Important note from the author: The next time you attempt to discuss with a friend or acquaintance a serious issue (such as illegal immigration, the Iraq War, our loss of constitutional rights under the Patriot Act, or the latest Supreme Court Decision doing away with private property rights) and you get that “glazed, blank, mindless, couldn’t care less expression,” refer back to this article which attempts to explain the cause of that glazed expression: Pavlovian/Skinnerian conditioning, be it through operant conditioning programs in the schools, computers at school or at home, the television, radio, music, video games, or plain print media. It is important for Americans to become aware of the effects of conditioning, the brain and soul (conscience) killer, which is silently at work in our society 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year.
If the reader of this article wants to go to what this author considers the crown jewel related to the subject of conditioning, he should read “The Leipzig Connection”, ISBN 0-89739-001-6, by Paolo Lionni, a slim 103- page paperback. (Contact: Delphian Press, 20950 SW Rock Creek Road, Sheridan, Oregon 97378.) Lionni has explained in clear language the difference between education and conditioning. The first few pages of his book are helpful for the purposes of this article. Lionni’s important information taken from Chapter 1, entitled “A New Domain”, follows in much abbreviated form:
Wilhelm Maximilian Wundt, the founder of experimental psychology, was born in 1832 in Neckarau, Germany, graduated as a medical doctor from Heidelberg University in 1856. He worked at Heidelberg for the next seventeen years, ultimately becoming a professor in the field of psychology. Psychology, at that time, meant simply the study (ology) of the soul (psyche), or mind. In 1874, Wundt left Heidelberg to take a position as professor of philosophy at Zurich, stayed there only one year, and then accepted a chair in philosophy at the University of Leipzig where he spent the rest of his academic career. He died in 1920. Wundt was the founder of experimental psychology and the force behind its dissemination throughout the western world. To Wundt, a thing made sense and was worth pursuing if it could be measured, quantified, and scientifically demonstrated. Seeing no way to do this with the human soul, he proposed that psychology concern itself solely with experience. As Wundt put it:
In his Philosophical Studies, which became the official organ of both the new laboratory and the newly redefined “science” of psychology, he stated “The work which I here present to the public is an attempt to mark out a new domain of science.”.. Wundt asserted that man is devoid of spirit and self-determinism (free will, ed) He set out to prove that man is the summation of his experiences, of the stimuli which intrude upon his consciousness and unconsciousness.
From Wundt’s work, it was only a short step to the later redefinition of the meaning of education. Originally, education meant the drawing out of a person’s innate talents and abilities by imparting the knowledge of languages, scientific reasoning, history, literature, rhetoric, etc.—the channels through which those abilities would flourish and serve. To the experimental psychologist, however, education became the process of exposing the student to ‘meaningful’ experiences so as to ensure desired reactions: “…the situation-response formula is adequate to cover learning of any sort, and the really influential factors in learning are readiness of the neurons, sequence in time, belongingness, and satisfying consequences.” (Rudolph Pintner, et al, An Outline of Educational Psychology, 1934, page 79).
Wundt’s thesis laid the philosophical basis for the principles of conditioning later developed by Pavlov (who studied physiology in Leipzig, in 1884, five years after Wundt had inaugurated his laboratory there) and American behavioral psychologists such as Watson and Skinner…”
Public Schools Adopt Soviet Techniques
An AP article “Arizona High School Trades Textbooks for Laptops“, August 15, 2005, opens the door for a long- overdue discussion of the dangers of the Pavlovian/Skinnerian method of instruction also known as mastery learning, outcomes/performance/results-based education, and direct instruction. This programmed learning (stimulus/response/bells + whistles animal training method), has been in use for over thirty years in the nation’s schools, primarily in urban schools and special education classrooms. Now that it has been incorporated into computer software programs, it will replace textbooks as the primary instructional media. As the reader will see from many quotes in this article this type of computer assisted instruction is essential for value and attitude change and for work force training.
