Monday, July 19, 2010

Whole Brain Teaching Founder Chris Biffle Lies About His Qualifications

I got a tip from an anonymous poster that Chris Biffle, the founder of Whole Brain Teaching, lies about his qualifications. Here's the bio from his website:

Chris Biffle is the author of seven books (McGraw-Hill, HarperCollins) on critical thinking, reading and writing. He has received grants from the U.S. Department of Education and served on the Harvard based Perseus Project. In the last 10 years, Chris has established himself as nationally recognized authority on teaching challenging students; he has been lead presenter at over 50 Whole Brain Teaching conferences, attended by 5,000+ educators. Thousands of instructors across the United States and around the world base their teaching methods on his free Whole Brain Teaching ebooks.

The Perseus Project is not based at Harvard. It's run by Tufts University. Tufts University is no slouch; it's a well-known, well-respected institution that most people would be happy to honestly list on their resumé.

Now I'm wondering about the whole bio. If Chris Biffle feels the need to misspell "Tufts" as "Harvard" (oops! typo!), what else is he lying about? Did he really "serve on" the Perseus Project, and if so, what did he do? The Perseus Project generates a lot of low-level data-entry jobs. There's nothing wrong with honest labor, but a Perseus job isn't necessarily a great qualification, either.

And what does it mean when he says "He has received grants from the U.S. Department of Education"? Is he still paying back his student loans? What?

205 comments:

  1. He also teaches at Crafton Hills College. Have you ever heard of it? Didn't think so. Oh, it exists alright, it's a small community college.

    I'm no slave to US News college rankings. But Chris Biffle is not affiliated with a university education department worth its salt. I take everything he says with a grain of salt. Or worse. I just discount it as edu-crap.

    ReplyDelete
  2. J. -- you'll need more than a grain of salt. You'll need the 50-pound sack.

    One of the courses Biffle teaches is Ethics! I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Crafton Hills isn't just any old community college -- it's been put on probation by the accreditation committee.

    There have also been allegations of waste:

    ***
    In his report, Boyle claims the San Bernardino Community College District wasted taxpayer money by sending its administrators to training conferences in Hawaii and Myrtle Beach, S.C.
    ***

    ReplyDelete
  4. Biffle is the aggrandizing prof of hyperbole.

    How did Biffle "establish himself as a nationally recognized authority on teaching challenging teens?" He has no experience teaching challenging teens. He has no experience teaching education. His "authority" seems to come from the claimed number of attendees to his free Whole Brain Teaching conferences.
    It's kind of funny- He called himself an authority and teachers came, then he called himself an authority based on the fact that they came.


    On another topic- I think San Bernardino Valley College (sister school to Crafton Hills) is a great place to start a secondary education on the cheap. I've learned from several masters of their subjects there. I've known Loma Linda University med students studying (special projects course- human anatomy also college Spanish) at Valley. I only had the misfortune of a bad instructor twice.


    Still, claiming Harvard when you're really a community college instructor is like trying to make chicken salad out of chicken shit.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Right, I'm not trying to bash community colleges. Many offer a strong education at an excellent price.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I'm glad you posted that, Anonymous. I thought of that too. I'm not about to bash an honest institution of higher education. My husband has an Ivy League degree with a graduate one from a similar top university, but take me, for example. My education is far more modest, I attended a four year college but it's not Harvard! It had nothing to do with my intelligence. I paid my way through college, working full time some semesters.

    Still, in the last sixteen years, I have amassed a shipload of knowledge on educational philosophy and policy, despite the fact that I did not major in this area. I came to all this as a parent, even though I have taught part time.

    I've had a dream of founding a high school. I'd hate some basher to come along and knock my whole endeavor because I don't have a degree from a brand name college. So much of my education is what I've done since college, reading, discussing, experiencing, and yes, attending conferences.

    But then again, when I launch that dream school, it'll be my philosophy, my ethos. I'm not trying to brainwash an entire generation of teachers, I'm not concocting unproven methods with shoddy research and passing myself off as some guru. If you don't like my school, you don't have to enroll.

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  7. FocusedOnLearning

    Woops! Due diligence kids. The Perseus Projects' founding member institutions are Carnegie Mellon, Xerox, and Harvard University.

    Current American members include University of Chicago, Yale, and Boston University, and Tufts University which hosts the digital library. That means that Tufts only hosts the files. The contributors' works come from all over.

    The work has been going on for more than 20 years. All the initual contributions were made through Harvard U.

    Less than five minutes of searching. Never use wikipedia as your source. Too sparse.

    Five more minutes of looking turned up that the Perseus Project, as you might have thought, is about Greek philosophy history and all.

    It turns out the Biffle dude is a recognized expert on Greek philosophers. He does teach ehtics, and is the chair of the philosophy department. He does have seven books, easy to find on Amazon. One of them is on critical thinking based on the principles of Aristotle, the original crit think guy.

    If you are gonna bash a guy make sure you got your facts straight. Ten minutes of looking for me, and you were wrong on every point. Wow.

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  8. ***
    It turns out the Biffle dude is a recognized expert on Greek philosophers.
    ***

    Oh yeah? Recognized by whom?

    And the philosophy department he's in only has 2 people.

    So do you have any way of finding out what exactly Chris Biffle did for the Perseus project?

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  9. ***
    He does have seven books, easy to find on Amazon.
    ***

    If you look at Biffle's RateMyProfessor evaluations, the books are a major source of complaint. Biffle requires his students to buy his books, and then requires the students to write in them, so they can't be resold.

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  10. ***
    That means that Tufts only hosts the files.
    ***

    "Only hosts the files"? That's what the project is.

    I still cry foul on this one. The Perseus Project has a long history involving several universities. "Harvard based Perseus Project" is
    not a reasonable description, and it looks like the work of someone who is just looking for an excuse to link his name to Harvard.

    ReplyDelete
  11. While we're having this discussion, let's try a little thought experiment. Suppose Chris Biffle really had an important role in the Perseus project. How exactly would that qualify him to design a classroom management strategy for elementary school?

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  12. What kind of guy will stand there and lie even as you have the facts? Perseus isn't Harvard Based, dems da facts. Biffle, if you were Aristole himself, Perseus will still not be Harvard based.
    Don't try pointing the wikipedia finger when anyone can access Perseus from the source.
    Here's lookin at you, Kid.

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  13. I don't know anything about Chris Biffle, except that his teaching method is abominable. But I know well enough not to be overly impressed by anyone's status as an "expert." Example here.

    ReplyDelete
  14. LOL, "The Biffle dude" so reminded my of "The Jimmy" episode from Seinfeld-
    Jimmy's gonna get you, Kramer! Jimmy holds grudges!

    If you aren't Biff, you should step away from the kool-aid because you've sure got his style down.

    And why would it take five minutes to search for Perseus Project? It's the first flippin' hit!

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  15. Hmm ... was that really Biffle? If so, he can tell us what he did for the Perseus project.

    Looking again at the bio, it's interesting to me that the *only* school mentioned is Harvard. Biffle doesn't say what degrees he has, where he has studied, or where he has taught.

    And what exactly were those grants from the US Dept of Ed?

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  16. All right, all right. I seek-ed and was not deceived.

    Biffle served on the Educational Advisory Committee for The Perseus Project at its inception at Harvard.

    "• Christopher Biffle, San Bernadino Valley Community College. Christopher Biffle has
    taught philosophy and Western civilization for over seventeen years. He was principle
    investigator for a successful FIPSE grant that explored new methods of pedagogy, and is
    the author of several books. He is currently in charge of interactive teaching technology at
    San Bernadino Community College, and is negotiating with publishers to distribute
    several HyperCard stacks on which he is currently working"

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  17. Anonymous, do you have a link for that info?

    Biffle "served on an Educational Advisory Committee for the Perseus Project at its inception"? What does that mean? He went to a couple of meetings 20 years ago? Why does that belong in a short-paragraph bio?

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  18. Well maybe not its inception but in the late 80s

    http://repository01.lib.tufts.edu:8080/fedora/get/tufts:PB.001.001.00004/bdef:TuftsPDF/getPDF

    ReplyDelete
  19. OK, now we're getting somewhere. The link you posted goes to a grant proposal that was submitted in 1988.

    The grant writers used Biffle to make the case that the Perseus project could even be useful to community colleges. Basically, their case was that the Perseus project could save people like Biffle a lot of time and energy, because they wouldn't have to make their own HyperCard stacks (yes, it was a long long time ago) as Biffle had done.

    So, does Biffle actually use the Perseus project in his classes today? I'm guessing no, because he has his own text books that he requires the students to use.

    There's a strange little footnote in the paper:

    Gregory Crane and Christopher Biffle (a member of the Educational Advisory Committee) were
    surprised to find that much of their work with HyperCard had proceeded in entirely parallel directions, even though Crane teaches at Harvard and Biffle at San Bernadino Valley Community College. They were particularly struck when Biffle explained a tutorial he had created for helping his students understand Plato's dialogue, the Euthyphro. Biffle had collected sample questions, background material, and detailed commentary to help elucidate difficult passages, but he expressed concern that a professor at a research university might look down upon all such attention to close reading. The focus of
    Biffle's work, however, made a strong impression on Crane: the problems with which Biffle was wrestling in his freshman class were precisely those with which Crane had struggled in a graduate seminar at Harvard. Though their audiences were quite different, both were attacking the same intellectual
    problems.

    "He expressed concern that a professor at a research university might look down upon all such attention to close reading". Wow, that Biffle dude can kiss butt with the best of them.

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  20. I only got two hits for the Biff dude and Perseus. The proposal was the strongest hit, the other hit was an appendix to the proposal. So maybe Biffster did go on to be on the advisory committee during phaseII of the project yet no further records of the Biffy are in the database. Wow indeed.

    The Biffinator isn't in the Perseus database as an author, editor, or contributor.......... that I CAN FIND.

    So I would say it is factually true Biffle While You Work served the Perseus Project. It is also true The Perseus Project is not Harvard based.

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  21. Why would the Biffle dude need to lie these days when he has NCWBT to do it so enthusiastically on his behalf? I say this about Biffle because NCWBT has been telling whoppers for years now and still remains a director according to their website. I take that to be Biffle's tacit condoning and consent to NCWBT continue to lie.

    I read comments on a "whole brain teaching kindergarten video expanded" from NCWBT Jeff Battle claiming the videos are not intended as advertisement. cough, cough,**** Bull!

    "



    NCWBT comments- "...The videos are not intended to advertise the program, and never have been. The videos are intended for teachers to be able to see short examples of what applications of speciifc techniques look like in the classroom.

    These are videos by teachers for teachers with a specific purpose, not some sort of advertising campaign. I have explained this, to you directly as it happens, before."

    Here's the description from Chris Biffle's YouTube video "Whole Brain Teaching Lesson 1"

    - "Got challenging students? Over 8,000 teachers have attended Whole Brain Teaching (Power Teaching) conferences. Learn how to start Whole Brain Teaching tomorrow! Hundreds of pages of free downloads are at: wholebrainteaching.com
    Send questions or comments to Chris Biffle, co-founder of Whole Brain Teachers of America, at
    CBiffle@AOL.com"


    That's an advertisement Jeff Battle, stop lying.


    Of course, I encourage you to watch good ol' lesson 1, wherein Chris Biffle's instruction to teachers is to lie to their students about Whole Brain Teaching.

    Some teachers are so stupid they lie to the parents about power teaching too. Guess what teachers? People do not like being lied to.

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  22. I got a tip from an anonymous poster that Chris Biffle, the founder of Whole Brain Teaching, lies about his qualifications.

    Well I would expect that from any snake oil education fad peddler...I mean, it's 101.

    Now I'm wondering about the whole bio. If Chris Biffle feels the need to misspell "Tufts" as "Harvard" (oops! typo!)

    LOL! I like that,oops! typo! I'll use that next time rather than saying the dog ate my homework. Thanks FedUpMom!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Fed up Mom needs to get a life...don't you have dishes to wash or shopping to do or something useful as a 'Mom"? You don't like the guy...you've made it clear..how about just fucking off then?

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  24. opps!....someone is a little upset and turning blue.... Yeah FedUpMom, stay off your own blog and get back in that kitchen where you belong!/snark

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  25. Wow, hostility and misogyny all in one. Must be my lucky day!

    You're right, I don't like the guy. I think he's a control freak and a charlatan who doesn't know what real education is. His stupid program is surprisingly popular and I fear for the kids who get caught up in it.

    ReplyDelete
  26. From California Mom

    Chris Biffle is making money on his "grass roots reform movement" But I bet the anonymous poster isn't. Biffle's cult doesn't yet make money, they just get his little "attaboys" and "Director" or "intern" titles. Meanwhile students suffer the effects of "Whole Brain Teaching" Look at SOAR Charter Academy test scores for third grade 2010- Why did children's scores plummet 34% points in one year? I'll tell you why! I saw it happen. Bad teaching practices, AKA "Whole Brain Teaching."


    Instead of great discussions and explanations of curriculum these kids got hand flapping and aping, over and over again.

    Chris Biffle tells teachers to lie to students about Whole Brain Teaching. If he so easily rationalizes lying in that context, what makes you think he hasn't lied to you, Anonymous, as well?

    Now, I'll go mop or shop. (I'm a mutha too)

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  27. Here's how one student rated Chris Biffle on RateMyProfessor-
    "This professor is 100% busywork. Ridiculous hand gestures and yelling make you feel like a preschooler. Reading every night and insane amount of writing in the textbook wont let you re-sell it. Quiz everyday but they are easy. Better hope you aren't a favorite to be called on because you will be embarrassed. Easy class but way too much busywork."



    I have seen in elementary class the behavior management method known as "scoreboard." Its coercive, group punishment/reward and makes scapegoats out of individual children.

