Dr. John Muma and Dr. Henry Teller, professors in the Department
of Speech and Hearing Sciences at The University of Southern Mississippi,
have produced a book they hope will help change teaching techniques
in deaf education.
Education: Cognitive Socialization proposes to "change the
clinical field on a number of issues that deal with language,"
Muma said. "The Cognitive Socialization Approach is relatively
new in the last decade. This book helps make some major changes
in deaf education and has been well-received. The book challenges
some of the traditional views held about language and cognitive
relates issues about teaching the "pregrammatical" child
and the "grammatical" child. "There is not a distinction
in the field; professionals have been relying on test scores and
we point out recognition of a child's range of skill and repertoire
are important," Muma said, who has been teaching in the field
for the last 30 years, six at Southern Miss. He earned bachelor's
and master's degrees in speech pathology from Central Michigan University
and a Ph.D. from Penn State University. A fellow of the American
Speech-Language-Hearing Association, he has been recognized by the
ASHA President's Council with the Award of Excellence for developing
the Cognitive Socialization Approach.
traditional view is that educators tend to think in terms of grade
or age level," he said. "We point out, again, that the
child's repertoire and acquisition of sequences and active loci
of learning (are vital). We can assess a child and be more precise
in what he's learning at a given time, so our views on assessment
are changing. Assessment and therapy are spontaneous with the new
approach because spontaneous speech and actual social interaction
rather than drill or instruction are more beneficial to the students.
The benefit of the new approach is that children will go home and
do well - it will carry over. Before, they forgot it before they
The new book
is a companion to Muma's 1998 publication, Effective Speech-Language
Pathology: A Cognitive Socialization Approach, a book that many
consider especially important for the field of speech-language pathology
because it is the only book in the field that received laudatory
comments from three of the most important scholars in language acquisition:
Roger Brown of Harvard University; Jerome Bruner of Harvard University,
Oxford University, and New York University; and Katherine Nelson
of New York University. That book identified nearly 40 major substantive
issues that need to be addressed toward upgrading the field, especially
taken this research into his classroom. "What we've taken are
some of Dr. Muma's ideas and applied them to deaf education,"
he said. "The old instructional model is now replaced by active
learning where students can discover and create their own knowledge.
In this constructivist model, students develop their own concepts
and ideas and apply them."
the "three C's of learning" - the concepts of active learning:
Children learn better when they work together to form and use their
own ideas. "Such learning is much more successful," Teller
Is what we teach purposeful? Teller asked. "It makes you look
at what's being taught in the classrooms," he added.
Structured situations where students have options to get the same
information. "It's the concept of active learning," Teller
taken all these concepts - the cognitive social model and constructionism-
and applied them to deaf education," he added, "and that's
what makes this book unique."
education students spend one day a week in the field, which includes
a 100-mile radius of Hattiesburg. "We're now using the book
in my teaching methodology class. The students apply these concepts
rather than the old-school type of instruction that relied mainly
on memorization. We have 23 students in the field in Jackson, Mobile,
the Coast, and in Southeast Louisiana," he said. "This
(teaching style) is new to a lot of teachers (they work with); some
are old-school (who rely on the) instructivistic learning. But once
they do try (this style teaching), they embrace it."
earned a bachelor's degree at the University of West Alabama, a
master's degree from the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, and
an Ed.D. from the University of Alabama, said he has changed his
teaching through his research for this book.
to lecture, but now I give more collaborative assignments,"
he said. "You want to cover the main concepts, but you can
give them options on how they want to pursue it."
(transmission) model is not always the best way. It's easier to
lecture, but 90 percent of what you hear is forgotten a few days