The entrenched normal in the education culture is roteism instruction. It is the universal, weak, and self-defeating mental basis for engaging subject matter in teacher education, teacher certification, classroom practice at all levels, and in textbooks. After hundreds of years of practice, it continues to define the teaching profession worldwide.
According to Dr. Victor P. Maiorana, roteism instruction engages topics serially without making critical connections within and among them. This denies the natural science of how the human mind innately and informally thinks and learns critically. We know that conventional grammar is the way the mind innately connects and integrates words to form a single complete thought. However, he says, the mind also possesses an innate grammar for multiple thoughts. This natural and informal grammar-of-mind is used to connect and integrate many thoughts to achieve critical comprehension. Just as with conventional grammar, this grammar-of-mind is present innately in all human minds and languages the world over. He calls this mind grammar.
Dr. Maiorana says the conscious mind innately identifies intent, seeks related activities and, when functioning fully, considers consequences. Roteism practice prohibits this naturally critical process. This is because it goes against the grain of how the mind thinks and learns critically. It doesn’t use formal and explicit critical reasoning processes to think, read, listen, write, speak, observe, and compute when engaging new and revisited subject matter. Therefore, roteism instruction inherently kills development of comprehension and critical language-literacy in all learners, teachers, and students. He observes that the human mind is responsible for the intellectual existence of all subject matter. Therefore, it reflects the same “DNA” of intent-activities-consequence. He calls this subject matter universals.
Dr. Maiorana is leading a worldwide effort to minimize roteism instruction. He is the originator of a core body of knowledge for critical instruction pedagogy. The core includes: (1) A common language of instruction. (2) Foundation principles and skills based on mind grammar and subject matter universals. The foundation builds-in comprehension of subject matter in the context of developing critical language-literacy. (3) operational standards for critical instruction and learning.
In a letter published recently in Education Week, he explains why over fifty years and billions of dollars in education reform efforts have failed in both classrooms and textbooks. They continue to be based on roteism instruction. They do not change the ages-old, one-dimensional, and crystallized view of subject matter used to engage new and revisited subject matter.
Dr. Maiorana says abundant evidence shows that roteism instruction does not develop critical reasoning, reading, and writing abilities in teacher educators, in school and college faculty and consequentially, their students. He believes the absence of such abilities exacerbates our social, economic, political, and religious conflicts. It is a major factor working against education equity. It is a real and existing threat to democracies around the world. The lack of critical-language literacy protects dictatorial regimes.
He says information flow started at the speed of sound. In the digital 21st century it now moves at the speed of light. He believes this multiplies greatly accepting opinion-as-fact, dis-information, and hyper-partisanism; all of which roteism instruction is inherently incapable of addressing. Instruction is the essence of the profession. Dr. Maiorana is advancing his critical instruction pedagogy to provide the education culture with a new normal for instructional practice in all its forms.
Kathleen Tobin, in a review of one of his recent books says: “Maiorana argues convincingly…that the nation severely lacks preparation in critical instruction. [This means] the problem is even greater given the current weight assigned to the value of critical thinking [and reading and writing] in our schools [and colleges.]… It has become increasingly important to include critical instruction in the classroom and devise ways to assess [critical language-literacy] among students, Preparation for Critical Instruction is thought provoking and particularly useful for instructors at secondary and post-secondary levels.”