    I'd like to thank you FedUpMom for using your blog to expose these hucksters.
    For me, It's scary. A Whole Brain Teacher can read my opinion tonight and have my child at his mercy tomorrow. I mean, since Whole Brain Teachers openly advocate entire class punishing single children, what will they do to a child who's parent has criticized them?
    May this terrible method never make it to your neck of the woods.

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  28. ***
    Chris Biffle is making money on his "grass roots reform movement"
    ***

    The question of money is very important. On the WBT website, which is down today, there's a link showing that they're hiring people to go out and give WBT seminars. They promise a good hourly wage (I forget the exact wording -- I'll look it up when the site is back.) Where does the money come from? I'm guessing it comes out of the "development" budget of the school system. Your tax dollars at work!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Okay, the site is back up. Here's what it says:

    Whole Brain Teaching trainers are in high demand around the U.S.

    Typical assignments are for one day presentations and include all travel expenses and a generous hourly salary.

    It's here:

    Whole Brain Teaching Jobs!

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  30. For my sins, I went back and watched the Biffle's Lesson 1 in Power Teaching (Power Tripping would be a better title!).

    Biffle himself uses constant gestures and boy are they distracting and annoying. Then, he is just unbearably long-winded. He repeats the simplest point so many times.

    One of my many objections to WBT is the high overhead it requires. That is, the time and energy that go into just learning the WBT system, repeating the rules, and learning the gestures are so enormous that there's not much time and energy left over for actual curriculum. And making kids "perform" constantly means they don't get a chance to think an independent thought.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kids perform to help in the memorization process. Not all kids *need* to perform, but it benefits all none-the-less.

      When I studied for tests, as a child, it always helped to repeat out loud, draw pictures, and pretend I was actually teaching what I needed to learn. I think it's wonderful that whole brain teachers try to implement these methods with their teaching. Learning comes in many forms. Not everyone can listen to something once and capture it.

      As long as a child performs, a child is involved. This sounds better to me than a kid swimming around in his daydreams for most of the class.

      Furthermore, I advocate "repeating the rules" every day. Believe me, there is no room for *curriculum* at all, if the class isn't in order. Kids need to be reminded of the expectations daily, especially for the scoreboard.

      Some Parents complain about this and about that, and about everything.It's in their nature. But at the end of the day, all that matters is that the class was quiet and controlled so the teacher could teach and the students could learn.

      Delete
    2. Is fedUpMom a teacher or a parent? Does she KNOW how to teach kids or just research Chris Biffle? Instead of bashing Biffle and his methods, why not take what works and use it. Understanding how the brain works and learns can really help teachers be more effective. Does FedUpMom understand how the brain works? Would a teacher actually use WBT everyday all day long? Instead of bashing Biffle and his ideas, try them out and see what works and what doesn't. Ask yourself why it works. You become the expert through experience.

      Delete
    3. WBT is based very loosely on misinterpreted understanding of neuroscience. It is not whole brain and it is not science. The method may produce short term results which is all that anyone needs these days (their desperation to find some way of getting those scores up) but it does little over the long term and is probably not worth the energy. It's snake oil and no school should be thinking of this as anything but to borrow a bit of technique as a classroom management strategy to be used on occasion or with certain groups. Until the data are in no practice should be widely encouraged or foisted on others. I'm using foisted in the intended sense of the word. Biffle couldn't come up with any real neuroscience to back his claims. Whole brain is what he wants you to think. But thinking people know better - he's a charlatan. Will remain such until real neuroscience and long term results can support his claims. If he hasn't got those in hand then he is making some bold claims.

      Delete
  31. On one of Whole Brain Teaching "Webinars" Chris Biffle and Ross M. Hopple Assistant Principal Donegal Springs Elementary Donegal School District and also Pennsylvania Director Power Teaching, answer a question, ... "What do you tell a parent who's learned the whole class pointed at the child and yelled?" (that's what Guff Counter is) to which Ross Hopple replies, "I'd tell the parent, We must provide education to all our students and your child was interrupting student learning." (paraphrasing from memory)

    Ross Hopple doesn't know or doesn't care about group psychology or how far people will go in obeying authority figures. He also doesn't care what the effects of shame are on individual's mental health and effects shame has on ability to learn. I'll give you a hint, Ross! It's bad. It's real, real bad.

    Your kid "interrupted learning for all" could be as little offense as a spontaneous sigh as opposed to a teacher directed "groan." So the right thing to do according to Ross Hopple was to have all the class point and yell at her.

    Ross Hopple, is a degenerate bully, who's hooked up with a bunch of other bullies.

    Btw- Their Whole Brain Teaching webinars are yet another little way to suck money out of school districts- They'll offer certificates for attending which a teacher can call proof of professional development. Disgusting.

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  32. ***
    They'll offer certificates for attending which a teacher can call proof of professional development.
    ***

    Now we're getting somewhere -- proof of professional development means the teacher can qualify for a raise, right?

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  33. I don't know if the certificate idea has come to fruition yet. Chris Biffle's Tweeted this message back on or about July, 2010-
    "Whole Brain Teaching
    Okay. We need lots of advice on this one. To address our financial problems, what do you think of 1 hour webinars on each of WBT's many topics for $5 per presentation? We could also offer a certificate of completion for each webinar to be used for professional development credit. Please tell us what you think!"

    And yes, teachers everywhere these days do all kinds of professional development as a job requirement and do get pay raises.

    Biffle, Rekstad, and even the rocket surgeon Jeff Battle, have been paid from school districts for conferences and workshops. And yes teachers have been paid to attend. Incredibly, yes it counts as "professional development."

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  34. Yet another Hole Brain DirectorSeptember 5, 2010 at 12:03 AM

    Here's an addy to $125 p/ticket $200 for group ticket event where Chris Biffle gave a keynote speech
    “The Whole Brain Paradigm Shift:
    Teaching the K–12 State Standards!”
    http://www.tbsconference.net/PBS_Training_Conference_Flyer.pdf Because, you know, when Texas teachers want an expert on children, primary education and Texas state standards, who better to get than a community college philosophy professor from Yucaipa California?

    Bananas!

    ReplyDelete
  35. I just wondered, how may of you have tried his methods? From the way most of you talk, I know it is not many. Maybe you should try them. I don't care whether he graduated from Harvard or a made up school. Fact is he does know what he is talking about and has developed amazing teaching strategies and allows the child to think outside of the box. I have found it to be (outside of ABA) the most effective method of presentation. Thank you for sharing your information or lack there of. Do people just try to cause problems on the internet or what? I also love the way you got someone to read this. You falsely presented yourself on the google search as being for power teaching. Then on here I find that you are shooting down one of the creaters. You talk about him lying. You are liberalism at its best and that does not say much. Feel free to e-mail when you have actual statistical information that can be backed. mjcamps@aol.com. Have a wonderful day, my thoughts are with you!

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  36. Hey, FedUpMom, I have to say: Jenni's comment made my morning. You are liberalism at its best! You falsely presented yourself on a Google search! You're shooting down one of the "creaters"! You have no statistical information that can be backed! You just cause problems on the internet!

    With friends like that, poor Biffle doesn't need any enemies like you.

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  37. ***
    You falsely presented yourself on the google search as being for power teaching.
    ***

    For the record, I have never said I was "for power teaching." I have no idea what Jenni is referring to.

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  38. ***
    Thank you for sharing your information or lack there of
    ***

    Hey, you're welcome, Jenni.

    We live in a democracy and we have freedom of speech. That means that if I come across a teaching method (really a classroom management method) which I find appalling and inhumane, I have the right to say so on my education blog. I can start a discussion, I can state my point of view. As the internet goes, I'm actually quite civil and polite.

    Jenni, if you have an opposing point of view, you can also state it. Go ahead. Tell me what's so wonderful about Whole Brain Teaching. How and when exactly do kids get a chance to "think outside the box", as you claim?

    ***
    I don't care whether he graduated from Harvard or a made up school.
    ***

    I don't know where Biffle graduated from. Biffle trumpets his extremely tenuous connection to a project that was briefly affiliated with Harvard, among other universities, while neglecting to state what degrees he holds and where he earned them. This leads me to suppose that his actual earned degrees are not too impressive.

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  39. Dear Fed Up Mom,


    Please allow me to address- I was researching how to improve by WBM by searching for Chris Biffle via internet. I came across your site. The description led me to believe that you had written an article about the positive effect of WBM.

    Coalition for Kid-Friendly Schools: Whole Brain Teaching Founder ...
    Jul 19, 2010 ... I got a tip from an anonymous poster that Chris Biffle, the founder of Whole ... Chris Biffle is the author of seven books (McGraw-Hill, ...
    kidfriendlyschools.blogspot.com/.../whole-brain-teaching-founder-chris.html - Cached


    To be exact. Now tell me where you implied you disagree with his methods? Tell me where your site description is?

    Maybe this tells you what point I came from. Is it you belief that you can not imply a lie? A lie is any false hood. This can be from not presenting information accurately or by leaving out details such is used in our judicial system today.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Dear Fed Up Mom,

    Yes we do live in a democracy, as you have stated. And we do have a wonderful thing called freedom of speech where many can share information no matter what their cradentials may be.

    May I ask, how and why you find his teaching methods inhumane or apalling?

    I do not consider myself impolite or uncivil. I base my information on my using the methods and statistical data including the assistance at one school where power teaching was one of the changes they made that helped the school from being taken by the state.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Dear Fed Up Mom,

    Sorry I am writing this in three posts but I was affraid I could not get it in with the maximum word allowance.

    I am a mother of an 8 yr old autistic child who comes from a family that has a lot of nuerological disorders such as ADHD and ADD. My son functions in a mainstream classroom with little help. Children I have tutored have improved their grades from D's to B's with this method. May I also share that I work seven days a week and due to time restraints I may have between one hour and two hours a day to work with other kids. I am currently in school for my associates. I have a 3.9 GPA. I have a ten year plan to receive my PhD in Educational Leadership. I am a researchaholic. This will give you a background about me so you may be better informed on making your decision on how you take my information.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Jenni -- I was flippant in my earlier comment because it didn't seem like you were making any serious attempt to engage with FedUpMom's objections to "Whole-Brian Teaching." That's true of your subsequent comments as well, not to mention that they're a little hard to understand and weirdly accusatory. (Do you understand that FedUpMom does not control what words pop up when you Google something?)

    I'm sure that if you really wanted to argue with FedUpMom's points, you'd find an audience here. But you need to understand them first. As I understand it, FedUpMom has thinks it is wrong to treat kids the way WBT treats them, *regardless* of whether it raises their scores or grades. She may also doubt that raising their scores/grades is a meaningful enough indicator of real education to make it worth engaging in those practices.

    Neither of those questions is an empirical one; they are value judgments. You can argue with them and disagree with them, but you can't prove them wrong. (If research proved that beating the kids caused them to behave better or get better grades, would you be in favor it?) I hope that, if you're getting an education Ph.D., you will be able to recognize the distinction between an empirical question and a value judgment.

    Browse this site a while and I think you will find that much of the discussion focuses on the values that should underlie educational policy. Given those values, it's pretty easy to see why FedUpMom objects to WBT. If you want a more complete articulation of those sorts of values, I'd suggest you read "The Schools Our Kids Deserve," by Alfie Kohn. If you're taking ten years to get a Ph.D. in education, you can tolerate reading one book that might rub you the wrong way, just to see the argument. And it's filled with footnotes to lots of empirical studies, to boot!

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  43. Dear Fed Up Mom,

    Now that you know more about me. Let me share my opinion of Power Teaching.

    REASONS TO USE!
    1. excites children and gains their interest
    2. keeps children focused and entertained
    3. does not allow time for negative behaviors
    that hender class flow
    4. children become less stimming and more
    motivating to themselves and other children
    5. increases teamwork as well as competition
    in an equal playing field
    6. allows the teacher to keep control in a non
    threatening way
    7. provides structure at the same time that it
    provides independence

    MAIN BENNEFIT

    A child becomes enthusiastic and wants to learn more than what is in books due to the critical thinking that takes place. They maintain their body language due to using over expression daily. They are able to communicate with fewer words more thoroughly due to time restraints and verbal delivery.

    How does it increase critical thinking or thinking outside the box?

    A child that maintains using body gestures as well as verbalization at the same time, is using both sides of their brain. Using the left side of the brain at the same time as the right is a balancing act. This balancing act speeds up memmory and critical thinking process. With this reaction the child is able to have creative thinking also known as "Thinking outside the box"


    You seem to be more worried about affiliates than accomplishment. Whether it was a brief program associated with a well known establishment makes no difference. Many people laugh at joke at inventors. New things are scary to most all people. This creates negativity. The earliest inventors were not college educated and Harvard did not exist. Are we to say that good ideas and new ground breaking technology can only come from an expensive college education? What about the autistics in the world who improved the computer and calculator?

    Since when does a degree tell us we can or can not educate children. PARENTS ARE THE FIRST AND PRIMARY TEACHERS FOR CHILDREN. YOU DON'T GET THAT IN THE FORM OF A DEGREE.

    Thank you for allowing me to express myself.

    Jenni

    ReplyDelete
  44. Dear Chris,

    It is my belief that the most important value our schools, teachers, parents, and students should have is enthusiasm for education.

    Our schools should have the right to implement this value while being able to maintain the classroom behaviors. This is done with power teaching.

    It is also my belief that the new NCLB program is a waste of time and energy. My reason for this is simply, What good does it do to make teachers and schools and teachers accountable for grade scores without given them new innovative tools in which they can improve these.

    We, on here, also seem to be hard on the financial end also. This program cost money to bring to different places in the US. Could you afford to teach it without a price?

    As with any good program, it can be misused. This can cause a bullying effect. But using it properly will promote teamwork and positive competition.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Sorry, I posted teachers twice.