The AP article states in part
“Students at Empire High School here started class this year with no textbooks–but it wasn’t because of a funding crisis. Instead, the school issued IBooks–laptop computers by Apple Computer Inc. — to each of its 340 students, becoming one of the first U.S. public schools to shun printed textbooks…Empire High, which opened for the first time this year, was designed specifically to have a textbook-free environment….Schools typically overlay computers onto their instruction ‘like frosting on the cake,’ Baker said. ‘We decided that the real opportunity was to make the laptops the key ingredient of the cake…to truly change the way that schools operated.'”
(Parents and teachers in the State of Maine should be especially interested in Empire High School’s decision to “chuck the textbooks” since Maine was the first state to move towards the computerization of schools, thanks to the aggressive lobbying of the business community and former Governor Angus King. All middle school students in Maine have been provided with Apple computers, over the strenuous objections of many well-informed persons within the education community and in the Maine Legislature. This innovation will soon have extended itself up into Maine’s high schools and down into its elementary schools, if parents and teachers do not mount a major resistance to this radical change in education pedagogy. Fortunately Maine has not yet “chucked the textbooks!” )
The plan to get rid of textbooks and to computerize instruction dates back to at least 1971. The February 22, 1971 Individualized Learning Letter, An Administrator’s Guide to Improve Learning, stresses on its letterhead the need for “Individualized Instruction Methods, Flexible Scheduling, Behavioral Objectives, Study Units, Self-Directed Learning, and Accountability” and states under “Quotes You Can Use”:
“Down With Books. Textbooks not only encourage learning at the wrong level (imparting facts rather than telling how to gather facts, etc.), they also violate an important new concern in American education–individualized instruction……A good start would be to…declare a moratorium on textbook use in all courses.” Dwight D. Allen, Dean of Education, University of Massachusetts, writing on The Decline of the Textbook, Change, Jan.-Feb., 1971.”
The same newsletter advertised “First National Educational Technology Conference, April 5-8, 1971, Americana Hotel, New York City. Conference seminars and workshops will cover curriculum design, use of computers, programmed instruction, simulation, innovation theory, etc.”
Three years later, in 1974, Leon Lessinger, superintendent of schools in Beverly Hills, California and former associate commissioner of education in the U.S. Office of Education, called for the implementation of Skinnerian behavior modification and discussed environmental influence when he said:
“…Would that we had such a system; a system of accountability.” Lessinger went on to recommend “Use of contingency rewards. May make you feel uncomfortable… Does me, but he who shirks this responsibility does a disservice to the children of the United States. Behavior Modification is here. Better for us to master and use wisely. Powerful…powerful…powerful.”
Fast forward eight years to the Annual Meeting of the Council of Chief State School Officers in 1982, during which Dr. Elam Hertzler, Secretary of Education T. H. Bell’s top assistant in the U.S. Department of Education, told the State Superintendents of Instruction:
“One of the elements of an effective school was to monitor, assess, and feedback…As little as 5 percent of a school budget K-12 would be needed over a period of 12 years to enable each student to have his own computer, and this is within our cost range.”
As indicated above, this plan to get rid of textbooks and implement Pavlovian/Skinnerian computerized instruction has been on the drawing board for many years just like everything else in “the deliberate dumbing down” of our schools. This is the education (training) system for “The Brave New World Order”, the system which denies “free will” and will assure that your child no longer receives a traditional academic education, but that he be “trained” with rewards and punishments to be a docile, accepting, non-thinking, atheistic “performer” (robot) in Lenin’s International Socialist System, euphemistically referred to by our controlled media as “democratic socialism” which is being implemented, world region by world region, as I write.
The admission by Empire High School, one of the first schools to implement this textbook-free schooling, allows education researchers who have focused on the dangers of the Skinnerian behaviorist method to finally be listened to. The old saying applies here: “You’ll know it’s true when it happens to you.”
