20 October 2014

Items to Share: 19 October 2014

Education Focus
  • The Missing Link | Webs of Substance 'I think that we can all agree that Bloom’s taxonomy is a terrible way of viewing learning. This is not because it really isn’t based on anything. Although it really isn’t; it’s just something that a committee of worthy people made-up. It is not even because Bloom’s tries to generalise the movement from simple to complex across widely different subjects. Clearly, different subjects proceed from simple to complex in their own sweet ways and Bloom’s just encourages whole-staff training meetings where people talk in vague and general terms. However, this is still not the main problem. Talking in vague and general terms might be a waste of time but it is not actively harmful.'
  • Why Doctors Need Stories - NYTimes.com 'In the past 20 years, clinical vignettes have lost their standing. For a variety of reasons, including a heightened awareness of medical error and a focus on cost cutting, we have entered an era in which a narrow, demanding version of evidence-based medicine prevails. As a writer who likes to tell stories, I’ve been made painfully aware of the shift. The inclusion of a single anecdote in a research overview can lead to a reprimand, for reliance on storytelling.' So also for education?
  • Brain baloney has no place in the classroom | Pete Etchells | Science | theguardian.com 'Unfortunately, because they’ve been around for so long, neuromyths have taken hold in a broad range of aspects of everyday life. Nowhere is this more problematic than in the education system. A new article in Nature Reviews Neuroscience this week has cast a critical eye on the issue, and reveals some worrying statistics about the extent to which brain baloney have infiltrated the beliefs of teachers around the world.'
  • Instructional Design Based on Cognitive Theory | Faculty Focus '“Stop thinking as a subject matter expert and start thinking as a designer. Try to remember what it was like not to be an expert. I think that, at a certain point, if you know something so well, you almost assume everyone else does. [the 'curse of knowledge' (my insertion)] Sometimes you forget the struggles you had learning a particular concept. Oftentimes if you can step back from the subject matter expert role and think as an outside objective observer, a lot of these things take care of themselves,”
  • Some Surprising Findings About Learning in the Classroom | Mempowered 'The quality of the teacher doesn't affect how much students learn (that doesn't mean it doesn't affect other factors — e.g., interest and motivation). Low ability students learn just as much as high ability students when exposed to the same experiences. More able students learn more because they seek out other learning opportunities. Tests, more than measuring a student’s learning, reflect the student’s motivation.'
  • A Don’s Life: A Latin learning parable 'There is a bigger issue here about the whole basis of learning -- and the need to break the increasingly common assumption that you are only "learning" when you are "being taught", when actually you are learning best when your head hurts in the library (that's a fact that sits uneasily next to the idea that you should divide your £9k a year by the number of contact hours you are receiving....).
  • The surplus model of school improvement | David Didau: The Learning Spy 'Great school needs great systems. And a system which fails to value the contribution of every member of its workforce is a long way from great. The deficit model recognises that some teachers ‘get it’. They comply, they’re able to juggle impossible demands and somehow perform the Monkey Dance on cue. They are rewarded. And everyone one else is under threat. But not because they’re not working hard, but because they’re not meeting the expectations of ‘experts’.
  • The Surprising Problem of Too Much Talent - Scientific American  'For both basketball and soccer, [researchers] found that top talent did in fact predict team success, but only up to a point. Furthermore, there was not simply a point of diminishing returns with respect to top talent, there was in fact a cost. Basketball and soccer teams with the greatest proportion of elite athletes performed worse than those with more moderate proportions of top level players.
  • Why is Singapore's school system so successful, and is it a model for the West? [theconversation.com] 'What then do Singaporean teachers do in classrooms that is so special, bearing in mind that there are substantial differences in classroom practices between – as well as within – the top-performing countries? What are the particular strengths of Singapore’s instructional regime that helps it perform so well? What are its limits and constraints?' See also here.

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