    Also let me point out that Fed Up Mom. Does have control over how it is viewed on google. You have to pay for "Public View". You choose the descriptions. I know how that works.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Jenni, good heavens. As Chris says, I'm not responsible for how Google puts its excerpts together. Actually, I'm thrilled that this site shows up on the first page of a Google search for Chris Biffle.

    Chris, I agree with what you said. My objection to WBT is that is not OK to treat human beings this way, where everything they say and do is scripted, down to the gesture. It's a value judgement. Even if you could show that WBT increases standardized test scores, which, by the way, has not been shown, I would be opposed to it. Just as Chris says, it might be true that beating kids causes them to have higher test scores, but it's still not OK.

    Jenni, you say that WBT is a good thing because it "does not allow time for negative behaviors
    that hender class flow" (by the way, it's "hinder"). That is precisely one of my objections to WBT. It doesn't allow time, or energy, or mental space, for many behaviors that are vital to real learning. There's no allowance for true discussion of ideas. There's no space for a kid to say he doesn't agree, or ask the teacher a question, or think an independent thought inside his head. There's no allowance for a kid who only needed to hear the information once; she still has to hear everything repeated at least three times.

    To the extent that WBT "works", it causes kids to memorize bits of data, by sheer repetition. First the teacher says it in a "microlecture", then half the kids repeat it while the other half listens, then the listening half repeats it while the speaking half listens. That's 3 repetitions right there. I notice that Biffle himself is extremely repetitive when he speaks.

    Memorizing bits of data is only a small part of learning. It may be necessary to memorize some things, but it is equally necessary to think, argue, discuss, and make choices and decisions.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Jenni, I haven't paid a dime to Google, and I never specified what would show up in a search.

    Google's paid ads show up under the label "Sponsored Links".

    ReplyDelete
  48. Yes I realized I had spelt hinder incorrectly. But I do not agree that it uses simple repeat as its focus. That is not the center at all. The center of this method is working both sides of the brain at the same time. That is why they use heavy gestures. Also, it DOES allow for disagreements and explanations. It encourages the child to use their own words in peer to peer relations. Moreover it allows the child to be more confident when speaking and demonstrating. It is very valueble in any classroom. When one believes it does not allow individuality amongst students, I know they have not tested the program in depth themselves. Otherwise they would see the boost of self confindence. This confidence in my child's case was crucial for his adult life. He is one of only 4% expected to make it in society without instructional help as an adult. When we get there. I hope the founders are around for me to thank them :)

    ReplyDelete
  49. Californian For TruthinessSeptember 24, 2010 at 9:33 AM

    jenni, I'll try to be polite as possible. Your ideas about left brain /right brain are just plain wrong. Whole Brain Teachers Of America's claims about the human brain are idiotic. Your definition of critical thinking is also wrong, it has nothing to do with brain structures or gesturing. You are a poor "researchaholic" and are in need of rehab if you rely hucksters for your information on the human brain. Go to experts for a change.
    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/answer-sheet/daniel-willingham/willingham-the-leftright-brain.html

    I have personal experience with this dismal system and have seen children, the "oddballs" especially, being scapegoated. jenni, if you read this you can never say you weren't warned. I am warning you- The teacher knows how she/he wants the scoreboard to go- then uses the students as an excuse for awarding/taking points. The majority of young students I have seen have not figured out the game is rigged and eagerly blame "the outsider" for losing class points. And the teachers I have seen, are fine with that- they have really enjoyed the power of being able to turn their students into a "burn the witch" mob. Children (some more than others) need teachers to set good examples and facilitate/ foster good relationships within the classroom community.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Truthiness, thanks for finding that article. I'll post it here as a real link:

    Left/Right Brain Theory is Bunk

    If you read around on the Whole Brain site, it's clear that compliance is the entire goal (no surprise there.) They're perfectly happy to shame and humiliate the "oddball" student who doesn't want to conform. It's pretty much a recipe for serious mental health problems like anxiety and depression for the oddball, and guilt feelings for the oddball's friends who get roped into shaming him.

    The scoreboard deal is a bad idea in so many ways. Teachers and students should be on the same side, not antagonists. This would really bother a sensitive kid who wants to live in a world that makes sense (that's both of my kids, for a start.) Also, notice that the teacher becomes the only individual person in the room. The kids are just a mob -- doing the same thing at the same time, being scored the same way.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For the oddball student who doesn't want to conform, is it possible he wants to BE AN ABUSIVE DISRUPTOR INSTEAD??? GREAT!!!!! If kids don't like being pointed out, shut up and listen. It's that easy. It's called BULLYING the BULLIER and anyone who has ever been bullied will JUST lOVE WBT. Amen.

      Delete
    2. Children need to be socially educated not to bully, I do it everyday in an urban montessori school. I never want to control, and the misbehaved child needs to learn how to behave differently.

      My children are encouraged to think, work, and collaborate. They also learn conflict resolution.

      This scares me! Thank goodness for charter schools. I dont have a teacher desk, or punitive punishments.

      Delete
  51. "You seem to be more worried about affiliates than accomplishment."

    No, just pointing out Chris Biffle exaggerated his accomplishments to such a degree one might fairly judge him to be lying.
    Just pointing out- Chris Biffle calls himself "a nationally recognized authority on teaching challenging teens" though factually, he has never taught challenging teens. His two other co-founders, Reckstad (remember Chris Rekstad? He's the one in the video having special ed. kids on their knees begging him) and Vanderfin are the actual elementary school teachers. Since they've been at it for over a decade now, and since Chris Biffle vehemently claims how their methods increase children's understanding, learning, reading skills - Where are all the success stories from or about the students? Where are the success stories from the schools wherein these two fine chaps teach?


    Nowhere.
    Nowhere.
    Nowhere. Vanderfin has even been demoted (by my reckoning) recently.




    -----------------------------------


    What about the autistics in the world who improved the computer and calculator?


    Yeah, so? If the improvements are real, great. If not, don't expect the me to think, "Oh maybe they really are good; it's just that I'm fearful of new things."

    See, I can tell shit from Shinola. One is for polishing shoes, the other is what Chris Biffle calls "Whole Brain Teaching."

    ReplyDelete
  52. Truthfullness,



    Just to share, the scoreboad and extra/dextra are used for positive reinforcement. When used correctly they resemble nothing of a punishment tool. Have you used whole brain method? I am guessing if you had, you used it to bully children to prove it wrong, rather than use it correctly.

    Now to discuss those failing schools that use it. They simply use it incorrectly. It has saved the closure or charterizing of at least one school in Chicago. I have seen the children that I work with grades raise an average 15 points. I have also seen it increase reading speed from a 78 to an 82. Let's try this again. Have you tried it? If not your not an authority and have absolutely no knowledge on it. If you have tried it look back at what you did wrong and try correcting it then decide.

    ReplyDelete
  53. Jenni, teachers are not the only people with a stake in this. Schooling is supposed to benefit kids. Parents see the effect school has on their kids and advocate for their child's best interests.

    If teachers love WBT, but the students are anxious, depressed, and stressed out, and the parents are concerned for their kids' welfare, then it's not a good system. I'm guessing that "Truthiness" is a parent who is not happy about the WBT that's being used at her/his school. The parent's perspective is just as important as yours.

    ReplyDelete
  54. Californian For TruthinessSeptember 25, 2010 at 4:32 PM

    jenni, your condescension is greatly appreciated.
    I am a parent. While others seemed to have no problem understanding let me restate it for you, I do have direct experience. I've never bullied a child using Whole Brain Teaching method. Very strange way to try to accuse the accuser, btw. I have seen teachers using it "correctly" and students blaming each other for group punishment. .


    Whole Brain Teachers using made up euphemisms do not change the perception, reality or consequences. "Dextra Credit" means punishment for the students. I know Chris Biffle likes to say, "In Whole Brain Teaching, We never punish, we practice." But the truth is- Scoreboard is all carrot/stick, group punishment-group reward for mindless compliance. And! And, fosters ill-will towards the oddballs who become convenient scapegoats.

    jenni, please, do tell me the name of your Chicago School and I'll check it out.

    Interesting argument though, "If it failed, it was done incorrectly," considering even the creators of this junk are draped in phail IMHO. (Also the opinion of state test scores and many Rate My Professor students who actually hated Biffle's Intro to Simon Says class.)

    ReplyDelete
  55. Fed Up Mom,

    First of all, I am NOT a teacher YET. I am a parent who is motivated by my child's needs to persue interest in various teaching styles for use at home as well as branching out into tutoring nights. So yes my oppinion does matter because I do speak from a parent end. The parent end is just one who is heavily involved in the school system. Just to say NO I DO NOT CHARGE FEES FOR TUTORING SESSION. It is a mission to improve not only test score but children's look on school and education.

    I would also like to point out that left brain right brain is not garbage. It is developed from the theory of multiple intelegences which is taught to all teachers entering the teaching field. It is also commonly used with seizure, stroke, and autistic patients. It is used to promote not only speech but analogical thinking as well. It is a component of ABA which is widely used with patients with PDD, which makes up one out of 99 currently in our schools.

    Once again truth if you have not tried it, you are not an authority on it. When used correctly it is very effective and motivating. I use it and have had great success. The kids love it and they want to learn. I combine it with other teaching methods being that my philosophy on education is both teacher centered and student centered. When you have tried the different methods, then you can speak to me standing on informed ground. Right now the both of you are speaking from what you have read and sound much like those who say ABA is nothing more than training a dog. Well all I can say is tell me that when you start using it with your six year old and they finall are able to say the word mom, drink, tired, hurt, ball, play, go, sit, mine, or the three words I love you. The reason I bring up ABA is there are some parts of each wbm and aba that are shared. Let me guess, you don't know anything about it either right? The problem with the internet is someone who is interested in this method will not try it based on the information you provided, which could have cost their child finally having a tool that would positively affect their educational experience. But instead they will be listening to someone who has never used it and will become discouraged based on lack of information. What a sad world it is, when poor information is given. Where are your statistics, other than disgruntled teenagers who rated his instruction. Oh by the way, noticed you did not include the scores of those who did find his method effective. By the way, been to the site and there were plenty of them, but thank you for sharing all the same

    ReplyDelete
  56. FedUpMom, Awhile back you offered to allow me to "Guest Blog," I'd like to share something I hope your readers will find interesting. If you click on my name you'll find it. "POV on WBT"

    Thank You.

    ReplyDelete
  57. Suburban Chicken Farmer, just to help out with Vanderfin and his demotion; the truth is that he left WBT earlier this year. From what I understand, he was against a lot of things going on with the group; from charging for their conferences (but telling people that everything was free) to what WBT had become. Instead of being a true movement, where everyone had a say, it turned into Chris Biffle doing things HIS way. A teacher that works with me said that Vanderfin started a new group called “The Positive Engagement Project” and they are non profit group trying to get engagement activities to teachers and students for free. I googled it and found www.pepnonprofit.org It looks like they want to be faceless and nameless, their email is pepreps@yahoo.com, not someone’s name like WBT. The about us section on the website is a complete 180 from WBT’s and there appears to be some slight suggestions how they feel about Whole Brain Teaching. Here is an exerpt: PEPnonprofit sets high standards for its conduct; no one person is more important than the cause. Even the motto on the page seems to be a call out; “Making a difference….not a dollar!” I love it.

    ReplyDelete
  58. I'm sorry for my wrong comment about Jay Vanderfin.

    I wish him and his students the best. I hope he's discarding the heavy handed group coercion elements of Whole Brain Teaching from his teaching repertoire.

    I don't know what dealing with Biffle is like on "partnership basis," but on his website forum, his "webinars," his youtube videos, he's consistently Napoleonic.

    ReplyDelete
  59. Suburban Chicken FarmerOctober 22, 2010 at 5:18 PM

    You know what though? Whole Brain Teachers present itself as being owned by the Chris Biffle, Chris Reckstad, and Jay Vanderfin. Does Jay Vanderfin hold one third interest in the company or not?
    The consulting contract with Gilroy Unified School district is only with Chris Biffle for $7,000. ($2,500 p/session plus $2,000 for expenses, Gilroy is a six hour drive from Yucaipa.)

    I wonder if Gilroy attendees will be charged 10 bucks a head too!

    ReplyDelete
  60. My understanding is that he, and others, left Whole Brain Teaching because of the misleading statements, omission of truths, and the fact that they were becoming a business, but still claimed to be a "grassroots educational reform movement." Although it is true that he did help form some of the strategies, it seems pretty clear that he wasn't happy with what whole brain teaching had become and the ego/image that is now associated with it.

    Also, I received a couple of emails from WBT promoting their HUGE workshops coming up for just 9.95....I guess Biffle must have forgotten about his deal with GOD and how he'd never make a dime off of this (I heard it a number of times at workshops that I attened). I guess in Biffle's mind the deal must still be on, because my guess is that he's making thousands of dollars and no dimes are involved.

    ReplyDelete
  61. Hello, I am a former student of Mr. Biffle.

    I was doing a Google search of him, just to see what he was up to, and I found this page.

    Likely you'll all just dismiss me. That's fine. But my 2 cents...

    Chris Biffle was the best professor I ever had. He is largely responsible for getting me out of a destructive life of drugs. His methods totally re-engaged me in academics. If not for Biffle, I don't even know if I'd would have gone on to a four-year university.

    Clearly anyone can say anything here on these forums. But the truth is he helps people. In my case alot. That has to mean something to you?

    Regards,
    Chris Campbell

    ReplyDelete
  62. @Chris Campbell, that's very nice, but it's not relevant to the question of whether Whole Brain Teaching is a good idea for public elementary schools.

    ReplyDelete
  63. Hey, his entire teaching practice has been attacked here. I just wanted to express that it actually worked for me.

