'Thanks to DI my child can read': Direct Instruction and the pathologization of Black students.
Halle-Erby, Kyle M.
- Developed in the 1960s by Siegfried Engelmann, a White man without a background in education, Direct Instruction (DI) is a curriculum developed through mostly Black test groups and currently used in elementary and middle schools nationwide. Students in DI classrooms repeat small, skill-determined tasks that eventually make up larger concepts in math and reading. Teachers in DI classrooms read from ... read morescripted lesson plans, based on Engelmann's work from the 1960s, and the classroom is carefully regimented. Students, even in kindergarten, typically sit in individual desks, their posture is monitored and there is little variety among the materials available for the students. Drawing on the history of White-led educational initiatives of the Freedmen's Bureau and the freedmen's aid societies during the Reconstruction and post-Reconstruction eras, I use Critical Race Theory to examine how these reforms pathologized Black people, establishing their race and culture as the source of their hardship. Using the theories of colorblindness (Gotanda, 1991; Haney Lopez, 2007), interest convergence (Bell, 1980) and Whiteness as property (Harris, 1993) I investigate how Direct Instruction follows the pattern of White-led reforms that pathologize Black students, thereby producing White supremacy.read less