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    Engelmann on Early Childhood Education

    June 23, 2007 by Brandy Vencel

    I have a deep appreciation for the work of Siegfried Engelmann. There are many faults in his work, most especially his Darwinian view of the child. However, Engelmann’s strong point is that he understands how a child processes information, and therefore why children make the mistakes they do. He helped me see clearly in this area, and also gave me good help in making corrections in an appropriate manner.

    I own Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, but I have only used it as a reference thus far. I consider Give Your Child a Superior Mind his most important work. As I have been contemplating being more intentional with my two-year-old, I find myself rereading parts of this book. Here are some of the gems within its pages:

    The child will not burst into language. His development will be gradual before 2 years and than rather fast {averaging probably better than four new words a day}. He will have a tendency to overgeneralize words. Overgeneralization is necessary to determine the scope of a given concept. It is necessary for testing the limits of the concept. He might want to call all brightly colored things flowers, for instance. Be careful about how you treat overgeneralizations. “Yes, it does look like a flower, doesn’t it? But we call it a scarf.” {pp 102-103}

    When a child learns the name of an animal from real life, he is dealing with an object, and he learns it just as he learns about any other object. When he learns about the animal from a book, however, the task is more abstract. Some primitive people are completely incapable of recognizing a photograph of a familiar person. They can’t see anything because they can’t translate a two-dimensional representation into a three-dimensional object.


    Relate the book object to objects in the world by putting the child in the picture and by taking the object out of the picture and putting it in the room with the child. Be dramatic. “Look at this elephant. If you were standing in this picture, next to this elephant, do you know how big you would be? I’ll mark it with this pencil…There. You wouldn’t even come up to his knee! And do you know how big the elephant would be if we put him in this room? He would be up to the ceiling and he would fill this whole room. His head would be way over there and his tail way over there.” {pp 105-106}

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    1 Comment

  • Reply Diane @ Candid Reflections June 23, 2007 at 9:25 pm

    Hi Brandy, I snuck over to your blog from a comment you left on the True Womanhood blog: “the concept of a daughter as helpmate/helpmeet to her father. Biblically, I only see a wife portrayed as a helpmate. As the wife as my husband, the helpmeet designed specifically for him”. I thought your comment was so correct and insightful…just wanted to drop by for a visit. You have a nice blog here and I would like to return again. Blessings, Diane

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