Evidence: How Roteism Defeats Professional Practice


Ages-Old Conventional Roteism Instruction and Learning Defeats Development of Critical Thinking, Reading, and Writing Abilities, and Subverts the Human Mind’s Innate Critical Grammar of the Mind.

The Evidence Among Teacher-Educators, and School and College Faculty

Evidence shows that the inability to engage in critical instruction and learning instruction in the context of engaging new and revisited matter stretches from grade school through graduate school and applies to teacher educators, school and college faculty, and school and college students.

  • Teacher educators and the teachers they train “are in no position to foster critical thinking [or therefore, critical reading and writing], in their students.” (Paul, Elder, and Bartell, 1997, p. 5)
  • Practicing teachers entering doctorate programs in education “are stunned” when told they cannot [write and] read critically. (Labaree, 2004, p. 102).
  • The lack of critical learning and instruction extends to all college faculty (Bok, 2006).

Among School Faculty

  • Teachers score higher on class management tasks and lower on engaging students critically when instructing. Many principals lack skills for instructional coaching. (The Consortium of Chicago Schools Research report, 2011).
  • When evaluating the classroom performance of over 3,000 schoolteachers, the Gates Measures of Effective Teaching Project report found: “Instructional practice is weakest on “achieving content understanding…explicit [thinking] strategy use…making meaning and reasoning” (2012, p. 24-7); and classroom raters “rarely found highly accomplished practices for the competencies often associated with the intent to teacher students higher-order thinking skills” (2012, p. 26).
  • A four-year study of 30 high schools across the country found “We did not find any…single institution that consistently realized deeper learning or all its students” (Mehta & Fine, 2014, p. 1).
  • The National Center for Postsecondary Research states, “Every year, poor academic preparation prevents millions of students nationwide from accessing, achieving in, or completing higher education” (2014, para. 2)

Among High School Students

  • Major reports on the performance of school students have been issued over the years. These include: “A Nation at Risk” (1983); A Nation Prepared: Teachers for the 21st Century (1986); “What Matter Most: Teaching for America’s Future” (1996); “A Test of Leadership: Charting the Future of U.S. Higher Education” (2006); “The Common Core Standards” (2010)”and “NAEP as an Indicator of Students’ Academic Preparation for College” (2014).
  • These reports all provide abundant evidence that after 12 years of schooling, significant numbers of students lack the thinking, reading, writing, and math abilities necessary for success in college and on the job.
  • According to Valdes, Bunch, Snow, Lee and Matos (2005, p. 154), a general reason for this continuing state of affairs is that “at the secondary level, coursework is normally taught by subject matter specialists [with] little formal training in [thinking,] reading and writing . . . and even less formal training in the systematic ways of acquiring such [thinking,] reading and writing skills.”

Among College Students

  • According to research performed and reported on by Arum and Roska (2011), the same lack of critical thinking, reading, and writing skills on the part of students holds true after two years of college and is not likely to change appreciably after four years of college. They focused on the extent to which over 2300 students entering college improved their critical thinking and writing abilities during the first two years of college. They found that “American higher education is characterized by limited or no learning by a large proportion of students” (p. 30).
  • For college students in teacher preparation programs, the work Our Underachieving Colleges—A Candid Look at How Much Students Learn and Why They Should Be Learning More (Bok, 2006) reported that “researchers find that majoring in education is negatively correlated with critical thinking and problem-solving” (p. 301).

For additional evidence discussion and full citations for the referenced material, click here