04 November 2014

Items to Share: 2 November 2014

Education Focus
  • What is school like for a child with learning difficulties? [theconversation.com] 'The term “learning difficulties” is the hand grenade of education. Throw the terminology around and teachers, students, parents and school community members react widely and, at times, wildly. Some individuals ponder the term, others run frantically for a book to elicit a “definition” or “diagnostic term”, some consult with colleagues and professionals, yet others hide their heads in their hands or behind a desk.'

  • Seven 'great' teaching methods not backed up by evidence [theconversation.com] 'We also think it is useful to look at what hasn’t been shown to work, even if this may seem a rather negative way to focus on improvement. Many ineffective teaching practices seem to be quite popular, even though most evidence is anecdotal and selective.'

  • Donald Clark Plan B: Educational research largely useless - no costs, no bite 'The truth may be hard to bear here, but much educational research is meaningless in the sense of having no real chance of impact and change, as it does not carry through to Cost Effectiveness Analysis (CEA). [...] Without a truly rigorous Cost Effectiveness Analysis in education we will continue to spend huge amounts of money on fruitless research. The lesson is clear link effectiveness to costs. If you don’t the research will fall into the category of ‘inconclusive’. That means no evidence-based change will happen.'
  • Donald Clark Plan B: ‘Mindfulness’ yet another mindless fad in education 'There’s a new fad on the block being forced on our kids – mindfulness. In truth, it’s not new at all. It goes back to Buddhism, Freud, then Rogers and the relentless effort to get therapeutic theory into education. But there’s plenty of reasons for rejecting this particular manifestation of mindful madness.'

  • Donald Clark Plan B: Anders Ericsson: practice, practice, practice 'A welcome antidote to social constructivist theories, Ericsson focuses on the mind, memory and deliberate practice as the road to successful learning. Far from being an advocate of rote learning, he is an advocate of sophisticated, incremental steps in learning, with feedback and challenge, that lead to increased performance. This is all too often absent in learning, whether in the acquisition of knowledge or skills.'
  • Turning the tanker: lesson grading | David Didau: The Learning Spy 'Grading individual lessons is a practice that simply must end. Ofsted have declared (and reiterated, twice) that they do not grade individual lessons. It is time for schools to follow suit. It is a process that is damaging to teachers, and therefore it is damaging to pupils and the profession. I am certainly not against appraising teaching – I think that it is a necessity to ensure standards – but all of the evidence tells us that grading lessons doesn’t appraise teaching accurately or effectively.'
  • How the "culture of assessment" fuels academic dishonesty [3quarksdaily.com] ' We hear the phrase "academic dishonesty" and we immediately whistle for our moral high horse. But too much moralistic tongue-clicking can blind us to the ways in which we who constitute the system contribute to the very malady we lament. '

  • Maximize In-Class Time by Moving Student Presentations Online [facultyfocus.com] '
    Student presentations [...] require a wealth of time for each student to present and get immediate feedback from peers and the instructor. Some classes are so large that in-class presentations may not be feasible at all. Or,[...] you would have to use several of your 50-minute class sessions to allow each student a chance to present his or her work. What’s more, some students have a difficult time listening to dozens of peer presentations in one sittings and may tune out after the first few presentations. [...] The answer for me is virtual student presentations, which allow students to research scholarly literature related to course content, present their findings, and receive peer feedback; all outside of class time.'
Other Business

  • New Statesman | Growing old disgracefully: a deconstruction of death Review of Atul Gawande's Being Mortal, by Henry Marsh. 'By writing a book about death and dying, and the way in which modern medicine so often only makes the experience worse, he will, he concedes, be raising for some “the spectre of a society readying itself to sacrifice its sick and aged. But,” he asks, “what if the sick and aged are already being sacrificed – victims of our refusal to accept the inexorability of our life cycle? And what if there are better approaches, right in front of our eyes, waiting to be recognised?”'
  • A Real Life Milgram Experiment [marginalrevolution.com] '
    discusses a real world Milgram “experiment” in which people obeyed an authority figure to an astounding degree, even when the authority figure was just on the telephone.

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