Entries Tagged 'Book Thoughts' ↓

The learning style myth — again

This is for all those “learning styles” and research-based advocates.

“Another nail in the coffin for learning styles” – students did not benefit from studying according to their supposed learning style

Here is an older one:

Why learning styles don’t exist, by Daniel Willingham

Do you consider yourself a fool to believe? Or do you continue to believe because it is one of those things you “just believe.”

The problem is deeper than this myth about teaching and learning. I am still waiting for research-based advocates to come here and describe situations where learning improved through the application of what research found to be effective. Simply answer four questions:

  1. What was the research finding?
  2. What was done to apply the finding?
  3. What were the results?
  4. How do you know that applying the research caused the results?

When answering the first question, be sure to describe the understanding that was deepened by the research finding. When answering the second question, be sure to describe the imagination, strength, courage, humility, and generosity that were needed to apply the finding. When describing the results, be sure to explain how they reflect your definition of what it means to be educated. And finally, answer the last question by admitting that you have no idea if the results were caused by the application of findings or any number of factors.

 

25 years later, it’s still the same.

According to this article,

http://inservice.ascd.org/the-stark-realities-of-teacher-evaluation-with-hope-for-the-future/?utm_source=facebook&utm_campaign=Social-Organic&utm_medium=social

Most observers and teachers would agree upon three consistent points of contention around traditional teacher evaluation: 1) perceived inequities in the system, 2) models that are too complex for teachers to understand, and 3) lack of meaningful feedback to support teacher growth. How can our next generation of evaluation systems address these issues?

These are not the main points of contention, but #2 reflects the primary point of contention — that traditional teacher evaluation is an insult to teachers and the art of teaching. It is right there, in the claim that teachers are too stupid to understand complex models. Is more proof needed for the insulting nature of teacher evaluation? It is not surprising that the publishing organization is the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development – an educational organization that has always set itself apart from all those stupid teachers.

If you want to understand the real issues, read “Undervision” (1993) at:

http://paws.wcu.edu/churley/articles612.html

Twenty-five years later, the answer to the question at the end of the italicized paragraph is the same. The next generation of evaluation systems can address the real issues by adopting “undervision” instead of supervision.

BTW — prior to publication, the repeated objection of reviewers was that I should find a better term than “undervision.” Evidently, those who write about teacher evaluation, do not like a term that reverses the relative positions of teachers and supervisors. I kept “undervision,” so they would know and feel exactly how teachers feel about “supervision.”

Good and bad

Is teaching an art or something else?

It is both — good teaching is an art, bad teaching is something else.

Read about it here:

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/soul-teacher-myrrl-byler-the-influence-of-a-high_us_5a5aeca6e4b01ccdd48b5d2d

 

 

Trump University Settlement

Donald Trump has settled for $25,000,000. Of course there is no admission of wrong-doing; but I have a different take on this. I call this being a loser; and I don’t like losers. Donald Trump — you are such a LOSER!

(Remember Donald — imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.)

 

“Rigged” irony

If he does not win the presidential election, Donald Trump said it will be because the political system is rigged. From the day of his birth, Trump has benefited from the rigged system we call capitalism. Here is my suggestion for how educators can teach about the extent to which capitalism is rigged.

We all played Monopoly as children. Teachers should teach economics by having students play Monopoly for short periods over the course of the year. Instead of starting with the same amount of Monopoly money, however, each student would start with the amount of money in inverse proportion to his/her family’s wealth. Poor students would be given the number of dollars that corresponds to starting as a wealthy family; and students in wealthy families, would be given the number of dollars that corresponds to starting as a poor family. Then — roll the dice.

Where are the economics professors interested in creating an algorithm teachers could use to make sure poor students get the Monopoly advantages experienced by wealthy families and wealthy students get the Monopoly disadvantages experienced by poor families? I am giving this idea to anybody who wants to create the algorithm. The profits are yours.

Furthermore, students would learn a lot from this data-driven approach to teaching. I love irony. (The irony, of course, is that no superintendent or school board would allow this game to be played, even though it is a “data-driven” approach to learning — what they claim to want.)

Trump Dilemma

Republicans are wringing their hands over the Trump candidacy. It has nothing to do with the candidate’s unfavorables, rhetoric, style, personality, or business record. It has to do with polls that show he will lose battleground states and the election.

