21 October 2013

Items to Share; 20 October

Education Focus
  • Howard Gardner: ‘Multiple intelligences’ are not ‘learning styles 'The theory became highly popular with K-12 educators around the world seeking ways to reach students who did not respond to traditional approaches, but over time, “multiple intelligences” somehow became synonymous with the concept of “learning styles.” In this important post, Gardner explains why the former is not the latter.' This is indeed a short but important post, as Gardner dissociates himself from "learning styles"--but what took him so long?
  • Gamification  --the use of competition in teaching, and Best Practice from Sam Shepherd  'Any talk of best practice is dangerous talk. For one, despite proposals to carry out clinical-type randomised control trials in education, and huge meta-analyses of research, it’s quite challenging and difficult to prove that any one intervention is inherently and universally better than another.'
  • Facets of Mastersness A Framework for Masters level study  'In considering the answers to the question, "What does it mean to be a Master’s- level student and how are they supported in making that transition?”, the Learning from International Practice project has developed a framework to help make sense of some of the different dimensions of ‘Mastersness’. My less formal take on writing at M level is here.
  • The Heritability of Intelligence: Not What You Think  'According to the traditional “investment” theory, intelligence can be classified into two main categories: fluid and crystallized. Differences in fluid intelligence are thought to reflect novel, on-the-spot reasoning, whereas differences in crystallized intelligence are thought to reflect previously acquired knowledge and skills. According to this theory, crystallized intelligence develops through the investment of fluid intelligence in a particular body of knowledge.' ...and it may well be wrong. A quite detailed discussion of contrary evidence--presupposes some background knowledge but the gist is clear.
  • The Psychology of Getting Unstuck: How to Overcome the “OK Plateau” of Performance and Personal Growth | Brain Pickings '“Any sequence of mental action which has been frequently repeated tends to perpetuate itself,” William James wrote in his influential meditation on habit, ”so that we find ourselves automatically prompted to think, feel, or do what we have been before accustomed to think, feel, or do, under like circumstances.” As we’ve seen, one of the most insidious forms of such habitual autopilot — which evolved to help lighten our cognitive load yet is a double-edged sword that can also hurt us — is our mercilessly selective everyday attention, but the phenomenon is particularly perilous when it comes to learning new skills.'... 
  • ...and, related: The practice of practising – Telegraph Blogs 'Concert pianists spend much more of their lifetimes practising than they do playing concerts. It's not just that pieces need to be kept in the memory (muscle and mind), but the very act of playing the piano is physical and athletic. It involves reflex and endurance...
  • What science teachers need to know danielwillingham. Hattie argues that feedback from students to teachers about where they (students) get things wrong is very valuable--here's some empirical work on the capacity of teachers to pick up on it.
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