02 December 2014

Items to Share: 30 November 2014

Education Focus
  • The crisis in adult education | The Learning Age '[T]here is a growing crisis in adult participation in education and training, with stark implications both for our economy and our democracy. If the trend continues it will soon be necessary to reinvent from scratch a part of the education system which has taken over a century to build up.
  • Why ‘triple marking’ is wrong (and not my fault) | David Didau: The Learning Spy  '[T]eachers should not [mark] students’ work for accuracy. If we point out their mistakes, there is no impetus to complete work accurately first time round. By insisting that the minimum expectation for written work is that it be proofread before it’s handed in, we make committing careless errors burdensome. If they know they will be expected to correct these mistakes before you are prepared to mark their work then they will learn that it easier to write correctly first time round. And if they don’t know how to correct an error then they will be requesting feedback at the point that they are ready to learn. Any input we give is far more likely to have impact than any amount of unsolicited advice.'
  • Older people may be better learners than we think '“The take-home message the study authors gave was that healthy older people are good at learning,” said Professor Henry Brodaty, co-Director of the Centre for Healthy Brain Ageing (CHeBA) at UNSW. “They have the same plasticity, but they’re not as good at filtering out other information.”[...] The brain needs to be able to easily learn new information (plasticity), and filter out irrelevant information (stability). The experiment was designed to test whether ageing affects the brain’s plasticity, stability, or both.' 
  • Psychophysiology of blackboard teaching | Mathematics under the Microscope (Alexander Borovik) 'Mathematics teaching is not a science. It is an art. [...] Moreover, it is a performance art, like drama or ballet, and should be treated as such. Unsurprisingly, ballet dancers are very fussy about the state of the stage floor: they need a surface with just right level of friction, support and spring. Normally, we are very fussy about the quality of the blackboard surface -I can tell a lot on that subject. Unfortunately, we are reduced to fighting for continuing existence of our old blackboards; we do not even dare to raise the issue of their quality.' [This is an old post which I have just re-discovered, but still worth sharing.]
  • The “New” Professional Standards | Sam Shepherd (for teachers in FE) 'There is a general sense that the best development comes not from some advanced practitioner/consultant/manager telling you what is “best practice” (a phrase happily absent in the standards, you will note) but rather through working together. This places the emphasis on action research, peer observations, and raises the value of those staff room discussions about what is and isn’t working in class. To my mind, this shift from top down cascading of “best practice” to critical joint practice development is no bad thing at all.' 
Other Business
  • Leonard Cohen and smoking in old age | OUPblog 'Leonard Cohen’s decision to take up cigarettes again at 80 reveals a well kept secret about older age: you can finally live it up and stop worrying about the consequences shortening your life by much.'
  • What do fans of Spotify and meat pies have in common? [theconversation.com] 'Before the era of big data we believed that the inter-relationships between cultural preferences were esoteric, idiosyncratic, and very difficult to predict. The YouGov profiler indicates that they are anything but. I’m off now to find out what meat pie lovers have in common with jazz fans.'

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