Behind “Classic Education: A Learners’ View (ALV) of Choices during Teaching and Learning”


A Learners’ View (ALV) Is Of Choices On The Shortest and Fastest Path to Learning, the Oxygen Of Social Life.

Science is the subject of procedures, technology of capability, and teaching of combining these two with content to form lessons that people learn during instruction. (ALV T-Shirt Wisdom)

Status: Fixed broken links

Last Edited: June 10, 2018

Main Article: FRONT MATTER

Theme: Technical descriptions of the foundations upon which this site rests.

Note: The term Classic Education refers to the historic purpose of education as a social institution for assimilating generations of people into society. It was the original pubic name for this site and for descriptions of A Learners’ View (ALV) of Learning.

CLASSIC EDUCATION: A Learners’ View (ALV) of Choices … started with the assumption that it is useful to know in and out of school what other people have done, how they use what they have done, and the consequences of those actions. The term to know refers to demonstrating that people can perform the same tasks as the most accomplished members of society.

Historically, educators have used this assumption by giving priority to what endures and is common across reports of what the most informed people have accomplished. PreK12 teachers up through the 1970s called this assumption “attitude” and encouraged it openly, directly, and sometimes forcefully among students. Each teacher offered metaphors and similes for operationalizing this attitude.

Today, these same assumptions, sometimes stated, exist as foundations for “new” practices and programs represented through a growing variety of vocabulary and names used among some educators.

Assumed Attitude in Practice

The assumed attitude of learning what others know how to do undergirds descriptions of classic education and of public school. In that sense, teachers have described memory as being in mental drawers where people store something in an organized way.

Teachers said that such organization permits learners to retrieve memories easily for later use. Then these teachers said to practice retrieving and using this organization of memories until each of us could easily recall specifics and use them even when we do not intend to do so.

Some students did better than others with teachers’ second claim that an organized desk is a glimpse into the mental organization of the desk user.

Teachers also asserted that memory allows learners to stand on the shoulders of those who came before us, so we can see further into the future than they could. Generations across the country learned these metaphors, which learners also heard from parents and community members.

This site is a latter day effort to assemble, organize, and store in electronic media what other people know from experimental behavioral and social scientists that people will likely do while learning. It features vocabulary that describes and logic that maps relationships among the results of experimental empirical behavioral and social science research studies.

Non-professional educators, including parents, clergy, and medical staff, implicitly use these results when they monitor and manage instruction that accelerates, increases, and deepens the amount of  learning by others. This approach outlines the use of a sociology of learning without that label or organization.

Learning as Social Activity

This site addresses learning as social activity rather than as an individual process. In the end, what people do rests on observations by others of changes in patterns. At a minimum, that means two or more people, an actor and an observer, participate in those observations. That means observations whether casual or scientific exist as social activity.

Behavioral and social scientists have reported social activity of learning during more than a century of experimental empirical studies. These reports indicate that a common core of technical-scientific information and skills exists for professional educators to use while fulfilling their role to accelerate, increase, and deepen (AID) learning in society.

This core gives priority to replicable, objective, empirically derived facts, such as from reason, mathematics, and scientific method, over alternatives such as folklore as well as political and faith doctrines. It leaves room for, but does not address, the ancient philosophy of life as an image on a supernatural source as described more recently by Talbot (1991) in The Holographic Universe. It discounts descriptions of emotions and the unconscious as interesting, but less managed and less measured parts of learning and social life as summarized, for example, by Brooks (2011) in The Social Animal: The Hidden Source of Love, Character, and Achievement.

Technical-Scientific Literacy of Educators (TSLE)

Learning as social activity implies that professional educators earn technical-scientific literacy (TSLE) from reading and practice during preservice and inservice professional development. TSLE consists of the vocabulary and their relationships that describes what teachers and learners do while learners learn from a lesson.

It’s the vocabulary of scientists and of their experimental research procedures. TSLE grounds in facts the argument that professionals can use this literacy to the advantage of learners with whom they work. It accounts for amounts and rates of learning through lessons given in classrooms as well as learned in other venues. It illustrates how learning links sensory input, problem solving/goal attainment, fitting into normal daily life, and sharing social values that form communities and social institutions.

The emphasis on technical-scientific literacy challenges the capacity of the vocabulary and logic that professionals and journalists have increasingly used during the past 50 years to describe and manage learning and to explain the results of their practices. It challenges the unspoken authorization that educators assume exists to use school children as subjects in a continuously conducted grand experiment. Results from this experiment leave half or more of all students less literate than technically possible.

TSLE calls into question the relative inefficiency and incompleteness of  such practices that use constructionist, deconstructionist, discovery, experiential, humanistic, play, religious, wholistic, and similar education theories in schools, clinics, and therapies. These emphasize symmatry between what educators and clinicians do and lesson content. They do not acknowledge or give priority in lesson plans, instruction, and content to what learners will likely choose to do while learning through those programs.

TSLE based on Cultural Literacy

While writing text for this site, the scope of the original project expanded to include descriptions for  both lay and professionals readers not familiar with this technical research, but who Hirsh (1988) described as culturally literate. He says that 96 percent of literate culture is undisputed territory by social and cultural reformers and that “80 percent … has been in use for more than a hundred years” (p. xiv) providing continuity that permits communication across generations of people.

This literacy serves as a foundation for a technical-scientific literacy of educators (TSLE). This expansion adjusts the site to acknowledge that TSLE rests on cultural literacy.

