Staring At Pictures Without Context Helps Children Read: The Continuing Story of Dr Steve Ingersoll

Monday , 4, January 2016 Leave a comment

While the federal circuit court in Bay City gives those of us paying attention to Steve Ingersoll’s sentencing hearing January blue balls, Miss Fortune continues to share what she’s learned from the testimony given during December court proceedings. Bay City Academy’s in debt so bad they sent an unapproved debt reduction plan to the state … but the Michigan Department of Education still doesn’t see any need to cut the failing school’s funding. We also learned that after Ingersoll’s conviction, he tried to secure a loan from a bank to start a new visual learning school program with his business partners, former LSSU Charter School office director Bruce Harger and Grand Traverse Academy board president Brad Habermehl.

But what really caught the Up North Progressive’s eye was the news that Steve Ingersoll and Mark Noss are still peddling their icon mapping software as a tutoring package through the Excel Institute in Traverse City. They’re not calling it Icon Curriculum Mapping anymore, they call it Icon Learning; any opportunity to get a glimpse of this enigmatic and elusive curriculum that’s supposed to revolutionize education, especially for students with learning disabilities can’t be missed!

The description of the method used is sufficiently vague enough to not give any real information on what the method actually is or how it’s going to help children learn, except to assure the reader that they are very successful in teaching children how to learn.

Our Method

The primary step of the icon Learning methodology is to teach students a learning technique that will improve performance across all academic subjects. We have reviewed the state of Michigan education requirements for all grade levels to ensure that our lessons correlate directly with the lessons the student receives at school.

Traditional teaching methods tend to start at the beginning of a subject and continue to introduce basic information details in a linear form. Through the icon Learning method, every time a new factor is introduced (e.g. a new U.S. president) we reference back to the word web so that students can properly place the information they receive into the order it belongs. (What?)

Our learning strategy has repeatedly proven to be successful, no matter what the lesson content has been. By reorganizing course content in ways that encourage visual learning, we have been able to teach children how to learn differently, ultimately correcting insufficiencies in learning habits.

Let’s take a look at the sample Social Studies lesson designed to help children read the US Constitution:

Okay, these symbols are supposed to have something to do with the preamble to the US Constitution? It’s hard to tell when there’s no context. Let’s see the next part:

This image includes a cat – thought bubble – letter U – onion. Oh wait, in order for the struggling reader to better understand the image designed to give him clues about the US Constitution, he has to READ THE WORD IN THE THOUGHT BUBBLE for the images to make sense.

But it doesn’t make any sense. What does purr U onion have to do with the preamble to the constitution? How does going through these mental gymnastics help the child read? Let’s take a look at a science lesson.

Here we have something that’s supposed to teach the student about conductive heat. If you needed more proof that Icon Learning is just repackaged Icon Curriculum Mapping, here it is. This image used to be on the Icon Curriculum Mapping website.

Con duck … get it? Burnt finger hot stove and that’s conductive heat kids. It gets better, what could they possibly do with something more complex, like atomic structures?

So here we have the symbol for American Atheists paired with a half-built outhouse. Below that is a politician, Newt politician, and a cat donut leaning against one of those big weights that fallsl on Loony Toons characters.

The biggest problem with this so-called curriculum is <B>where is the context?</B> How does a man named Ron who kids may or may not understand is running for election teach a child about atomic structures? A look at Bay City Academy’s science test scores answers that question. It doesn’t.

Bonus image just for fun:


It’s horrifying that even after his conviction, Steve Ingersoll continues to come up with another business model where he can successfully scam desperate parents into paying for this “vision therapy curriculum”. Without context, how does a child really learn from Icon Mapping? Setting up children to fail using untested curriculum is abusive. Where is the evidence that Icon Learning is aligned with state curriculum standards?

Up North Progressive bets the answer to that question is never. If anyone have evidence that Ingersoll aligned Icon Learning to the state standards, pretty please share? Anyone willing to share more examples of IVL or Icon Learning are more than welcome to send an email.

Leave a Reply