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Sample text

There was at that time no adequate theory of instruction in existence which would provide a guide to systematic classroom practice in relation to the teaching of the mother tongue. ) The science of linguistics has greatly increased our understanding of the structure and functioning of language but, so far, it has concerned itself with the learning rather than the teaching of the mother tongue if indeed the mother tongue can be "taught" at all in the accepted sense of that term. One outcome of linguistic research was, however, useful for curriculum development.

The main thrust of intervention programmes was to compensate children for these supposed deficits in their intellectual equipment. In fact, the general description. Compensatory Education, came to be applied to the whole corpus of educational effort directed towards disadvantaged populations in America in the 1960s. A lack of basic learning ability had long been thought to account for the school failure of working-class children. The upsurge of interest in linguistics in the 1960s, however, shifted the attention of educationists from general intelligence to the use of language as a predictor of future scholastic performance.

It was found that these programmes embodied the following features: a statement of scholastic objectives and careful planning to attain them, organisation in small groups, individualised attention, the availability of relevant materials, high intensity of treatment and relevant teacher-training (Kellaghan, 1977). Parental involvement was also a feature of the successful programmes. It was decided to try to incorporate these features in the curriculum of the Rutland Street project, a decision which implied a clear departure from accepted canons of pre-school education.

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