In this way, the site serves as a reference to help general readers understand articles and issues about learning and education that appear in public discourse. This expansion is for parents, homeschoolers, journalists, and politicians as well as others.

Irrespective of its mass appeal, the expansion does not address what might be called “pop (or popular) culture literacy” or equate or link it with technical or its foundation cultural literacy as Hirsh defined it. Pop culture appears in history with other names, such as community, reserve industrial army, “the people”, and proletariat (by political theorists and politicians), the unwashed, unsaved, and heathen (by religious clergy and poets), as well as markets (by economists and sales people).

By definition, pop culture gives priority to emotions and self expression of the moment rather than to sustaining society. By whatever label, pop culture serves as the source of sensations from which learners identify patterns, including problems (those patterns they choose to change). Pop Culture adapts, adopts, and creates technologies and scientific realities to fulfill its priorities. Thus, TSLE includes pop literacy only tangentially, not directly, including its multiculturalism, and other social movements that have not, perhaps yet, altered the core commonalities of what people do to learn or to continue society.

Social Continuity as an Eductional Standard

From the view of learners (ALV), the conservatism of cultural literacy and of its child named technical-scientific literacy are good for social continuity. They permit people to talk with each other, to share common legacies for personal, family as well as national and global purposes and benefit. They permit educators to expose younger generations to more of what other people have learned about ways to solve problems they have not avoided. They provide standards that alternatives must exceed or provide other reasons to replace.

Cultural and technical-scientific literacy of educators exists as a standard against which people who advocate alternative practices can demonstrate and be judged by the relative utility for the common good of their priorities. Educators who evade this standard reduce the likelihood (chances, probabilities) that learners with whom they work will complete lessons successfully as required, for example, by the common core state standards for school curricula and by major blocks of employers. Put simply, their learners will not understand news reports and discussions beyond opinion sharing. Educators’ evasions leave learners vulnerable to a form of illiteracy resulting from not meeting both of these standards.

Test of Utility

The test of this site is its usefulness for supporting learners to meet or exceed common social and economic standards. Cultural and technical-scientific literacy of educators and of learners are necessary in order to use available tools that accelerate the amount and increase the rate of learning promptly and sometimes dramaticlly. Yet, none of these literacies alone are sufficient for most people to earn a classic education or a living.

Technical-scientific literacy is narrower and deeper in scope and in accumulation than most people manage routinely. Still, it provides reliable predictive accounts of daily life. However, the growing ubiquity of advancing communication technologies give other, still unknown, perhaps false, appearances.

Cultural literacy is too broad and shallow as well as long lasting with only hidden values assumed to connect to contemporary life. Pop culture literacy is shallow, dynamic-frenetic, and short lived with its fashionable glitz of the moment. It appeals to emotions over participating in social institutions beyond entertainment.

Technical-scientific and cultural literacies together open doors to members of society, such as showing someone how to read. These openings permit learners to see how others have solved problems in this and other cultures and times. By contrast, pop culture consumes time and other non-renewable resources of people who act disaffected (at least momentarily while listening to its music), and sometimes alienated, from the greater society in which they live.

To the extent to which this site contributes to accelerating the amount and increasing the rate and depth of learning of people in and out of schools, it will have fulfilled its primary purpose.


  1. Argot Used by Educators
  2. Authority of a Learners’ View (ALV)
  3. Depictions of Learning in Arts and Literaature
  4. Images of Human Learning
  5. Irreverence and Doctrinal Competition
  6. It’s Story Time
  7. Limits of Language
  8. Relevance
  9. Performance Standard for Educators
  10. State-of-the-Art (SOTA)
  11. Technical-Scientific Literacy of Educators (TSLE)

Related Reading

  1. Acknowledgments
  2. Case for a Learners’ View (ALV) of Learning
  3. Preface
  4. Problem
  5. Purpose
  6. Trail to ALV (a Learners’ View) of Learning


My background for this site grew from questions about relationships between learning and social action raised initially by family members and then by scholars and scientists with whom I studied and worked. By the time of this start, our family members had accumulated over 75 years of background with software development, online websites and advancing electronic communications machines, including using, importing, assembling, and selling/distributing parts and personal computers and tablets as well as software to a rapidly emerging international market. Our extended family over three generations also had over 150 years of background teaching and administering mostly public PreK12 schools and another 150 plus years in teaching, research, administration, and trusteeship of public and private higher education and tax exempt human services. In general, their familiarity with the electronic communications industry and human services, including education, left them wishful but skeptical of the capacity of schools and schooling to keep up with the expansion of knowledge and globalization. Classic Education: A Learners’ View (ALV) of Choices during Teaching and Learning addresses that concern.



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Robert Heiny
Robert W. Heiny, Ph.D. is a retired professor, social scientist, and business partner with previous academic appointments as a public school classroom teacher, senior faculty, or senior research member, and administrator. Appointments included at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Peabody College and the Kennedy Center now of Vanderbilt University; and Brandeis University. Dr. Heiny also served as Director of the Montana Center on Disabilities. His peer reviewed contributions to education include publication in [I]The Encyclopedia of Education [/I](1971), and in professional journals and conferences. He served s an expert reviewer of proposals to USOE, and on a team that wrote plans for 12 state-wide and multistate special education and preschools programs. He currently writes user guides for educators and learners as well as columns for [I]TuxReports[/I].com.