    Peace,
    Chris Campbell

    ReplyDelete
  64. @Chris Campbell -- Chris Biffle, and Whole Brain Teaching, provoke very strong reactions.

    I've never seen anyone watch one of the WBT videos and say "Oh, I guess it's alright". Usually, people either feel that it's the greatest thing since sliced bread, or that it's the Hitler Youth plus hand-flapping. I'm in the latter group.

    Anecdotally, it seems that the pro-WBT group contains a lot of teachers, and the anti-WBT group contains a lot of parents.

    ReplyDelete
  65. @FedUpMom -- I hadn't really thought about Biffle's methods being divisive... I guess you're right.

    I don't mean to hijack this thread. Please just indulge a little bit...

    I'm wondering if there's a way to disagree with him without being mad? Words like "Hitler" seem strong for a good guy who's just trying to reach kids, however flawed it may be.

    I do know he is a reasonable person. Maybe you could address your concerns to him? I bet he'd love the feedback, even if negative. Probably wouldn't respond to anger though.

    Kind regards,
    Chris Campbell

    ReplyDelete
  66. @Chris Campbell -- you may think the Biffster is a reasonable person who loves feedback, but that's not the impression I get. What I see is a control freak who doesn't understand key concepts like "dissent" and "debate". On his own web page, which is populated only by people who love WBT, he insists that every comment must end with a positive message! Controlling much?

    ReplyDelete
  67. Chris Biffle has gone through his youtube ads and removed critical comments from parents, teachers, and other college professors.
    So much for Campbell's belief in Biffle "loving feedback."

    ReplyDelete
  68. Anonymous -- you're right! I checked on the infamous kindergarten video and all my comments have been deleted. All the responses from NCWBTeacher are still there.

    Yeah, there's a guy who's interested in feedback, I don't think.

    ReplyDelete
  69. So I went back to the youtube site and tried to post a comment -- and I've been blocked from posting! Son of a ...

    ReplyDelete
  70. Well when I mean feedback I mean consultation and intelligent debate.

    Now, I didn't see any of the negative comments on YouTube, but if they were anything like this blog (calling him Hitler and such) then why shouldn't he remove them?

    When I was his student I remember many times going to his office and raising serious dissent about some children's software of his I was testing. We both enjoyed the dispassionate argument.

    So what is the goal here? Just to talk shit? I mean that's fine. But we're concerned about the welfare of our children. If you disagree with him, then do so intelligently. I'm sure you have great points. But there's no way he or anyone will listen if it's just name-calling.

    If, truly, you have voiced dispassionate criticism to him, and he has still blown you off, then I accept I am wrong. So be it! :)

    ReplyDelete
  71. @Chris Campbell -- the comments I posted to youtube were completely polite. There was absolutely no valid reason to delete them. I said things like, "how would a child ask the teacher a question?" I have never received a serious reply to that.

    I would add that I have never called Chris Biffle Hitler. I said that Whole Brain Teaching looks like the Hitler Youth plus hand-flapping, which is not the same thing.

    ReplyDelete
  72. Californian For TruthinessDecember 31, 2010 at 8:13 PM

    Unbelievable!

    "Chris Campbell said...

    Well when I mean feedback I mean consultation and intelligent debate.

    Now, I didn't see any of the negative comments on YouTube, but if they were anything like this blog (calling him Hitler and such) then why shouldn't he remove them?

    When I was his student I remember many times going to his office and raising serious dissent about some children's software of his I was testing. We both enjoyed the dispassionate argument.

    So what is the goal here? Just to talk shit? I mean that's fine. But we're concerned about the welfare of our children. If you disagree with him, then do so intelligently. I'm sure you have great points. But there's no way he or anyone will listen if it's just name-calling.

    If, truly, you have voiced dispassionate criticism to him, and he has still blown you off, then I accept I am wrong. So be it! :)
    December 15, 2010 4:33 PM "

    Chris Campbell, Please, What class were you taking from Biffle when you were testing software for him? Was it an ethics class? And how did he pay you for your work?

    ReplyDelete
  73. Suburban Chicken FarmerJanuary 1, 2011 at 8:25 PM

    The Kim Jong Il of Yucaipa.



    Demands to be called "Dear Leader... I mean, "Dear Teacher."
    Mythologizes himself as being appointed by God.
    Insulates himself from scrutiny.
    Profits off of others (sometimes coerced) free labor. (apparently, Dear Teacher is above the law.)

    Forbids free speech and thought crimes.
    Is paid from government funds.
    --------------------

    ReplyDelete
  74. The thing about Whole Brain Teaching that kills me is how much this guy’s name is on everything. It seems to me like the other two guys don’t do anything other than do what they’re told. Mr. Biffle is a smart guy though; he got a couple of elementary sheep, I mean people, to go along with what ever he says and he gets to say his ideas work all the way from elementary to college.

    ReplyDelete
  75. @ "Californian For Truthiness":

    Believable!

    I was taking an introduction to philosophy class. I tested software for him on the side. I was paid nothing, purely volunteer.

    Again, to me he was totally reasonable and open to negative feedback. I guess your mileage has varied...

    ReplyDelete
  76. Californian for TruthinessJanuary 7, 2011 at 2:23 PM

    Chris Campbell, It seems in your attempt at defending your mentor, you're unaware that Chris Biffle was directly breaking conduct code. Code which is included in every faculty handbook, I daresay at every college, and certainly at Crafton, as I have read it. It is simple, clear and explicit, instructors are not to exploit students ever.

    That means, he's not to have you or any other student, mow his lawn, or drive him around town, or go on protest marches or bring him coffee or require you admire the cut of his jib, or test his power teaching software.

    Surely, you can appreciate why this code of conduct exists, and why professors should abide by it. Do you believe Biffle should not be bound by ethics codes?

    ReplyDelete
  77. Truthiness, great point.

    It's mind-boggling that the Biffler teaches ethics. He does seem to gather a lot of adoring unpaid interns.

    Follow the money! We know Biffle signed a $7,000 contract with Eliot Elementary School in Gilroy, CA. I'd like to know what else is going on in this "grass-roots movement" ...

    ReplyDelete
  78. "Follow the money! We know Biffle signed a $7,000 contract with Eliot Elementary School in Gilroy, CA. I'd like to know what else is going on in this "grass-roots movement" ..."

    Interesting, because from their site I read this:

    All of our seminars and downloads are free. Whole Brain Teaching is a movement, not a business.

    and

    Want a groovy way to fill your professional development requirement, for only $4.95 per web seminar?

    Seems like one of the two statesments have to be off because they can't both be true, can they?

    It's almost like they're laughing at us. We'll say one thing and do the other and we still have people showing up. Just be honest and call yourself consultants like everyone else and stop the "movement" angle.

    ReplyDelete
  79. Anonymous, how right you are. I just published a new post about it.

    ReplyDelete
  80. I saw this and had to post it. The following is from the man himself.

    Okay, my dear Wibbeteers! You've been waiting for it! Our email boxes have been jammed with requests for it! What will be the FIRST EVER Valentines WBT contest? And what, oh what, will be the prize?????

    Sometime betweeen now and the end of Valentine's week (Feb. 18), give a student in your class a timer set to five minutes. Ask her to make a tally mark every time you use "Teach-Okay" during a five minute burst of instruction. Excellent use of WBT would be a score of 10 or more "Teach-Okays" ... at least one every 30 seconds. Post the results of your experiment here with a description of your lesson ... and conclude with your best, most endearing and original student responses when you give your kids the sentence frame, "I love WBT because _______."

    What does the winner get?

    I'll call you, yes call you!, and give you AN ADVANCE SNEAK PREVIEW OF OUR MOST EXCITING GAME YET ... GENIUS BUILDING!!! You know how in muscle building we build muscles? Well, in Genius Building, we build GENUSES!

    I wish I could get a phone call!

    ReplyDelete
  81. Wow, a phone call! I'm hoping this is a joke. Why on Earth would anyone teach like this? A "Teach-Okay" every 30 seconds; where is the process time for actual learning? And the "I love WBT because" line? Shouldn't it say, "Tell me how great I am. I need more validation." If this is what good teaching has become, I need to find something else to do.

    ReplyDelete
  82. I only just noticed that the grand prize is ... a phone call from the Biffler! Narcissist much?

    ReplyDelete
  83. Californian for TruthinessFebruary 16, 2011 at 4:01 PM

    Just think Slim Jimmy, After a rousing thirty second lesson your class can have a Hole Brain Owner/Operator, Genuses Builder Chris Biffle patented "1 second party!" We know the very definition of fun for students from elementary school to college, is shouting "woo!" on command. With all that extra time, you and your class can repeat the Whole Brain Rules forty more times or enjoy a five second movie-! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4OCxQhPm58&feature=related

    ReplyDelete
  84. all your comments are funny.

    funny because you are all starting to look as ridiculous as biffle.

    backbiting, making-fun, sarcasm. are you all in high-school?

    how exactly are you helping the situation by behaving this way?

    also fed up with whole-brain,
    emmo

    ReplyDelete
  85. Suburban Chicken FarmerFebruary 19, 2011 at 11:58 AM

    Well, while agree with you that I do make fun, "backbite" and am often sarcastic, I say it's a valid public response to Whole Brain Teaching.
    Certainly mine is not the only type of response I hope for.
    I hope all administrators and all teachers will investigate any behavior management method, any education fad with gravitas and expertise before devoting further resources to them. I think if they did, they would not treat the community college philosophy professor Chris Biffle as a education expert.

    In my case, I'm a 48 year old southern Californian, not a high school student. I live in the area where Whole Brain Teaching began. They claim great success in increasing student learning and I know better. I mock Chris Biffle and Whole Brain Teachers because I believe their claims, actions and cult-like behavior are ridiculous (by definition inviting derision and mockery)
    Two good reasons I do this on the net- First, Human nature- I like solidarity with others out there in in the blogosphere who are like-minded.
    I watched Power Teachers guerrilla market for years on a few teacher forums and whether because of politeness or disinterest- there were very few direct objections to them or Whole Brain Teaching methods.
    Second reason I like to ridicule Biff and his cult- So any teacher who might read this knows- If you are grabbing this method because you think this is the way you will become the innovator star at your school, and frankly this is the allure for some teachers, maybe it's good that you know, you'll be mocked. If you go on and exploit your students by using them in Whole Brain Teaching ads on YouTube or any other public venue to further yourself in the Whole Brain Org, know this- You will be seen as and called a child exploiter.
    That's how I'm helping the situation. I'd love to hear how others are helping as well.

    ReplyDelete
  86. What a discussion!

    I'm doing my teaching practice right now. At my current placement, I am teaching in a school that has been severely hit by lack of funds, terrible management and a really awful atmosphere there. I've been teaching music there for about a week now, and using the ideas from 'Power teaching' has actually helped a lot. BUT I think a lot of good points have come from both sides of the discussion.

    I teach music, obviously a mainly creative, individual subject. However, the fact is that national exams in England in music focus a great deal on theory and being able to construct answers in the correct way - 40 percent comprises a 'Listening Test' where the only real way to get a really high grade is MASSIVE amounts of memorising and regurgitation. Then, in a stark contrast, the other 60 percent is performance and composition! I think there are few people taking the GCSE course who care about the listening part, most want to do it because they enjoy the playing or composing elements and think they might like to continue their studies at A-level.

    As for scoreboards, punishment/reward, etc, again it depends on the situation. I can imagine that it would probably not be so great to condition kids for this kind of thing in early years and until around 10 or 11, but once they are old enough to realise that the punishments/rewards are not that big a deal (i.e. adolescence and the common rebellion years) then it's ok as they can see it for what it is, a bit of fun.

    ReplyDelete
  87. Many of the techniques are not effective with kids aged around 15-16 as this seems to be the period when they are most concerned with appearing to be 'mature' and 'cool'. But they can be gradually introduced - the best starting point is 'Class-Yes', gestures and teaching each other, but forget about the special rules!

    A-level classes respond well to the techniques, perhaps because much of the rest of their lives is now taken up by more serious interactions, many of them have part-time jobs or a lot of pressure from their parents to study hard and get into a good university, etc., so the playful nature gives them a chance to be children again for a moment.

    Combining the 'Power Teaching' method with other ideas does seem to improve my students' concentration on learning fundamental concepts and vocabulary. But the bit about getting your class to turn on those who disrupt, that is not so cool. Getting kids to beg, however, I think is meant and understood by the kids as a joke - it's something they do the whole time on an individual level and this gives them a chance to make a joke out of it and see how ridiculous and essentially meaningless it is to beg for something, by going over the top on something they don't actually care that much about.

    As regards the idea that these people make money out of it - there's free stuff on the site and I've managed to use the main ideas without going to a seminar so you don't HAVE to give them your money. But if it's being paid for by schools, yeh it probably needs looking into more thoroughly.

    In conclusion to my not-so-scientific post, I think the issue is that people who come up with these kinds of ideas try to make them into an all-encompassing magic bullet when actually a range of activities is required in the classroom to suit the specific skill, individual kids etc.. Getting kids to repeat what you say, teach each other, use physical gestures, a whole-class approach to behaviour, and a couple of the other techniques are all GREAT ideas and can be used very effectively, but don't do it the whole time!

    ReplyDelete
  88. Each idea should be taken at face value and experimented with - if it works, great, keep doing it. If you try it for a time but some undiscovered adverse side-effect comes out of it that wasn't evident at first, it's time for a change! I've only been teaching in schools for about half a year so maybe that affects my credibility, but I have been teaching music to kids of all ages (4-30) for about 6 years and have found this principle to be a pretty reliable one to work from.

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  89. ...... As an aside, I read in the new scientist that the main ways in which humans innovate is from directly repeating what others have done, then either deliberately thinking-through ways of improving it (emphasis on logical processes) or making a mistake which turns out to be for the better! So, all learning doesn't have to be entirely independent and a lot of children's learning is carried out naturally by repetition, a habit that carries through to adulthood. Chimps, on the other hand, make discoveries mostly by pure invention with a little bit of imitation thrown in. Or so I remember.