The Republican party has two options. Divide the party by dumping Trump (and losing the election), or divide the party by keeping Trump (and losing the election).

If I am wrong, and Trump is elected, the American electorate will have demonstrated the three vices taught in our public schools:

  1. intellectual incompetence (Don’t think for yourself.)
  2. fear of truth (America may not be the greatest country in the world.)
  3. pride (first of the seven deadly sins).

Update (post election):

I was wrong. Let’s see what happens in the next four years.

Why can’t teachers improve public education?

The elephant in the room of school improvement discussions is the educatedness of the teaching force. During their own school-going days, teachers were taught to be understanding, strong, and generous. Unfortunately, they were also taught to be unimaginative, fearful of truth, and proud. Therefore, even with new technologies, teaching materials and opportunities, teachers lack the imagination, courage, and humility needed to create richer classroom experiences.

You can’t see this, however, if your definition of “educated” is being knowledgeable and skillful, or having college degrees. All recommendations for improving education are rooted in the definition of “educated.” Are teachers asking what it means to be educated in their public school or school of choice? Are parents asking what it means to be educated when they choose a school?

Oh — I forgot — that would require imagination, strength and humility. If we mix metaphors here, we have a Catch-22. Those who want to improve America’s public schools lack the virtues needed to improve them because they attended them.

Science that really matters

When educators make sure the “science” part of STEM focuses on building a healthier, more physically fit society, I will be its biggest proponent. Here is the plan:

  1. School boards establish standards for the improvement of health and fitness of its middle and high school graduates.
  2. Schools, teachers and students are rewarded for meeting or exceeding the health and fitness standards set for them. And, of course, they are punished for failing to meet them.

Students are taught the science behind all aspects of healthy living — diet, exercise, leisure, bio-metrics, and fitness. And their learning is evaluated by their health and fitness results. Naturally, everybody would work with Physical Education teachers to improve student health and fitness; which is, by far, the most important science related to the science portion of STEM.

Until then, public education’s emphasis on ScienceTEM is just more learning of unimportant facts. We teach enough of those already.

 

Losing the war? It’s our own fault. Part 2

If you want more proof that privatizers are winning the school reform war, just look at this paragraph from an article in the New York Times about a criminal investigation of school district employees in Montclair, New Jersey (the nature of the investigation is not pertinent to this blog):

Many battles have been fought in recent years between education reformers — who generally favor high-stakes testing and the data-based evaluation of teachers — and those with a more progressive approach to schooling. But nowhere, it seems, is the fight more pitched than in this liberal, diverse township of nearly 38,000 about 20 miles from New York City.

Look at the first sentence. The position of privatizers is clear — they “generally favor high-stakes testing and the data-based evaluation of teachers.” Who can argue with that? Privatizers win because their argument is simple and clear.

Hey Progressives! What is our succinct, clear explanation of, “a more progressive approach to schooling?”

For more on this topic, go to Losing the War, Part 1.

It’s social science, not science

The internet headline reads:

Science says parents of successful kids have these 11 things in common

Let’s go over this one more time:

  1. “Science says” does not mean a study found cause and effect. It means a social scientific study found correlations.
  2. “successful kids” means what the study says it means – nothing more, nothing less. Therefore, the findings (11 things) depend 100% on the study’s definition of “successful.” We don’t know how much they pertain to your personal definition of “successful.”
  3. “these 11 things in common” – If you have worldly experience, you don’t need to read them. If you have no worldly experience, you don’t need to read them either. You need to get some worldly experience.

Update

In case the point about social science research is not obvious, here is the first paragraph from Does Your Child’s Name Influence Whether They Grow Up to Be Smart?

Want to give your baby a head start on becoming a genius? You might want to consider nixing those unique, hipster baby names from your list. Genealogy research website MooseRoots compiled the names of nearly 15,000 philosophers, writers, mathematicians, scientists, inventors, artists, composers, Nobel laureates and MacArthur fellows to make up a list of the most common names of geniuses — and none were the kind of trendy names celeb babies have been given recently.
Of course the answer to the headline question is, “No.” As I finished reading, however, the real purpose of this “research” was clear. The last paragraph has links to websites (which I removed).
If these names don’t exactly appeal to your sensibilities, you could always look at new baby-naming trends, most popular baby names around the world, most popular baby names by decade or baby names inspired by global cities for more ideas!
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Just follow the money.