robertogreco + traditional   15

Science / Fiction — Carol Black
"‘Evidence-based’ education, scientific racism, & how learning styles became a myth."



"1. The Debunkers
2. The Map and the Territory
3. The Evidence
4. The Territory Beyond the Map
5. Here Be Dragons"



"A disturbing feature of this discourse in education is the frequency with which it takes the form of male researchers and pundits telling female educators that their views on learning are cognitively childish and irrational and should therefore be disregarded. Cognitive psychologist Daniel Willingham, a prominent debunker, has shared some rather patronizing speculations as to why the vast majority of (mostly female) teachers persist in thinking their students have different learning styles ("I think learning styles theory is widely accepted because the idea is so appealing. It would be so nice if it were true.") His paternal tone is especially disturbing since he makes his case by failing to mention the existence of legitimate competing views from respected scientists and education researchers."



"But despite the debunkers' undeniable passion on the topic, the fact is that there are extremely reputable scientists on both sides of this debate. In other words, as Grundmann and Stehr put it, "the basic rift in these debates is not between lay people and experts but between two alliances that advocate different courses of action based on divergent basic values and knowledge claims... we see representatives of science and the lay public on both sides."

So what are the two alliances in the case of learning styles? And what are their divergent basic values?

Luckily, you don't have to dig very deep to find out. If you review the writings of the most vocal learning styles 'debunkers,' you quickly find that they are almost always simply advocates for traditional, teacher-controlled direct instruction. They tend to favor a traditional "core knowledge" curriculum, traditional forms of discipline, and they adhere to a traditional IQ-based view of intelligence. In other words, they’re just educational conservatives. (In the UK they openly call themselves "trads" as opposed to "progs.") They trumpet any research that supports their preferences and ignore or attempt to discredit any research that leans the other way. They don't like progressive or self-directed or culturally relevant approaches to education. They don't tend to concern themselves overmuch with less tangible aspects of children's well-being like, say, "happiness" or "creativity" or "mental health." They define "what works" in education in terms of test scores.

But the reality is that you can’t say ‘what works” in education until you answer the question: works for what? As Yong Zhao explains in “What Works May Hurt: Side Effects in Education,” it’s reasonable to assume, in education as in medicine, that any given intervention may have negative as well as positive effects; if we want to claim to be evidence-based, we need to look at both. What raises test scores may lower creativity or intrinsic motivation, and vice versa; this study, for example, found that direct instruction hastened young children's mastery of a specific task, but lowered exploratory behavior. So “what the research supports” depends on what you value, what you care most about, what kind of life you want for your children."



"The first thing to understand about learning styles is that there is no agreed-on definition of the term. Multiple frameworks have been proposed, from the popular Visual-Auditory-Kinesthetic framework, to the Concrete-Abstract framework, to the Holistic-Analytical, Impulsive-Reflective, Convergent-Divergent, Field-Dependent-Field-Independent, Cognitive-Affective-Physiological –– one literature review identified 71 different models. As Kirschner and van Merriënboer grouse, if we consider each learning style as dichotomous (e.g. visual vs. verbal) that means there are 2 to the power of 71 possible combinations of learning styles – more than the number of people alive on earth.

They say that like it’s a bad thing. But as astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson remarked recently, “In science, when human behavior enters the equation, things go nonlinear. That's why physics is easy and sociology is hard.”

Zhang and her frequent collaborators Robert Sternberg and Stephen Rayner, co-editors of The Handbook of Intellectual Styles, are not fans of the 'debunkers.' They use the term intellectual style as an "umbrella term for all style constructs," (including learning styles, cognitive styles, perceptual styles, and thinking styles) which relate to "people's preferred ways of processing information and dealing with tasks." (Notice the word "preferred" here, since that will come up later.) As these authors see it, intellectual style differences are complex, involving cognitive, affective, physiological, psychological, and sociological dimensions. Researchers Maria Kozhevnikov, Carol Evans, and Stephen Kosslyn use the term cognitive style (which includes learning style constructs), to describe "patterns of adaptation to the external world that develop through interaction with the surrounding environment on the basis of innate predispositions, the interactions among which are shaped by changing environmental demands."

The most promising style constructs, in Kozhevnikov's view, are not the narrow visual-auditory-kinesthetic (V-A-K) perceptual categories, but the richer constructs of "context-dependency vs. independency, rule-based vs. intuitive processing, internal vs. external locus of control, and integration vs. compartmentalization." These cognitive tendencies are neither set in stone nor completely malleable; they intersect with cognition at multiple levels, from perception to concept formation to higher-order cognitive processing to meta-cognitive processing.

So it's complicated. And yet despite what researchers Elena Grigorenko and Samuel Mandelman call "the very fine texture" of the "intertwined threads of intelligence and personality" that make learning styles so devilishly hard to define, in practice these differences are not at all difficult to see.

Which is probably why somewhere between 75 and 90% of teachers believe they exist.