    ReplyDelete
  90. Hole Brain Owner/OperatorMarch 3, 2011 at 4:41 PM

    Anonymous, thanks for your take on it. It's possible you're in the position to conduct a great experiment.
    I wonder if you could teach one (your "control group")of your classes with all the regular instruction ie; repetition, natural gesturing, handouts, stories...etc.
    And teach another class (same level, experience etc.) with regular plus the explicit hand gestures.... and compare the two at the end of year.

    My hypothesis is, you will not have any better student learning but will have a wasted a significant amount of your and your students time in the explicit gesturing group.

    Either way, I'd love to hear some results from you.

    Re: Your aside -I believe Jane Goodall has unequivocally shown chimpanzees to be socially very sophisticated and do learn from and teach one another to modify tools, for example.

    Just because repetition is good for memorizing some things, like multiplication tables for example, it shouldn't become your only emphasis as a teacher....... I think a video paints a thousand words here. Check out Chris Biffle's youtube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngCFr1TO62w. His end of course overview is pretty thin stuff after a full semester of study. But a boatload of obedience and repetition displayed, I think you'll agree.

    As for the "fun" aspect of it- When I see the children in the youtube Whole Brain Teaching ads, they don't look like they're doing anything more than obeying their teachers.

    Now, the videos of teachers at the Louisiana Conference- there the Whole Brain Teachers follow every command, every claim seemingly joyously... It looks like their favorite preacher came to town and held a revival meeting. As with any other cult or religion-
    If they kept it to themselves, I'd have no problem with it...But they don't do, they? Biffle and his main disciples are paid by public school districts in the first place, then these teacher/attendees take their conversion experiences with all the conviction and diminished reasoning of a zealot back to classroom, to my kids who are compulsed by the state to attend.

    ReplyDelete
  91. Hole Brain Owner/Operator,
    I agree with just about everything you wrote. To me, it looks very cultish, with the movements, chorus responses, and excessive amounts of praise (toward Biffle, not the kids). I think what bothers me, and a lot of other people for that matter, is how they present themselves as a grassroots movement. Really? I thought a grassroots movement involved helping communities, not pocket thousands of dollars from teachers and schools. I thought educators were smart people; why are so many falling for their lies?

    I don't feel like I am being mean by writing facts. They say one thing, but do the other. It's pretty black and white.

    We are a movement and we don't charge.

    but

    4.95 for a webinar. 1.00 for classroom rules signs. 10.00 dollars to attend our free conference at Crafton Hills College, which is at the school Biffle works at and I doubt they charge him to use the facility. 7,000 dollars to present an all day workshop at your school.

    Facts are facts people.

    ReplyDelete
  92. Is there not a way to use some of the WBT's ideas as engagements strategies, but not spend every thirty seconds saying, "Teach, okay." Possibly... I, too, was searching for Chris Biffle, and was caught off guard with the word, "lies." I didn't realize I was going to spend 30 minutes reading about his offhand practices.

    ReplyDelete
  93. Part 2...


    I did begin using the rules and some of the strategies in my high poverty, first grade classroom. I was completely frustrated that the kids continually talked no matter their engagement level. Clapping, counting, silence for attention had worn off and nothing was working for getting their attention. Tired of feeling the need to "humiliate the instigators," I found this, yes, on the internet. I tried it 2 weeks ago, and have regained interest in the classroom. Do I use the "teach, okay" all day long. No...I'd have to shoot myself. My kids learned the classroom rules within 7 minutes, and we do take time to repeat when necessary. NO ONE is singled out, thus preserving their integrity. I have paid nothing to him, but have taken some of his ideas as engagement strategies that are currently working,and for that I am grateful. I also hope that most educators do not completely buy out on any one way to teach, but take that which is most important to their own classroom. My kids love the scoreboard, and no, I do not sway it. It is as a class, NEVER an individual or small group acheivement. They have other ways to rewards on an individual level, none which are monetary. It has had a positive impact on my classroom. It is NOT what I do all day long, but used as engagement strategy and positive reinforcement. Sorry he's made some bad choices, but I'm going to focus on the good. Period.

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  94. I recently started my first year teaching 6th grade social studies at a public charter school. The school is roughly 90% students of color, approximately 50% free and reduced lunch, and a broad mixture of achievement levels, attitudes, and IEPs. While my previous methods of instruction were working fine, I wanted to change things up and invite more interaction from the class when reviewing material. After looking over WBT methods for an hour, I spent 20-30 minutes introducing them to my classes the following day. Students who were previously disruptive and disengaged started participating more than ever before. And while I pick and choose components of the methodology to implement, the basic principles remain the same. I don't single students out for misbehavior and save the dextra on the scoreboard for class-wide disruptions.

    I believe any teacher who adopts a single instructional method is doing his or her students a disservice. The same is true of WBT. That being said, I have zero complaints for how it's worked in my class. I disagree that students are only learning to repeat or memorize through repetition. Students invariably come up with some of their own gestures during Teach-Okay, and this seems to create more meaningful connections for them.

    Anyway, haters gonna hate. I've heard and seen nothing but good things from my students. And as for Biffle personally, I couldn't care less. Edison was apparently an unethical, grade-A jerk. But we still use his inventions, right?

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  95. Anonymous -- Oh, for crying out loud, can we put the "haters gonna hate" phrase in ad hominem trash can once and for all? To suggest that FedUpMom is against WBT not for the substantive reasons she has repeatedly articulated here but because she is a "hater" marks you as the one who is a "grade-A jerk." Is that how you teach your students to make arguments?

    ReplyDelete
  96. Thanks, Chris! Haters gonna write blog posts.

    ReplyDelete
  97. Anonymous 6th Grade Teacher,
    Group coercion (which is what Whole Brain Teaching is) is not an invitation. Doublespeak isn't effective here. Write clearly and accurately if you hope to be taken seriously at all.

    ReplyDelete
  98. To whom should I reply first? Chris, cherry-picking lines from the last part of my post and then giving an ad hominem attack of your own hardly qualifies you as one with a substantive opinion.

    FedUpMom, rather than reply to heart of my argument and experience, you just high-five your buddy? That's fine, but it certainly doesn't refute anything I said.

    And anonymous, your statement of WBT as coercion is assumed a priori, which it simply isn't. If you know 6th graders, then you know you'll see resistance if any methodology isn't to their liking. And guess what? I see more engagement and less resistance than any other method I've seen.

    If any teacher would like to speak from experience here, then I'd love to hear it. Otherwise, armchair educators should step aside.

    ReplyDelete
  99. "And anonymous, your statement of WBT as coercion is assumed a priori, which it simply isn't"
    This is bad.

    Here's a tip on how to not make a fool of yourself- Don't try to write beyond your abilities or knowledge. Misusing Latin is an easy enough mistake to avoid.

    -Sincerely, Armchair Educator

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  100. Anonymous, I don't owe you a refutation or an argument or anything at all. If I have the time, energy, and interest in refuting you, I will.

    I'll take a shot at this:

    ***
    If any teacher would like to speak from experience here, then I'd love to hear it. Otherwise, armchair educators should step aside.
    ***

    We're not "armchair educators", we're parents. It's our kids who have to suffer through all these fads.

    Really, your remark says it all. You have forgotten who matters in this equation.

    ReplyDelete
  101. After reading this blog, I think it is important to watch one of the webcasts at http://www.livestream.com/wholebrainteaching1

    I don't see tyrant mentioned above, but a comical genius. Not sure if it is intended to be this funny, but I can't stop laughing.

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  102. Thursday, May 19, 2011
    My last post on this blog
    I recieved this email today...

    Jake ... we appreciate your energy and the liveliness of your class, but please don't advertise these videos as Whole Brain Teaching. Look at recent examples of our work at
    http://www.youtube.com/user/ChrisBiffle
    for samples of work we would love to have from you.
    thanks!,
    Chris Biffle
    Director, Whole Brain Teaching


    I would like to tell all the whole brain teachers out there that I am sorry for saying that I am a whole brain teacher. I am a person that likes to take things and make them my own. I would like to thank Mr. Biffle and all of the other wonderful people associated with WBT. Each one of you has helped me build a foundation for my classroom that helps me make it happen each day. I will continue to follow WBT information, but will no longer claim to be a whole brain teacher. If you would like to view my new blog feel free. On this blog I will be discussing the things that happen in my classroom and why I do them. The blog is http://emerson-mrfallis36.blogspot.com/ Good luck to all the WBT and keep making it happen!

    ReplyDelete
  103. As a teacher who has used some WBT strategies, and plans to use more, I will say this - Whole Brain Teaching works. It is a focused, disciplined form of direct instruction that engages students while pushing them to constantly improve.

    The comments here smack of vendetta, and I have no idea what is behind them, but there are a whole bunch of teachers out there who are using the WBT model, and are getting very positive results.

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  104. Rand Raynor, "smack of vendetta" that's what you make of all the various criticism on this blog? C'mon now, really? How about you take the comments on their own and decide if any have merit.

    If Chris Biffle charges for his services then WBT isn't really free, is it? Has your school district contracted with him yet? Have Biffle and Rekstad encouraged you and/or others at your school to request your district to hire them? Has Biffle instructed you to Blog about WBT positively? Has he forbidden you to write anything negative about WBT?

    Have you read Rekstad's assertion "there is no punishment in WBT?" Have you read any teacher testimonials of "students being humiliated by 'practicing rules' in front of classmates?"

    Rand, won't you agree with me, humiliation is punishment?

    Rand, do you believe talking with explicit gesturing and punctuation sound effects (No, I'm not making this up folks!) are in any way near as effective as writing when teaching writing?

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  105. Rand Raynor says:

    ***
    The comments here smack of vendetta,
    ***

    This reminds me of the "haters gonna hate" guy. The groupthink inspired by WBT is so pervasive that WBTeers can't respond to criticism except with disbelief that it happens at all.

    My arguments, and the arguments of those who post on my blog, must stand and fall on their merits. It's not about having a vendetta.

    Rand, your arguments must also be weighed on their merits. So I'd ask you to expand a bit -- what grade do you teach, and when you say WBT "works", what results have you seen?

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  106. To the inexperienced,

    Regardless of what some of you "think" of these power teaching strategies being "cultish" or "controlling" or what you think about Biffle himself- they work. I've seen them work in a very effective way through the many teachers I have personally observed utilizing these strategies to improve their teaching. Did students scores raise? Yes. Are students engaged? Yes. Is learning more fun for them? Quite simply yes. Do I know teachers that currently use these strategies in their class? Yes. Are they still working? That would be a yes. That's all. And by the way all of these teachers work in the IE.

    IE Principal

    ReplyDelete
  107. Questions:

    What the heck is "IE"?

    How do you know learning is more fun for the students?

    What was going on in the school before WBT?

    ReplyDelete
  108. Suburban Chicken FarmerSeptember 20, 2011 at 12:44 PM

    Hey IE Principal, who are you really?
    No Orwell Clarity in Writing award for you! I don't believe any principal in my district is so unaware and bereft of social norms she identifies herself as an "IE Principal" on a Pennsylvanian mom's blog.

    Would a principal write this awkward mess of a sentence?

    "I've seen them work in a very effective way through the many teachers I have personally observed utilizing these strategies to improve their teaching."

    By the way, "IE" is short for "Inland Empire" a huge urban area, combining the cities of Riverside, San Bernardino, Ontario, Fontana... the list goes on. ...in southern California. Most people in Los Angeles, which is about fifty miles west of San Bernardino, wouldn't know what "IE" means. Unless you're talking to jailhouse gangsters, I suppose they use "IE' more than any other group of people outside of the Inland Empire.

    ReplyDelete
  109. Who cares about the semantics!!!! Are his methods or theories sound? The answer is yes. I've incorporated many of his techniques into my own own curriculum/delivery and they are very useful and engaging. Why go off on a tangent about qualifications. Results are what count.

    ReplyDelete
  110. Good lord, I hope the previous comment isn't from a teacher.
    Who cares about the meaning of language? I do, for one.

    Are his methods or theories sound?
    No.
    In fact, at times it appears he's just made things up to suit his ends. Just a couple of many examples I could give- Chris Biffle's theory of mirror neurons- "Mirror: Many brain scientists believe that we learn by mirroring the gestures and activities of others. They have identified mirror neurons scattered throughout the brain that are activated by mimicking the behavior we observe."
    His is the only "theory" of mirror neurons being activated by mimicking. He either didn't care enough to really understand what scientists were discovering or he did understand and wrote misinformation anyway. By all means, look and learn for yourself- google "mirror neurons" and see what real scientists know, study and hypothesize about them. Then go back and reread Biffle again.
    Feeling duped, yet?
    How about his version of prefrontal cortex function? Biffle writes, "Class-Yes: Our primary attention-getter activates the prefrontal cortex, often called the CEO of the brain."
    Do you actually think you are "activating" this major part of the brain- (thought to even be wherein personality lies) in any student by saying "class?" Could a person even attend class without an already very active prefrontal cortex?
    Why aren't you embarrassed?