Now that parents will be faced with their children learning exclusively from computers, which are operant conditioning (attitude and value-changing machines), perhaps they will be willing to listen to those teachers and education researchers who have been issuing warnings ever since the early eighties when the Skinner method and the proposed use of computer technology was carved in stone by the Reagan Administration’s Department of Education, commencing with The National Commission on Excellence’s Nation At Risk Report; continuing with its major computer technology initiative, Project BEST: Basic Education Skills Through Technology, The infamous 1984 Utah grant to Professor William Spady to pilot outcomes-based education in Utah and then to “put it in all schools of the nation;” and ultimately with the Bush Administration’s support for Skinnerian Direct Instruction to teach reading.
The No Child Left Behind Act virtually mandated the “scientific research based” Skinner reading method be used in the classrooms of our nation, to the exclusion of other non-behaviorist methods of reading instruction which have successfully taught children to read for over one hundred years.
Siegfried Engelman’s federally-funded “Teaching Your Children to Read in 100 Easy Lessons (SRA’s DISTAR Mastery Reading program) is probably the most extensively used Direct Instruction program in the nation, and is best known for its controversial results in Houston, Texas. It has a teacher training video which instructs teachers on the use of hand signals with children, the same hand signals one uses when training dogs! The Exemplary Center for Reading Instruction (ECRI) a federally-funded to the tune of $848,536 (1966 dollars!) mastery learning/direct instruction program, is the fraternal twin of DISTAR. It has been used extensively across the country since 1966 (its published reports listed its use by 3,000 schools as of 1985!).
According to doctors, teachers, and parents it causes sickness and stress for students and turns teachers into robots. Its pre-training Manual lists the following teacher and resource materials: Adaptation of Birds, Monitoring Forms Before and After Instruction (observation data sheet records), How to Teach Animals by Skinner, How to Teach Animals: A Rat, A Pigeon, A Dog, by Kathleen and Shauna Reid. The late Dr. Jeanette Veatch, internationally known in the field of reading, called the ECRI program “a more modern version of breaking children to the heel of thought control.” She added, “it is so flagrantly dangerous, damaging and destructive I am appalled at its existence.”
The following quotes should help Americans understand the importance of the Pavlovian/Skinnerian method and how the use of computers (Skinner’s Box) has been planned for over fifty years, and how it will affect the education and behavior of their children and of utmost importance, how such education denies free will. Don’t forget it was Professor B.F. Skinner who said:
“I COULD MAKE A PIGEON A HIGH ACHIEVER BY REINFORCING IT ON A PROPER SCHEDULE.” and
“OPERANT CONDITIONING SHAPES BEHAVIOUR AS A SCULPTOR SHAPES A LUMP OF CLAY.”
Also, most frightening and significant, is the following 1984 quote from Dustin Heuston of Utah’s World Institute for Computer-Assisted Teaching (WICAT):
“We’ve been absolutely staggered by realizing the computer has the capability to act as if it were ten of the top psychologists working with one student…You’ve seen the tip of the iceberg. Won’t it be wonderful when the child in the smallest county in the most distant area or in the most confused urban setting can have the equivalent of the finest school in the world on that terminal and no one can get between that child and that curriculum? We have great moments coming in the history of education.”
This comment should come as a shocker to parents who have been battling openly and usually unsuccessfully at school board meetings to have certain controversial textbooks and social engineering programs removed from the schools. At least before, sometimes, parents had access to what their children were learning in school. Dustin Heuston explains that such a privilege will no longer be granted to parents.
