48 internautes sur 64 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile
Lawrence M. Sanger
- Publié sur Amazon.com
First, since I know the Doman program must have defenders with strong feelings, let me say that this is a review of the book, not of the program the book describes. I do have a few thoughts about that, at the end.
It has been a long time since I took the trouble to finish reading a book that was so far below my expectations. (I hadn't read that much about Doman and the Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential before reading the book.) One main problem with it is that it is amateurishly produced and written. The print is large and the margins wide. Each chapter is preceded by a title page with the name of the author(s), followed on the next page by the title *repeated*--a pretentious a waste of space. There is also quite a bit of repetition of its rather threadbare and simpleminded themes. Apparently it's a collection of lectures, and nobody bothered to edit the thing into a coherent whole. Doman's writing tends to use very dramatic (and frequently tiresome, silly, or cringeworthy) short sentences; so there is lots of white space. The long and short of it is that you aren't really getting your money's worth here. You can read the whole 280 pg. book in an evening (if you skim, as I did, the sillier parts--as I'll explain).
As to the style and content, it ranges from the pedestrian and banal ("Leonardo? Shakespeare? ... [overlong list of great men] Not one of them ever took an intelligence test"--as if that proves anything), to gross oversimplification for rhetorical effect ("Babies would rather learn than eat"--except when they're hungry, eh?), to the silly and preposterous ("You can teach a baby absolutely anything that you can present to him in an honest and factual way"--either trivially true or obviously false), to the puzzlingly and simplistically dogmatic ("High motivation is a product of success. Low motivation is a product of failure"--um, I think there's a little more to it than that).
It is also remarkably navel-gazing, constantly referring to "The Institutes" (never enumerating the Institutes individually--do they need more than one?) as if it were some authoritative academic or research institution. Which it ain't. If it were, let's just say I'd expect to see in this book, well, some footnotes and a bibliography of research that The Institutes published. No, of that in this book, there is zero, zip, zilch. There is only a list of other books, aimed at the general public, which you can also purchase from the Institutes. The book also helpfully explains how people come to their various seminars from all over the world, and gratefully buy their products.
Along the same lines, it is self-congratulatory. Doman fills up a third of the book with glowing self-praise and in-group boosting, rather vague stories of wunderkinder, and inspirational pablum that can appeal only to the converted. The whole production has the faint whiff of snake oil and cultishness. In fairness, his co-authors, Janet Doman and Susan Aisen, aren't quite so ridiculous.
The latter two authors elaborate how to make the Bits of Intelligence--i.e., 11" by 11" laminated flashcards (but *don't* call these family heirlooms flashcards!)--which will give babies encyclopedic knowledge. They go into tedious detail--in fairness, it's no doubt useful for people who actually want to follow their precise instructions--about how to physically construct these "bits." They also introduce various pieces of "in" jargon. Bits, you see, are filed under "categories" and categories are filed under exactly ten recommended "divisions." They've got it all figured out, you see. Three levels of hierarchy are all that is needed to give your baby encyclopedic knowledge. A "bit" is, and I am not making this up, a picture and the name of the kind of thing that the picture is of. Imposed on top of the name-plus-picture is a "program" for each bit, which consists of exactly ten important facts, in ascending levels of complexity. Each level is called a "magnitude." Exactly what *sorts* of fact are recommended to teach for which division are helpfully recommended. That is, there are 18 pages of topics/questions that correspond to the "magnitudes" for various popular and important categories of bits. For example, for "programs" about individual U.S. presidents (that'd be a "category"), the first "magnitude" fact is the state where the president was born.
Oh, and then, in order to give your baby encyclopedic knowledge, you just have to flash a set of ten bits in front of the baby (while uttering the word or, later, the facts at greater "magnitudes"), one per second, three times per day. All told, you could go through the program in less than five minutes a day, it seems, and thereby give your baby encyclopedic knowledge. Among the daftest things Doman inflicts on the reader is the notion that, when a baby learns ten "bits" and has thereby learned ten discrete facts (never mind the ridiculous conceptual confusions in *that*), you have thereby given him 3.6 million "connections," because there is that number of mathematical permutations of that number of facts. He takes a whole chapter to be impressed by this pedestrian insight, and never really answers the obvious question: so what?
Now, I'm trying not to be too mean, but it's hard. For me, one of the biggest disappointments about this book is that it utterly fails to support its central assertion that undertaking the program described in the book will "give your baby encyclopedic knowledge," or that the wunderkinder were made so by being flashed a lot of bits. I also am utterly baffled why one ought to use flashcards as opposed to good old books. That was never explained that I saw. Now, for all I know, the program works brilliantly and the world just hasn't woken up to it. I am open-minded enough to think that it might, and that Doman and his colleagues simply have not done their own methods justice in this book. Indeed, like any parent who wants the best for his children, I was rooting for the authors. After all, I already knew that very small children can be taught to read (search YouTube for "baby reading" for some remarkable videos).
But I was very disappointed. I was prepared to do without research data (albeit very reluctantly). I was prepared to try to analyze individual cases and theories--but there really aren't any here, not of any weight. You just get some nice generalizations about smart children--nothing at all like a case study--and then an explanation of how to make and use "bits of intelligence," without any explanation whatsoever of how using bits on babies will turn them into the wunderkinder.
Suppose the program is as wonderful and brilliant as Doman promises. Suppose Doman's motivations are as admirable as he tiresomely portrays them (he says children have the right to be made intelligent, and says several times how certain wunderkinder are his favorite people, and how he tears up when their feats of brilliance show how his program works, to the astonishment of the unbelievers). And he's been at this for many decades; he's pushing 90. Suppose he firmly and sincerely believes his hype. Then why on Earth would he not go out of his way to test his claims scientifically? Or to let or encourage someone else test them? I must assume that there are no supportive studies, because they aren't reported on in this book. But that then makes the book utterly useless from a scientific point of view. Doesn't Doman and the staff at his Institutes know that if science proves him right, many more people will follow the methods? Wouldn't that further their inherently philanthropic mission?
I mean no insult to any of the well-meaning mothers and others using Doman's methods--indeed I mean no *insult* to anyone at all. For all I know, you're doing the right thing for your children and you have given them a lot of useful knowledge. Bravo for that. Indeed I might try my own little unscientific experimentation with my own little boy and some online powerpoint "bits." This review is not about you or Doman's methods, it is about Doman's very disappointing book.
Two stars, for passing along a few interesting ideas about how to entertain kids, who definitely are like little sponges and who desperately want to learn.