    Results- The Press Enterprise from February 2008 reported Urbita Elementary as school-wide adoption of "Power Teaching" (now Whole Brain Teaching) and home school to Whole Brain paid presenter Andrea Schindler.
    I invite you to check the school's test results here- http://www.greatschools.org/cgi-bin/ca/api/5303
    How about co-founder, consultant, paid presenter Chris Rekstad's school, Valley Elementary of Yucaipa California?
    http://www.greatschools.org/modperl/achievement/ca/5362#toc
    I'm sure you've got a nice tidy excuse why the sellers of this product aren't demonstrably successful using their own product, and I'd love to hear it.
    Sincerely, "Not Holding My Breath"

    ReplyDelete
  111. I am subbing at a middle school where two teachers have had melt downs, threw stuff at kids and walked out because of the lack of any kind of control, either self-control from the kids, or direction from the administration. I am going to start SOME of the WBT methods Monday. The sound level in the classroom is already ear-splitting, they are already flailing around, so I plan to channel their energy in a direction that will get the classes focused and moving forward. No teaching has been done up to this point. The atmosphere is one of chaos and "get the teacher." I am looking forward to Monday to see how it works.

    ReplyDelete
  112. From Chris Biffle: Who is ready to start a pilot program, Whole Brain Parenting? If WBT works with a class of 35 rambunctious kids,...

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  113. The operative word is 35. Cut class size, not common sense.

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  114. In what sense does WBT "work" with a classroom of 35 rambunctious kids? If you mean that it keeps them under control, I want a whole lot more from my kids' education than just somebody keeping them under control for 7 hours a day.

    Parenting is not the same thing as classroom management, nor should it be. Parenting is about raising a small human being with the goal that she should become an exemplary adult. Memorizing gestures and lining up in a silent straight line have nothing to do with parenting.

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  115. I should add that memorizing gestures and lining up in a silent straight line don't have anything to do with good classroom management either.

    ReplyDelete
  116. Suburban Chicken FarmerDecember 9, 2011 at 10:54 AM

    Biffle needs to come up with new & improved products constantly to keep his devotees' eyes and energies on him. Without something new how could they convince their districts to hire him?
    And if he can maneuver his underlings to promote him as a "parenting expert," just think of all the avenues to cashing in they'll open for Biffle.

    Get to Work, Jeff Battle!

    Rand Raynor, tsk, tsk, what a disappointment to Dear Teacher you've been lately.



    http://www.howcultswork.com/

    ReplyDelete
  117. What works for one school, one community, one population may not work for another. In order for instruction to occur, students to learn, there needs to be a safe, stuctured environment. I teach on the south side of Chicago. WBT could definitely help my students learn routines and stay engaged. And I don't think time spent learning routines is time wasted. You can't teach a class you can't manage! Is this for the rich white suburban district Wilmette? Probably not. When students come with structure already, less time needs to be spent on teaching the routines. I am excited to loop with my students for this reason!

    Is this system perfect? Probably not. Have you, fed up mom, set foot in a failing school with no structure, students flipping desks, 8th graders ruling the top floor and no teachers allowed up here, students in and out of many schools, gun shits heard from classrooms?
    Does it seem cultish? Perhaps from an outsider. Is it a way for novice teachers to manage a class and teach? Yes.

    ReplyDelete
  118. Suburban Chicken FarmerDecember 15, 2011 at 10:26 PM

    It sounds GROSS! Way worse than the Hershey squirts!

    ReplyDelete
  119. I don't think the only alternative to anarchy is fascism. There are other possibilities.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. its not fascism. give it up! what are you so angry about?? why are you jumping on this successful guy's case? If you think it's all so horrible, then shut up with your complaining and create a better system. When you get the recognition Chris has gotten, I will start to listen to you. No one needs your ranting.

      Delete
  120. What options? Nay Sayers never have alternatives. You come to a school an teach 33 students with rough home lives, full day kindergarten, no aide, no resources. Call and response isn't facism. It's attention getting without being so negative.

    What are your thoughts on college Greek life? Many black fraternities and sororities love call and response, stepping, chants.

    Your blog can be summed up in three words. "white people problems"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hahaha I love this. Nicely put. Someone put a stop to this lady!!!

      Delete
  121. The alternative to anarchy and fascism that I had in mind is called "democracy". Maybe you've heard of it?

    As for classroom management, my local elementary school uses "Responsive Classroom". It seems to work for them.

    ***
    What are your thoughts on college Greek life? Many black fraternities and sororities love call and response, stepping, chants.
    ***

    So what? That's not remotely comparable to Whole Brain Teaching. For starters, it's voluntary.

    ***
    Your blog can be summed up in three words. "white people problems"
    ***

    Oh, please.

    ReplyDelete
  122. "White people problems":

    Yeah, because black people would never worry about their kids being trained to be slaves.

    ReplyDelete
  123. How I raise my kids Ain't ur business. You racist

    ReplyDelete
  124. I think many of the WBT ideas fall in line with other techniques.....I looked at the Responsive Classroom and there are some similarities, but the thing with WBT is that it takes it to a level where there is clearly little to no respect for the students. I understand that each school is different, but I don't support a program that treats the students like dogs. Maybe it's the way it comes across in those ridiculous videos. I don't fault any teacher who uses techniques that help them teach their kids, but I hope they don't fall for the hype created by this college prof who has never been in an elementary classroom. He lives in a nice southern California city, nothing like the inner city someone else spoke about. Treat kids like kids and allow them to be people with thoughts and make decisions. Yes create an enviornment with structure, but don't use all of this WBT cult crap.

    ReplyDelete
  125. Cult crap. That's exactly right. And alliterative to boot!

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  126. The issue that I have with WBT is that it is a teacher centered classroom management model, that does not take into consideration the INDIVIDUAL needs and abilities of EACH student. With WBT, students are treated like mindless clones of each other. I will never treat my students as mindless blobs whose one goal in school is to "keep the teacher happy"! It will be MY job to keep THEM happy and engaged. I will strive to do this by creating engaging lessons that ignite in them a desire to learn and keep learning. I will never resort to militaristic control tactics to force them to LOOK engaged (as if they are actually really engaged by this method).
    Thank you FedUpMom for being the voice of reason on WBT!

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  127. Don't knock it 'til you try it. Enough said. I have used this method for 4 years now and have found only positive results from it. I taught 8th grade science and now teach a 5th grade elective class in low income schools. Thank you for showing another prospective on the subject but I know it works from personnal experience and no words on this blog can change that. :)

    ReplyDelete
  128. Anonymous -- "Don't knock it 'til you try it." Do you feel that way about corporal punishment, too? Is there anything that would be beyond the pale if it "worked"?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. how does corporal punishment relate to WBT? because students are following teachers orders? Have you ever thought about how much more fascist classical teaching is? All it is, is following teachers orders...busy work, boring, unenthusiastic teachers... Chris inspires students to think and become engaged in his material.

      Delete
  129. Suburban Chicken FarmerFebruary 7, 2012 at 5:44 PM

    Another Stellar Example.
    Whole Brain Teachers, you know what? You don't need to write you work in a poverty stricken school as that is presumed already. Matter o' fact, I'd fall out of my chair in shock if that weren't the case.

    From Savage Inequalities, by Jonathon Kozol "Asked about the differences in teachers noted by the principals, he says there are ... "These are the kids most in need," says Edward Flanery, the principal of one of the low-income schools, "and they get the worst teachers."

    ReplyDelete
  130. Biffle is awesome. Not many, if any of us who posted responses can say are known as being at his level recognition. Our area has the best schools in the country and many teachers use Biffle methods – that is real world quantitative measurement.

    I did not see any posts that talked about real measurable statistics on student learning with his methods nor did I see anyone on these posts speak of any method they personally created that work better than others.

    Instead of complaining, we should be improving others ideas or better yet creating our own. I guess it is just easier to complain.

    ReplyDelete
  131. Suburban Chicken FarmerFebruary 20, 2012 at 6:20 PM

    Your area, huh? Well, that's certainly compelling.

    ReplyDelete
  132. "I did not see any posts that talked about real measurable statistics on student learning with his methods"

    The following is from THIS blog. Copy and paste the links provided and see for yourself. Feel free to check out Big Bear Elementary and see how they did with a full year of "complete staff" use.

    Results- The Press Enterprise from February 2008 reported Urbita Elementary as school-wide adoption of "Power Teaching" (now Whole Brain Teaching) and home school to Whole Brain paid presenter Andrea Schindler.

    I invite you to check the school's test results here- http://www.greatschools.org/cgi-bin/ca/api/5303
    How about co-founder, consultant, paid presenter Chris Rekstad's school, Valley Elementary of Yucaipa California?
    http://www.greatschools.org/modperl/achievement/ca/5362#toc

    ReplyDelete
  133. Hmmm ... not that I'm a huge believer in test scores, but I'll post true links:

    Test Scores for Urbita Elementary School

    Test Scores for Valley Elementary

    It looks to me like all the test scores have gone DOWN from 2010 to 2011, except for the "disabled" subgroup at Urbita Elementary.

    ReplyDelete
  134. Another Hole Brain DirectorFebruary 21, 2012 at 7:55 PM

    From Whole Brain Teachers Website:
    "Want to visit one of Southern California's most beautiful spots? Don't miss the August 12, Whole Brain Teaching conference in Big Bear, California.

    "Whole Brain Teaching for Challenging K-5 Kids (and the rest of your class, too!)

    8AM-3PM (note early start!)

    August 12, 2010"
    ------------------------------------------------------
    From Great Schools
    Big Bear Elementary test results.

    API Growth Target (2010-2011)
    803 (2011 Growth)
    809 (2010 Base)

    -6 (2011 Growth result)
    (2011 Growth target)
    ------------------------------------------------

    He probably made $2,500. for that.

    ReplyDelete
  135. Whole Brain Teaching is FREE

    I doubt he made any money from Big Bear.

    ReplyDelete
  136. Another Hole Brain DirectorMarch 21, 2012 at 2:53 PM

    All right, Anonymous, let me see if I can find an on-line record of the contract for you.

    ReplyDelete
  137. Another Hole Brain DirectorMarch 21, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    Link to contract not to exceed 10,000.. for 7,500 Chris Biffle Consultant hired by Gilroy Unified Oct 2010 to March 2011-
    https://gilroy.csbaagendaonline.net/cgi-bin/WebObjects/gilroy-eAgenda.woa/files/MTMzMjM2ODEzMjg4Mi9naWxyb3llQWdlbmRhLzc1LzIzNTgvRmlsZXM=/consultant_agreement-whole_brain_teaching.pdf

    Here's another one- 2008 Hemet Unified School District-

    47. K-47 Approval to Authorize Hiring Chris Biffle, an Independent Contractor, to Provide Services (V) (C)
    Approval of the agreement for Independent Contractor Services with Chris Biffle to provide staff development training at the 2008 Management Symposium and during the 2008/2009 school year, not to exceed $5,500 (one instructor at $350 per hour x 15 hours; no maximum number of participants per session, plus $250 for travel expenses), as per contract ESD-C057.
    And the link
    http://hemet.csbaagendaonline.net/cgi-bin/WebObjects/hemet-eAgenda.woa/wa/displayMeeting?meetingID=107

    I'll add to this list as I have the time. Some of the contracts are quite difficult to pin down.

    ReplyDelete
  138. Another Hole Brain DirectorMarch 21, 2012 at 9:27 PM

    From Lancaster School District
    Chris Biffle was paid $2,500.00 for training third grade teachers on December 9, 2011
    Link-
    https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:JuSxEb4otZYJ:www.lancaster.k12.ca.us/ourpages/auto/2009/11/13/53279900/Board%2520Agenda%252011-15-11.pdf+&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESjyDN-o4oea_TNGzpXhI7b9xRJgKMd96DCFk26j1LWJ-WzGVM9GZesJ79BnGv9ZgrW4VmAeZyidbYguxBMf6raLxXNqwq4N0hkf8hpSpzEqlMK-t1IyKyxhGaXC9lsdiBt2NCwE&sig=AHIEtbTKJAxdphEwpNLYIgmAcvBkk4O-oQ

    ReplyDelete
  139. May 5, 2009 Chris Biffle paid $1500.00 for a workshop.
    Link- https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:mvzeT4xLKx0J:www.sbcusd.k12.ca.us/Archive.aspx%3FADID%3D727+&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEEShq4ToaL6koOF4EgkgGlp_fFUSZWm3dDmYEnuQxEhhlTGxSDq3xKznvwV3_e1j5WqI7ZscwJTaK_WLfxUMJGsQqWMdn7sQtP4Kk8DO7aKcT9q6Zuqd1u3o_BUSs56ip1oWrMcuw&sig=AHIEtbQsj7hHRzAr5k9wMJy7QjTinL2MPw

    ReplyDelete
  140. 2008, San Bernardino Unified School District paid Chris Biffle for two two-hour presentations at Urbita Elementary.
    Page 29 on docs.
    Link- https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:uD2hgOK64AoJ:sbcusd.com/Archive.aspx%3FADID%3D510+&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESijlWa7Smlf5RTFr6gk0AgX1R4kXcD4D4_Oxd6Mcn2vc2vzr02lSiBnHTr7m9PTbhkXLdbERBbeGq86yNvsgQymqPbFtPPXi_qUnM-hS0Cb5WUrZd-hrLgh00lvy5gQaGmIl6Fg&sig=AHIEtbTkyIT1hV6bHFIJ6orVADhE8aUk0Q

    ReplyDelete
  141. Oops left out amount in above post.
    $700.00

    ReplyDelete
  142. A school in Indio Ca"s School 2011-2012 plan- Page 7 on Docs. Chris Biffle paid $6,000.00 for providing training in math and language arts.

    https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:GGEbxRJii2YJ:web1.dsusd.k12.ca.us/DSUSDDocuments/Documents/School%2520Plans/Adams.pdf+&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEEShtbqRd9BpZu4NcUsE6FWv4Uo0N-lNBwPdYdVYj7ynIBQ79u8uRRXK3ZuNb_sWwKx3exCz_z_mTlRDmDOG042m2XN0WlD_fBpSx0RoR_zeI0wSyK-IDQMY5F2ppXtre0FgfSx_N&sig=AHIEtbTsLRGXsAIcezql9aOOh_C4hQsyhQ

    ReplyDelete
  143. @Anonymous & @Another Hole Brain Director: Thanks for all your sleuthing! I've gathered your links in a new post here:

    Whole Brain Teaching Rakes in the Shekels

    ReplyDelete
  144. Well I am shocked. I've been to a conference and watch his webcasts from time to time and he is basically nothing more than a liar. He says it's free because the he got it for free, but your posts seem to dispute those claims. Hole Brain Director and FedUpMom, thank you for changing my opinion.