And, in case parents don’t really believe that operant conditioning/behavior modification programs, which now will primarily use the computer for reinforcement, are dangerous and are designed to destroy your children’s traditional values, read on:
The late Professor Benjamin Bloom, internationally known behaviorist, father of Pavlovian/Skinnerian mastery learning and outcomes based education, said in his Taxonomy of Educational Objectives:
“The evidence points out convincingly to the fact that age is a factor operating against attempts to effect a complete or thorough-going reorganization of attitudes and values. (Taxonomy, p. 85) The evidence collected thus far suggests that a single hour of classroom activity under certain conditions may bring about a major reorganization in cognitive as well as affective (attitudes, values and beliefs) behaviors.” (Taxonomy, page 88)
Bloom also said the purpose of education was to “change the thoughts, actions and feelings of students” (All Our Children Learning, 1982) and defined good teaching as “challenging the students’ fixed beliefs.” (Taxonomy, page 55)
Additional proof of the computer’s ability to change attitudes is found in “The Role of the Computer in Future Instructional Systems” which was published as the March/April, 1963 supplement of Audiovisual Communication Review [Monograph 2] of the Technological Development Project of the National Education Association [Contract #SAE9073], U..S. Office of Education, Dept. of Health, Education and Welfare.) Excerpts from a chapter entitled “Effortless Learning, Attitude Changing, and Training in Decision-Making” follow:
“Another area of potential development in computer applications is the attitude changing machine. Dr. Bertram Raven in the Psychology Department at the University of California at Los Angeles is in the process of building a computer-based device for changing attitudes. This device will work on the principle that students’ attitudes can be changed effectively by using the Socratic method of asking an appropriate series of leading questions designed to right the balance between appropriate attitudes, and those deemed less acceptable. For instance, after first determining a student’s constellation of attitudes through appropriate testing procedures, the machine would calculate which attitudes are ‘out of phase’ and which of these are amenable to change.
“If the student were opposed to foreign trade, say, and a favorable disposition were sought for, the machine would select an appropriate series of statements and questions organized to right the imbalance in the student’s attitudes. The machine, for instance, would have detected that the student liked President Kennedy and was against the spread of Communism; therefore, the student would be shown that JFK favored foreign trade and that foreign trade to underdeveloped countries helped to arrest the Communist infiltration of these governments. If the student’s attitudes toward Kennedy and against Communism were sufficiently strong, Dr. Raven would hypothesize that a positive change in attitude toward foreign trade would be effectively brought about by showing the student the inconsistency of his views. There is considerable evidence that such techniques do effectively change attitudes.
“Admittedly, training in decision-making skills is a legitimate goal of education in this age of automation, but the problem remains–does the educator know what values to attach to the different outcomes of these decisions?…What about students whose values are out of line with the acceptable values of democratic society? Should they be taught to conform to someone else’s accepted judgment of proper values? Training in decision-making is ultimately compounded with training in value judgment and, as such, becomes a controversial subject that needs to be resolved by educators before the tools can be put to use.”
The operant conditioning method is an animal training method. Since the top behaviorist educators consider man an animal, without a soul, mind, or conscience, it makes sense to them that man be trained, not educated. One can train an animal but one cannot educate an animal. Dogs sit upon command when they know there is a reward (biscuit) for doing so. Since this type of stimulus/response computer education does not transfer (dogs are unable to make connections between different commands), your children will not be able to learn. They will simply respond, as would an animal, to bells and whistles which are nothing but neurological stimuli. Yes, “it works.”
Yes, it is “effective”, since it allows for the precise measurement (behaviorist term) of all your child’s thoughts and behaviors. Yes, it provides for “accountability” (through computerized data collection of your child’s behaviors) to the federal and international government and to UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization). It is not, however, accountable in any way to you, the parent, or to the teacher (now known as a “facilitator” of learning, not a transmitter of knowledge). This method, in conjunction with computers, can be counted on to train and brainwash your children and their teachers to become members of the collective (group), to perform like robots/ animals, lifelong, in the social and career roles identified for them by the multinational corporate and global elite, and to never, ever speak out in opposition to the government for fear of punishment. Yes, it is an invasion of privacy.
