Baby project; Reading and PCT

[From Bill Powers (951119.1340 MST)]

Frans Plooij (951119.1600) --

Yours is the only research I know about that approaches reorganization
as I would do it: assess the skills before and after and try to see what
has changed. This is very different from assigning a task and then
seeing how long it takes for an organism to do it to your satisfaction.

I've had a chance to see the manuscript of your new book. It is
wonderful. Your partners in PCT have a real treat coming. I hope you get
a lot of volunteers for your Intercultural Baby Project.

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Davild Goldstein (951119.1045) --

     Bill asks in his post: " What were the goal-perceptions in these
     tasks? " The job of the child was to use the letter/sound
     information which was taught and the word building strategy which
     was taught to come up with an approximation of the sound of the
     written word.

That was the teacher's goal-perception. It would be more interesting to
know what the goal-perception was as the child understood it.

     Another Bill question: " If there were errors, how were they
     realted to what the child did next? " If there were errors, the
     teacher would simply give the correct answer in order to reduce
     frustration and keep things moving.

But that doesn't tell us anything about the error experienced by the
child. In fact, if the child gave an answer, it was probably because the
child thought it would correct some error. As you know, in PCT "error"
doesn't mean "mistake": it means a difference between the goal-
perception and the actual perception, from the standpoint of the
behaving system, not an external observer.

     Another Bill question: " Did you try deliberately creating wrong
     analyses or syntheses to see if the children would correct errors?"
     No, that was not part of the reading system being used. After the
     child worked through a word, the error consisted of not
     recognizing the result as a word the child knew and which made
     sense with the sentence/story context.

But then how could you know whether the child had learned to control the
correct perception? The error you're talking about is a perceptual error
in the testers, not in the child.

     The last Bill question for the study: " Did you end up
     understanding how this process was perceived and controlled by the
     children? No, that was not the question which was being asked at
     the time. The two questions were, basically, is Word Analysis and
     Synthesis Skill necessary for learning to read? And, does
     learning to read alter this skill? I would like to study WASS from
     a PCT perspective. That was the purpose of my bringing it up.

OK, so this study _wasn't_ done from the "PCT perspective." If I were
doing this study again, I would begin with Word Analysis and Word
Synthesis, and try to find out what control processes they involve,
without just taking them for granted and going on to find out how they
relate to something else. Start at the beginning, in other words.

     What perceptions do I think are being controlled?

     Use letter sounds, not letter names.
     Notice what your mouth is doing when you say each letter sound.
     Notice what your mouth is doing when you go from one letter sound
     to the next one and do that sequence smoothly.
     Ask yourself: From the story context and the part of the word I
     have said, do I know what the word is?
     If no, continue with getting more information (letter sounds and
     blending) until I recognize the word.

Those seem to be the instructions you would give to the child. But
that's not the question I asked. After you give those instructions, you
have to find out how the child perceived them, and what perceptions, as
a consequence, the _child_ is trying to control. After you tell the
child to use letter sounds, not letter names, the first thing you have
to do is find out what the child perceives as a letter sound as opposed
to a letter name. To do this you can propose sounds or names as the
proper response to a printed letter, and see if the child corrects you
when you use a name instead of a letter. The child may dutifully repeat
"Use letter sounds, not letter names," and still have no idea what
you're talking about. When you see that the child is controlling for the
right thing, you can go on to the next instructions to see how the child
understands them.
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Best to all,

Bill P.