    UNREAL....I'm still in brief shock. I guess nothing should surprise me anymore.

    ReplyDelete
  145. Another Hole Brain DirectorMarch 22, 2012 at 12:55 PM

    These are a mere tip of the ice berg. Though we are talking about public funding here, usually Title 1, districts don't always make it easy to see where this public money is spent.
    Lemon Grove School district paid $3,700.00 to Chris Biffle for two seminars April 16th, 2011 and May 7, 2011.
    Link- Document page 15-
    http://lemongroveschools1.net/134110826133420190/lib/134110826133420190/Agendas%202011/Agenda%203%2022.pdf

    ReplyDelete
  146. Another Hole Brain DirectorMarch 22, 2012 at 3:37 PM

    Yucaipa is less than 27 miles away from Hemet; Biffle was paid $250 for travel expenses.

    I believe he's had additional contracts with Hemet.

    FedUp, Geat Post- Easy to read and all that good stuff.

    http://kidfriendlyschools.blogspot.com/2012/03/whole-brain-teaching-rakes-in-shekels.html
    (I keep adding to this particular blog "Whole Brain Teaching Founder..." because it seems many people drop into only this one)

    People could click on "Whole Brain Teaching" label to the right of this column too. You might find something at least interesting.

    ReplyDelete
  147. Another Hole Brain DirectorMarch 22, 2012 at 3:40 PM

    "Geat Post?" No, I didn't mean to call you goth.

    Need a pirate with a spare "arr!"

    ReplyDelete
  148. @Another Hole Brain Director, thanks for all your work. I added Lemon Grove to the master list here:

    Whole Brain Teaching Rakes in the Shekels

    ReplyDelete
  149. I promised myself about halfway through reading all of this that I was NOT getting involved. However, as a mom first and a teacher second, I think the WBT methods are wonderful. I have zero interest in getting into an argument, as your opinions are clearly documented here. You don't have to like WBT at all. Yay, freedom! :)

    There are many videos out there that I think are amazing, and a few that make me go "Eek!" I choose to assess positives and look at how this can impact my students (and my own children) for the better, and I steer clear of using ideas from those examples that don't resonate so well with me. However, I believe that if you were able to understand WBT from a teacher's true perspective and had actual knowledge of teaching and brain development, and not just your own inflexible conclusions based on what you've seen on a few video clips, you might think differently. I say might, not would. Thankfully, though, you have your job, and I have mine.

    What really struck me throughout all of this is the question about WBT being a free grass-roots program. Chris Biffle and the WBT website claim that all of their seminars, conferences, conventions, books, resources, and materials are free to all teachers. This is 100% true. There is ZERO cost for any of these components. The only thing you can buy are some 8.5x11 signs for 99 cents each. Everything else is entirely free. I personally did not buy the signs; I made my own.

    ReplyDelete
  150. (Cont'd 3/3)

    Finally, I took little offense to anything on this post, but I was annoyed about someone's comment about being angry that teachers can use his videos and materials to earn professional development credit and that they shouldn't be able to use those credits toward a "raise". I am unsure about the exact requirements in other states, but here in AZ, teachers must take a minimum of 15 hours of professional development per year, regardless of whether they intend to move on the pay scale. It is a requirement for keeping our jobs. Eventually, these hours (if you collect a boatload of them) are used for moving over a step on the pay scale among other things.

    Now, silly me, I'm not in teaching for the money, but I do believe in lifelong learning, bettering myself as an educator, and researching to find effective techniques for a highly diverse student group (SES, race, honors and gifted, special education, visual vs. auditory vs. kinisthetic learners, shy and outgoing kids, motivated and couldn't-care-less kids... you get the picture), but the ultimate truth is that, until there is some immense education reform, I am required to prove my hours of development and I have no choice in whether these hours increase my pay scale. But don't you worry-- we're talking typically less than $1000 as a raise after 4 or 5 years.

    I can't even begin to describe some of the seminars and classes I've had to sit through that had NOTHING to do with teaching. Nothing. Or the topics were outrageously irrelevant to my individual classroom. I've had to go to these "professional development" courses on vacation time, during weekends, early mornings before school, etc. It's refreshing and convenient that WBT offers these online webinars (haha, I guess that's redundant) in which I can participate from home, after my children have gone to bed, so that I am not taking away any family time. And I appreciate that I get to choose specifically what I want to learn about. Just like any other PD seminar, I take what I like and use it, and the rest I leave behind for someone else that might be able to find success with it.

    I don't believe that WBT is in any way a cult, nor is there ANY pressure to use their methods. It is one method among many that I have tried to meet the needs of my students, and so far, I have found great success. I am (probably too much so) honest with my students, as they are with me--brutally in fact! They LOVE our change. They have told me several times how much they like the activity, the confidence, the way their classmates cheer them on. Never once has any student been singled out or "bullied". They have improved test scores, but more importantly, I see them using critical thinking skills more deeply than ever before. Their reading, math, and especially writing skills are much more developed than previous classes. Maybe next year, WBT won't "agree" with my group; if that's the case, I would never force it on them. It's my job to find something that does.

    So much for not getting involved-- Whoops!

    ReplyDelete
  151. (Cont'd 2/3)



    A couple of you have stated that he now charges to watch the online webcasts, or that he requires you pay for them. This is not true. The webcasts are accessible 24/7 at no cost. Biffle does ask for a donation (approximately $5) if you would like a copy of the slides. I don't know the last time I came across any organization, grass roots or otherwise, that didn't accept donations--even in return for products and goods. I also don't know of any non-profit that doesn't collect money for services in some way. Biffle charging overhead for certain professional development seminars doesn't negate the fact that his statement is true: All resources on the WBT website and in the WBT program are free to teachers.

    Still, anyone can watch the webcasts and choose not to donate. I have several times. And as for an email advertisement that you can attend a conference for $9.95, I find that odd, because I know several teachers attending 2 or 3 conferences this year. They are all free.

    ReplyDelete
  152. Another Hole Brain DirectorMay 31, 2012 at 10:41 AM

    Interested in WBT bad writing?
    (Not to be confused with the aptly named Awesomely Bad Writing http://www.aceonlineschools.com/awesomely-bad-and-funny-student-responses-to-test-questions/)
    Biffle is now offering "Whole Brain Teacher Board Certification" He awards "certification points" for blogging, having blog followers, and posting essays. So far, no English majors have submitted, go figure!
    Just a snippet or two- "(metaphor)" is included, per Biffle's bizarre instructions.
    "Mind Soccer is a double espresso coffee way to review educational material in a sea of steamed milk. Much like a double espresso, Mind Soccer energizes players into a frenzy of academic review, while other means practically lull participants to sleep (metaphor)."
    .
    "The Power Pixs help boats glide through the sea as opposed to being constantly capsized by the stormy seas of unknown concepts."
    .
    "For the student, a new year is shrouded in mystery. He/she understands that they come to school to learn but what they are to learn is yet to be discovered. As the year progresses, the student moves from one concept to the next. Perhaps reviewing previous things learned and before you know it, the dreaded standardized testing season is upon them. The teachers spend weeks (in my district we are scheduled 4) reviewing things the students have long since forgotten hoping they will remember it for the test. "

    ReplyDelete
  153. Thank you very much everyone who expressed their views, looked up facts and related their personal experiences. I am a music teacher in a poor elementary school in inner city Baltimore. I work very hard around the clock, I spend thousands of dollars on my classroom buying recorders, sound system, laptop, speakers, PA system, document camera, up to date projector,music software, all the teachinng materials, classroom percussion instruments,school suplies and incentives for the kids. I take graduate level classes in the best practices in music education such as Dalcroze, Orff and Kodaly from Towson Uiversity. I also plan to do my second Masters degree in Kodaly Pedagogy at Loyola University. I spend all my free time on the computer looking for things and strategies that would help me teach better. Despite my best efforts, I have problems with classroom management.
    This is deeply disturbing to me as a responsible and compasionate human being.

    ReplyDelete
  154. part 2:
    I became interested in WBT when I saw a number of music teachers give positive comments about their use of this method in a music teacher forum. When I saw the videos I felt that the classroom environmet that Chris Biffle was modeling was too fast, too controlled and too loud for my students Many of my student have learning disabilities, mental illnesses and various health and emotional problems. I was not sure that they needed more overstimulation. Also I was appoled by the obvious pseudo-neurological mambo-jumbo, which is pretty apparent even to this music teacher. I was worried that Chris Bittle did not have any cridentials in the area of education. He does not cite a bachelors, masters or any degrees in education. I just don't understand how some districts can hire him as a consultant considering that his method is not research based. Even as a humble elementary music teacher I cannot allow myself to use any methods in my classroom that is not research based, endowrsed by major educational associations, such as National Association for Music Education or other major professional organizations, and is not alligned with major child development and educational theories. I am not trying to lose my job here! I have to be able to tell my principal, the parents or anyone who will ask what the techniques that I use in my classroom based on.

    I would love to use some of the techniques in my classroom, but I worry that they don't have enough theoretical backing. Unlike other teachers who said that they don't care about such things, I do. I found Chris Biffle to be suspicious just from reading his own website. My main objections are the lack of credentials and the lack of research. I just don't understand it! If I can take graduate courses in education from a reputable university why can't he do the same considering that he is making money consulting school systems? If I could easily write a research paper to justify his methods, even though I don't see how the research would justify using the same method on every stage of child development from kindergarten to college, why couldn't he? Why did he have to use junk neuroscience? Why does he make his community college students yell and use hand gestures? I mean, this all appears absolutelly insane to me! So, how would I get in front of my class and teach this highly unusual and very animated way and be able to justify if to the school administration and to the parents?

    I really thought there for a minute that I discovered a magic bullet and the holy grail, but what a disappointment!!!

    I still will think about using some of his methods and will consult with other music teachers who were successful in improving their classroom environment usin g this method. I want to see if I could learn something valuable from it. I also think that the man should be paid for his work. I am just very upset at the inuproprate unscientific approach considering we are talking about behaviour modifications for young children in the public school setting! I feel like using non research based approaches in the classroom gotta be violating some federal and state laws and distric guidelines in today's educational climate!

    Please forgive my bad English, I am not a native speaker and please don't call me a liberal. I am actually a conervative.

    Sincerely,
    Natasha

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Natasha, I read through most of the comments on here. I am a music teacher as well. I found WBT online the other day. I am moving from middle school to K-3 music. When I first saw the videos, I thought it looked like robots and creeped me out. Then I realized that whether or not the claim for higher test scores is true, I can utilize some of the techniques for classroom management. I just have to pick and choose what resonates with me, and what doesn't. Then I started thinking, as music teachers, we use hand signals and gestures and chants and singing (especially echo singing) constantly to teach. That's what music classrooms do. It only seems now that the rest of the world is catching on that those techniques do work to engage and in learning. (Instead of chanting like classroom teachers do, we can alternate with singing modeling head voice and singing on sol mi). I would like to adapt the WBT strategy to fit my value system. One negative I see in the system, based on my value system, is that teach just seems to mean tell. If I tell students to teach, I want them to come up with new higher level learning concepts (we are required anyway to cite Bloom's taxonomy) to share with their partner. That is one change I would make. While I know peer pressure works, occasionally it backfires with sensitive students or those who revel in the attention, especially in middle school. I also don't want tears from the little ones in the K-3 school. Therefore, I will refrain from using the GUFF idea. I have also used smileys with the younger kids and was thinking of doing away with frowns but smileys never worked well for me because students had nothing to measure it against. I may implement smileys and frowns and students can earn quarter notes for smileys. I hope this helps you a bit. As you know, we see the students for such a limited time once a week so our class management has to be constantly practiced. They forget so much in a week! I know the music classroom is totally different from the regular education classroom. Little kids LOVE hand signs and signals, that's why we do so many hand movements with our songs in class. It also helps them get their wiggles out. I do like some of WBT but the rest leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Just do what your gut says and you will be fine. Good luck! :)

      Delete
  155. Natasha's post coincided with an email I got from a friend yesterday. She sent me a link to the WBT Facebook page.

    Here is what it said:

    "Coach B's mind is really cooking tonight! We'll wait for the ORC (see below) feedback. But how about this? Facebook mini-courses?! On what? WBT Reading. WBT Writing. WBT Critical Thinking. WBT Art. WBT Poetry Appreciation. Etc. How would it work? Coach would announce a lesson, wait until 50 people left comments indicating interest, then he'd give the lesson (a few paragraphs on a key WBT strategy) ... then on to the next announcement, wait for 50 people to comment indicating interest and then give the lesson. What's it called? CBU: Coach B University. Who's signing up?"

    WTF?????

    ReplyDelete
  156. Ugh. That paragraph was all gibberish. Lots of slick acronyms. Coach B University. Not much upstairs...

    ReplyDelete
  157. Another Hole Brain DirectorSeptember 24, 2012 at 1:41 PM

    So is this the beginning of the end for Biffle? How about assistant professor David Brobeck, who set up the "estimated 12K$-15K$" Whole Brain Conference at Walsh University this last July?
    They got the attention of education journalist John Higgens who wrote-
    http://www.ohio.com/news/local-news/teachers-learn-ways-to-keep-students-attention-but-are-brain-claims-valid-1.319731
    “Nothing I see here indicates that there is any neuroscientific backing for anything they’re suggesting,” said Dan Willingham, a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of Virginia.

