Layng, 1992).
     
  • Behavioral analysis: The study of the relationship between an individual's behavior and the environmental conditions that affect the behavior. Within Engelmann's system of instruction, a behavioral analysis is used to discover deficiencies in the learner's repertoire of knowledge and skills, and to provide remedial instruction.
     
  • Cognitive models: One of three general approaches to compensatory education used within Project Follow Through. The cognitive models (Parent Education, TEEM, and Cognitively Oriented Curriculum) shared the assumption that the best way to improve a child's school performance was to focus upon the higher order skills of thinking and problem-solving. Proponents of this approach maintain that lower order basic skills and self-esteem follow from the mastery of higher skills. This approach is very popular in most schools of education.
     
  • Direct Instruction: A method of instruction initially developed by Siegfried Engelmann while teaching his own children in the 1960s, and refined and field-tested with thousands of learners. A primary feature setting Direct Instruction apart from most other curriculum packages is that the Direct Instruction curriculum is field-tested with children and modified to ensure effectiveness. The teacher is in face to face contact with the students, often in small groups in a semi-circle. The teacher is in control of the interaction, telling, showing, modeling, demonstrating and prompting rapid active responding of the learners. Teachers follow carefully constructed scripts that have been designed to maximize learning and minimize confusion through faultless instruction. Implementation involves frequent systematic assessment. For example, a teacher is required to ask 300 or more questions each day, and to check to ensure that children are at 100 percent mastery in reading every five or ten lessons (American Federation of Teachers, 1998).
     
  • Empirical: Depending upon observation (experience) via the senses. In behavioral sciences the term is often times contrasted with statements based upon theory or conjecture rather than observations.
     
  • Examples: Within Direct Instruction, examples refer to stimuli that exemplify the quality or qualities of the concept. Examples are often presented by the teacher who accompanies the example with a specific signal that indicates the stimulus is a member of the class of stimuli that have the requisite quality or qualities (Compare with Non-examples.)
     
  • Extrapolation: The process of extending the range of a concept beyond those values that have an empirical base. Within Direct Instruction, the extrapolation process is used to facilitate generalization of a concept or to extend the range of non-examples. For example, if a small change in an example produces a non-example, then by extrapolation, a larger change in the example would also produce a non-example.
     
  • Faultless Communication (Faultless Instruction): A sequence of instruction, frequently involving examples and non-examples in a well-crafted order, which logically leads to an accurate communication of the concept and eliminates the possibility of confusion. The determination of "faultless" is structural rather than behavioral. That is, it is possible to analyze a communication to assess if it is faultless without reference to the behavior of the learner.
     
  • Interpolation: The process of "inserting" between other things. As used within Direct Instruction, interpolation refers to the process, by which a learner might include novel items within the range of previous examples. For example, if the previous examples of a concept ranged in size from 1 meter to 3 meters, we might expect a learner to "interpolate" new items larger than 1 meter and smaller than 3 meters. Compare with extrapolation - when the learner generalizes outside the range of examples.
     
  • Learning Mechanism: The hypothetical construct used metaphorically by Engelmann and Carnine to situate the learning process of the learner. The mechanism is assumed to have two properties: (1) to have the capacity to learn qualities from examples, and (2) to have the capacity to generalize on the basis of sameness of quality. If one prefers to avoid the use of a hypothetical construct, one can substitute "the learner" for "learning mechanism" in Engelmann's writing.
     
  • Logical Analysis: Within Engelmann's system of instruction, a logical analysis refers to the careful and systematic construction of instructional stimuli so that they can communicate without misunderstanding. Logical analysis leads to faultless instruction.
     
  • Non-examples: Within Direct Instruction, non-examples or negative examples refer to stimuli that do not possess the quality or qualities of the concept. Non-examples are often presented by the teacher who accompanies the non-example with a specific signal signal that indicates the stimulus is not a member of the class of stimuli that have the requisite quality or qualities (Compare with Examples.)
     
  • Parsimonious: Requiring relatively fewer or less extreme assumptions. The Law of Parsimony suggests that when one is faced with two competing theories that both explain a phenomenon, that one select the theory that requires the fewest or less extreme assumptions.
     
  • Planned Variation: A methodology used to assess the effects of multiple treatments. In Project Follow Through various models, each a composite of theoretical, curricular and procedural components, were compared in terms of outcomes on selected dependent variables. Since the comparisons were among treatment packages that differ in terms of many independent variables, the design was only able to assess the relative impact of the composite treatments and not the particular components that comprised each model.
     
  • Project Follow Through: A massive program designed to follow through on the gains of Project Head Start, Project Follow Through was a significant part of President Johnson's War on Poverty. According to the Association of American Educators (1998) the project involved approximately 700,000 disadvantaged students living in 170 communities. Parents were offered a variety of educational models from which to select the program for their children. The Office of Education and the Office of Economic Opportunity provided funding. Designed as an experiment using a planned variation design, various approaches and models of teaching children were compared on more than 9,000 Follow Through and 6,500 Non-Follow Through (control) elementary school students. The nine education models evaluated could be divided into three categories: Basic Skills, which focused on teaching basic component cognitive skills; Cognitive, which focused on the child's discovery and construction of higher levels of knowledge; and Affective, which focused on boosting the child's self-esteem as a means to induce achievement.
     
  • Quality: As used by Engelmann, this refers to any irreducible feature of an example. Qualities include all physical properties of stimuli that are capable of being detected by a person.
     
  • Stipulation: The process of specifying by agreement. In Direction Instruction, the term stipulation refers to the situation where a prior sequence of examples "agree" in the sense of being highly similar. Once many highly similar examples of a concept have been presented, there is a tendency for the presentation of a dissimilar item to be labeled as a non-example by the learner.