How easy it will be for the government schools to maintain records on every aspect of your child’s personality and behavior: his individuality or willingness to conform to the group; his tolerance or lack thereof of any and all lifestyles; his religious beliefs or lack thereof, his global mindedness or lack thereof; his intelligence, his mental health, his sexual proclivities, and to make such information available upon request to any corporation, government or private “snoop” agency without written, informed parental consent. The U.S. Department of Education already collects such information through the mandated National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), but the collection of information will be facilitated when the schools’ administrative offices (central computer data bases) are connected to the content of each individual student’s computer hard drive. (President Bush’s Mental Health Screening Initiative can be easily implemented simply through the computerization of the NAEP) Sixty percent of the test items included in the mandated NAEP, upon which most state assessments are based, are already attitudinal (politically correct)!
The General Agreement between the United States of America and the United Soviet Socialist Republic on Contacts, Exchanges and Cooperation in Scientific, Technical, Educational, Cultural and Other Fields, signed by Presidents Reagan and Gorbachev in 1985, which are still in effect, virtually merged the two countries’ education systems and called for cooperation in furthering this type of Pavlovian computerized education. The agreement signed between the Carnegie Corporation and the Soviet Academy of Science in 1985 was even more specific and resulted in “joint research on the application of computers in early elementary education, focusing especially on the teaching of higher level skills and complex subjects to younger children.” “Higher level skills” is often a euphemism for “critical thinking skills”.
N. Landa “Lenin: On Educating Youth,” published by the state-controlled Novosti Press, quotes Lenin on “thinking” as follows: “To pose a real question means to define a problem which demands a new approach and new research….sometimes accepted truth no longer answers as a solution for a serious and pressing problem. The school should cultivate in pupils the ability to perceive scientifically-evolved truths as stages along the endless road of cognition — not as something stationary and set.” But you, dear parent, will not know how your second grader’s values are being changed (“are evolving on Lenin’s endless road of cognition”) since, as Heuston says above: “you will not be able to get between your child and that [computer] curriculum.”
Not only are your children being conditioned in the Pavlovian/Skinnerian schools of America. Their teachers, who, as stated before, are now known as “facilitators of learning” not as “transmitters of knowledge”, have been even more victimized than your children. The May, 1985 issue of The Effective School report entitled “Principals Expectations as a Motivating Factor in Effective Schools” says the following regarding the conditioning of teachers:
“The principal expects specific behavior from particular teachers which should then translate into achievement by the students of these teachers; because of these varied expectations, the principal behaves differently toward different teachers, i.e., body language, verbal interactions and resource allocations. This treatment also influences the attitudes of the teacher toward the principal and their perception of the future utility of any increased effort toward student achievement. If this treatment is consistent over time, and if the teachers do not resist change, it will shape their behavior and through it the achievement of their students…With time teachers’ behavior, self-concepts of ability, perceptions of future utility, attitude toward the principal, and students’ achievement will conform more and more closely to the behavior originally expected of them.”
Do the above quotes reflect your views and/or what you want for your children? Do the above quotes reflect how good American teachers want to be trained to teach in the Orwellian Classroom of the Future?
Additional most legitimate concerns regarding the computerization of education are addressed in an excellent article entitled “The Computer Delusion” by Todd Oppenheimer which was published in the July 1997 issue of The Atlantic Monthly. Excerpts from that article follow:
Oppenheimer: “Opinions differ in part because research on the brain is still so sketchy, and computers are so new, that the effect of computers on the brain remains a great mystery.”
“I don’t think we know anything about it,” Harry Chugani, a pediatric neurobiologist at Wayne State University, told Oppenheimer. “This very ignorance makes skeptics wary.”
“Nobody knows how kids’ internal wiring works,” Clifford Stohl wrote in Silicon Snake Oil, “but anyone who’s directed away from social interactions has a head start on turning out weird… No computer can teach what a walk through a pine forest feels like. Sensation has no substitute.”
In Silicon Snake Oil Michael Fellows, a computer scientist at the University of Victoria, in British Columbia, says:
“Most schools would probably be better off if they threw their computers into the dumpster.”
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