    I found the article via Neuroskeptic, which now enjoys the number one ranking on Google search engine for "Whole Brain Teaching." http://neuroskeptic.blogspot.com/2012/07/whole-brain-teaching.htm

    ReplyDelete
  158. Another Hole Brain DirectorSeptember 24, 2012 at 1:43 PM

    better link-
    http://edge.ascd.org/_Learning-Research-Why-we-must-Follow/blog/6292413/127586.html

    ReplyDelete
  159. 12-15K????? Oh boy, how are they going to spin this one?

    My favorite line is, “I think he has these ideas that may or may not work, and he’s using brain stuff to market them,” said Daniel, a psychology professor at James Madison University. “The brain stuff on the web page is very cursory, very shallow. That could be just his way of communicating or it could be his level of understanding. Either way, it’s misleading.”

    EITHER WAY, IT'S MISLEADING. AMEN!

    ReplyDelete
  160. I don't know much about WBT and was disappointed by the lack of credible information in a google search. However, I have to comment that his website is terrible. I do web content and writing for a living. I also struggle with over-stimulation. His site has way too much going on, yet it fails to give me any easy-to-find definition of what exactly WBT is. Too much bold type (should only be for headings and keywords), way too many colors and some kind of plugin or video that doesn't want to load on my computer. Plus: "Want professional development credit??" Since when is it OK to use two exclamation points? I wouldn't want this guy training my child's teacher!

    It's appalling that this person charges fees that are 1/4 or 1/5 of a teacher's annual salary for his conferences. He should spend some of that money to hire a professional to redesign his site.

    Additionally, I function best when allowed to work independently or with a small group in a quiet environment. The little I've seen from his videos makes me think I'd have been in tears or screaming by the end of every day if I'd had WBT in my class.

    ReplyDelete
  161. Fed Up Mom, I know I've read in the past how you've tried leaving comments on videos and how WBT deletes anything negative. I saw this on the WBT facebook page and wanted some feedback:

    "We have a problem. In the last few days, we posted an outstanding video demonstrating a WBT technique. The video received several negative comments. We have no problem with criticism of our methods; responding to criticism has helped us improve. However, a negative comment about a video of kids using WBT could be deeply harmful to the children involved. Please note that any future comments on
    our videos which we believe are inappropriate will result in the commentator being banned from our Facebook page and our website."

    Thoughts?

    ReplyDelete
  162. Thoughts?

    ***
    We have no problem with criticism of our methods; responding to criticism has helped us improve.
    ***

    That's just a lie. Biffle can't handle criticism at all, and I'd like to see an example of an improvement that happened because of criticism. I doubt there is such a thing.

    ***
    However, a negative comment about a video of kids using WBT could be deeply harmful to the children involved.
    ***

    Oh, please. The comments I wrote that got deleted never criticized the kids; they criticized the method, or sometimes, just asked questions about the method. All my comments, no matter how inoffensive, were deleted, and I was banned from their YouTube channels without warning.

    Biffle et. al. have no interest in discussion, criticism, or dissent. They're control freaks, which you can see for yourself by watching 30 seconds of any of their videos.

    ReplyDelete
  163. He and his directors exploit children constantly for their ads/videos unabashedly it seems. These kids aren't paid actors, they're public school students. Chris Biffle profits from these videos of kids groaning on command, begging on command, etc. Some of those videos have been up for years now. Has Biffle gone and asked those kids how they feel about having their faces on youtube year after year barking like trained seals?
    I ask you, which is more likely? Chris Biffle is concerned that children will be hurt by reading negative comments on an adult Facebook page or Chris Biffle doesn't want prospective clients to read any criticism?

    ReplyDelete
  164. Ok, So I'm one of those teachers you know...

    I teach in a kindergarten as an EFL teacher. Nowhere near the USA. And one of my colleagues stumbled onto the Whole Brain Teaching videos on YouTube.

    And yes we use some of the technics found back in the teaching method. And some of them we absolutely don't use.
    As we do with a lot of other teaching methods...

    We use the Whole Brain Teaching Method mainly for the routines at the start of the day. Repetition and drill it means. (I do teach English, a foreign language, to very young learners).
    Because this method asks a lot of attention from our children we only use it for a very short time. Afterwards we offer the children some relaxing activities, where they can calm down again at own pace.

    The clue is. Whether you like the guy or not. It shouldn't matter. Just search in every method offered what you can use and what not. The teacher knows the students best. And using your brain in education is not something to be ashamed about...

    ReplyDelete
  165. From what I see it should be called "No Brain Teaching Method"...it's pretty robotic...I mean that's the point isn't?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A whole lot of early stuff is very repetitious/robotic. How did you learn to count, ABC's, sightwords,addition facts, subtraction facts,multiplication and division?
      No flash cards? No timed tests over and over? Memorize any poems? All pretty "robotic" stuff! Maybe it is not that way in upper grades.

      Delete
  166. Good lord. Biffle explains in his professional development video "(math word problem solving is an)... abstract, non-visual, non-physical, bitty-brain activity. It's funless. The brain structure does not involve motor cortex learning, color processing, positive limbic emotions."
    Crap Cubed.

    ReplyDelete
  167. What's a " bitty-brain?" does that mean "micro management?" and what's " positive limbic emotions?"

    ReplyDelete
  168. This is the MOST ridiculous so called “educational blog” I have ever seen!
    SORRY I read ANY of the Questionable comments on here. Just hope I can get that 10 minutes of my life I WASTED back.
    SOME people will do ANYTHING for attention.
    Such a shame!

    ReplyDelete
  169. Anonymous, one of the many differences between me and Chris Biffle is that I will allow your comment to stand.

    ReplyDelete
  170. I played one of the WBT videos to a classroom of grade 11 students and they were like "WTF is that?" (They didn't actually swear, but they had that look on their faces). I asked them what they thought of that kind of teaching and one student commented, "I'd think I was in a life skills class if my teacher taught like that". I think this average student's comment sums up what WBT really is.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have read through all of the comments. This ranks as number 1. haha. night night

      Delete
  171. As a professor of education who conducts and is well-versed in educational research, I find the extreme reaction to this teaching method interesting. I am curious FedUpMom (and forgive me if you said it in one of the MANY posts here) what grade do you teach and for how long have you been a teacher? Although I never ascribe to ANY teaching strategy hook line and sinker, there are exceptional elements of this strategy when used in moderation that are quite evidence-based.

    This particular, very highly regarded researcher, discusses it with regard to reading comprehension, but other research which I can most happily provide extends this method to other curricular areas:

    Palincsar (1986) describes the concept of reciprocal teaching:
    "Definition: Reciprocal teaching refers to an instructional activity that takes place in the form of a dialogue between teachers and students regarding segments of text. The dialogue is structured by the use of four strategies: summarizing, question generating, clarifying, and predicting. The teacher and students take turns assuming the role of teacher in leading this dialogue.

    Additionally, it demonstrates elements of peer-to-peer learning:
    "Dealing with communicative approaches, many researchers found that learners were more interactive and exhibited greater variety in their language use in peer-group settings (Long, 1976 et al; Milk, 1981; Malcolm, 1979; and Wilkinson, 1984)."

    While I agree that there is no magic wand to be waved, but differentiated instruction requires a wide variety of teaching strategies to keep learners engaged and thinking critically.

    Simply attacking the founder of the program does not seem to be a functional activity. Instead, I recommend researching evidence-based teaching methodologies and reading about current brain research that proves multi-sensory learning can change the brain in a very positive way. I am happy to provide resources for anyone interested.

    Respectfully,
    An intrigued teacher

    ReplyDelete
  172. Anonymous -- Two things about your comment bother me. One is its condescending use of argument by authority: you're a "professor of education who conducts and is well-versed in educational research," and you cite a "highly regarded researcher," while FedUpMom, if she's lucky, might be able to show that she has teaching experience. If you're an expert, that means it should be easy for to explain why your views are more correct. So why not just do that and leave out the condescension and credential-dropping?

    Second, your rebuttal does not at all address FedUpMom's primary objections to WBT. You say that some WBT methods are "evidence-based" and you cite studies about the effect of certain practices on educational outcomes. But you don't seem to recognize that FedUpMom's objection is that the techniques are dehumanizing and based on objectionable values. It's as if FedUpMom objected to a program in which teachers beat the children, and you responded with evidence that beating them "works". How is that a sufficient response?

    ReplyDelete
  173. Well, the argument from authority is hilarious as the writer immediately starts shooting himself in the foot, with misuse of words ie: "ascribe," and nonsensical sentences, ie;
    "Simply attacking the founder of the program does not seem to be a functional activity." (WTF?) He even offers "Palincsar (1986) describes the concept of reciprocal teaching:..." as if the passage is defining Whole Brain Teaching!

    ReplyDelete
  174. To be honest, I don't really care about Biffles credentials. I care about what he teaches. So maybe the guy played up the best parts of his credentials... the fact that the perseus project is somehow linked to Harvard... Who of you haven't played up things like that in your resumes? Anyway, I use Biffle's power teaching methods with kids and they work like magic. They even work with adults. Yes, I took his class from 'lowly crafton hills college...' Harvard on the hill! And am so thankful that such a college hired one of the best professors I have ever had. He actually engaged me in the subject matter and got me very interested in Philosophy. After crafton, I graduated summa cum laude at a UC school and went on to join the Peace Corps. So thank you for apologizing for your bashing of community colleges. Get your freaking heads out of your asses and try his techniques. If you still dont like him, THEN point your fingers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You only care about what he teaches? The dude has never taught ANY grade level other than college. I find it absolutely hilarious that a guy with ZERO elementary-middle school-high school credentials is an expert. Everything he says is a retread of other methods with one of his corny names. His version of the common core is laughable at best. Is he a good college professor? Like all teachers, that depends on the student. The simple fact is that he is a self promotor and narcissist, not giving credit to anyone but himself!

      As fedupmom has pointed out, he is a liar and he will not allow any less than glowing remarks on any of his stuff....which is why it is here. All of her comments get deleted by the control freak.

      Delete
  175. Crafton Hills Barrio?March 15, 2013 at 1:51 PM

    I haven't claimed to have "Served on Perseus Project at Harvard," when my only association with it was I filled out surveys. I haven't claimed to be "the author of seven books (McGraw-Hill, HarperCollins) on critical thinking, reading and writing," when the books are actually workbooks on specific philosophers.
    And your "Harvard On The Hill?" Biffle refers to it as a "barrio college" filled with illiterate drug addicts, alcoholics, hard core gang-bangers and people in and out of prison. (pg. 15 Whole Brain Teaching for Challenging Kids, ebook Biffle 2011)



    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Crafton Hills Barrio?March 15, 2013 at 2:09 PM

      His claims about brain function?- just more made-up stuff according to experts.
      His "Grass Roots Movement- Not a business?"
      Actually a LLC, owned by him.
      "Whole Brain Teaching is free?"
      Actually Biffle makes thousands in consulting fees. Even $250 bucks in "travel expenses" to travel 26 miles from his home to Hemet!
      It's all a sham.

      Delete
  176. Just wondering how many of these critics are actually teachers in a classroom?!!! I teach K, for more years than I care to acknowledge, and yes, lots of repetition is needed most times. There is no magic bullet, but you use what works...and most of the techniques Chris shares have worked wonders with my class! I will admit, I am not sure how it would go in upper grades, but that is not my concern! And I love the enthusiastic learning that is going on in my room!! (so does my principal) Not saying it is for everyone, but if you are in the education field, you will try anything that will work! "1,2, teach!"

    ReplyDelete
  177. I'm teaching this year, thank you very much. But that's not really the point.

    You don't have to be a teacher to have a valid opinion about classroom management techniques. As parents, we see the effect that school has on our kids. If our kids are anxious, depressed and frustrated because of their school experience, we have a right to speak up.

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  178. I am a teacher as well and don't mind some of the techniques, but c'mon, this guy is a nut. I just watched his common core webcast on main idea and it's the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen in my life. He has some good ideas (I'm sure they weren't his to begin with), but he doesn't have a clue when it comes to common core. He's charging people for his expertise on the new state standards and it's downright shameful!

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    1. I have not had to pay anything for any of his materials...except to print! I intend on going to a conference, the materials are free to download, he does not give handouts to cut costs! I asked if I needed to buy his book on Amazon (yes, he has a book, so what?!)for the conference and was told just download what was online and bring my laptop. The conference is free. Not saying EVERYTHING he say/does is the VERY BEST (have not found that yet in 30 years), but people sure want to bash him!

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  179. The +/-3 Scoreboard is a nasty piece of work. The teacher is to give group positive or group negative tally marks and either reward or punish, never letting on to students that the teacher has predetermined the outcome. (According to Biffle constant small rewards and small punishments increase motivation to behave) I've seen it in action, friends. No surprise, kids don't like being punished for other students' crimes (even if they're wholly imaginary.) There are always some who eagerly dole out some punishment of their own... I've seen it in the form of shunning (ostracizing,) open berating and blaming galore. "We have to stand on the wall because "X" is bad." This is the peer pressure Biffle celebrates. This is what's going on in "Whole Brain" classrooms every day. When they say, "... but if you are in the education field, you will try anything that will work! the sadism isn't far behind.

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  180. Here is Biffle talking about himself in the 3rd person:

    Chris Biffle blushes, "What a delight to be wanted! Cards on the table ... our website costs us $1,000 per month. The main way we pay this bill is by giving WBT presentations around the country paid for by schools and districts."

    $1,000 a month to run that sight? Is that even possible?

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  181. Hmm. I wonder what Jason Pedersen thinks of that. He must be the shitiest CTO in the west!http://www.linkedin.com/in/jasonmpedersen

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  182. The most expensive feature on Biffle's site is LiveStream live chat and video hosting, which costs 42 bucks a month.

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