In self-directed learning situations where children are able to follow their curiosity in their own ways, differences that might be muted or masked in a controlled instruction setting become very clearly visible. Sensory preferences intersect with social, emotional, and cognitive differences in complex and individual ways that profoundly shape how each child enters and explores and takes hold of the world. One child will spend quiet hours poring over illustrated books about science or history; another child is quickly bored by those, but gets deeply engaged in active social projects like building or filmmaking or citizen science. One child listens in on adult conversations and remembers everything she hears, absorbing knowledge like a sponge; another child creates and constructs knowledge in her own hands-on ways, writing her first book before she reads one. One child is observant and cautious, always making sure of things before venturing into unfamiliar terrain; another child is bold and intuitive, diving in head first and filling in the gaps later in a "fake it till you make it" spirit. The river moves steadily toward the sea, but it follows many divergent pathways, and the shortest distance between two points may not be a straight line.

In other words, human learning differences are complex, multi-dimensional, and difficult to definitively pin down, but this much is clear: the kids have different styles of learning. So how does something so intuitively obvious and readily observed cease to exist in the eyes of the debunkers?"



"The debunkers admit that people have fairly stable learning preferences. They also admit that people have variable abilities in visual v. auditory memory, etc. When you combine preference with ability –– e.g. "I have a good visual memory, and I prefer information presented visually" –– that’s probably what many speakers of the English language understand by the term “learning style.”

So that thing? That exists.

But here’s where the crucial elision occurs, and the claim shifts to the matching hypothesis. In a literature review of learning styles research, Pashler et al. state it this way: the theory of learning styles is only confirmed if we can successfully sort individuals into groups “for which genuine group-by-treatment interactions can be demonstrated.”

What are “group-by-treatment” interactions? Well, in this scenario the teacher diagnoses and sorts the learners into groups, applies a randomized instructional “treatment” to each group, and then administers a test to determine which “treatment” worked better –– like a drug trial.

It's important to note that the debunkers' claim is thus based almost entirely on studies of teacher-controlled direct instruction; they don't involve scenarios where learners have agency. But the problem with studying learning in teacher-controlled settings is that it may be unclear whether you're measuring something about the learning or something about the teaching. In other words, you have to be sure that "Treatment A" isn't just a better or more interesting lesson than "Treatment B."

How can you solve that problem? Simple. By excluding from the list of methodologically acceptable studies anything that involves the kind of creative activities that good teachers might come up with to address the needs of diverse learners.

From the standpoint of strict scientific method, this is, of course, correct; your experimental protocol should control every variable except the one you're testing. How can you achieve this? By further simplification, of course: by creating a lesson so lacking in complexity that it can’t possibly be interesting to anyone. Like memorizing a random list of words.

Here’s where you run … [more]
carolblack  learningstyles  evidence  2018  paulkirschner  jeroenvanmerriënboer  li-fangzhang  mariakozhevnikov  carolevans  elenagrigorenko  stephenkosslyn  robertsternberg  learning  education  data  danielwillingham  daviddidau  joanneyatvin  power  yongzhao  research  unschooling  deschooling  directinstruction  children  happiness  creativity  well-being  iq  intelligence  traditional  testing  intrinsicmotivation  mastery  behavior  howwelearn  self-directed  self-directedlearning  ignorance  franksmith  race  racism  oppression  intersectionality  coreknowledge  schooling  schooliness  homeschool  multiliteracies  differences  hierarchy  participation  participatory  democracy  leannebetasamosakesimpson  andrealandry  pedagogy  teaching  howweteach  colonization  leisterman  ibramkendi  standardizedtesting  standardization  onesizefitsall  cornelpewewardy  cedarriener  yanaweinstein 
june 2018 by robertogreco
Deborah Meier's Blog on Education: February 2012 - Trip to Japan
"My son reminded them that it was not so long ago when teachers and politicians in America were told that Japanese schools were the future. Why can’t we do as they do, we were asked? Before that it was Russian schools. And since then it’s been Singapore and now Finland. We were told Japanese children were obedient and hard working, although listening to the teacher talk last week it was clear that they were having virtually all the same problems we were and moving in the same direction we are. They found our description of Japanese education amusing.

There is a lot of educational turmoil there as here, as two “factions” battle for the future: those wanting a more rigid, centralized, exam-driven top-down approach and those who believe the Japanese have to move in a progressive direction if they are to become innovators as well as followers—economically and politically."
debate  comparison  international  standardizedtesting  obedience  testing  traditional  progressive  policy  via:cervus  education  2012  japan  deborahmeier  from delicious
february 2012 by robertogreco
Report: Blended learning could hit or miss | Policy | eSchoolNews.com
"The big danger with integrating technology into education, said Horn, is “that we do what we’ve always done, which is to implement it as a sustaining innovation rather than a disruptive one—that we simply layer technology over the traditional system, which would then co-opt it.”"
education  technology  onlinelearning  learning  edtech  1to1  blendedlearning  traditional  1:1  from delicious
february 2011 by robertogreco
The 21st Century Classroom – Alfie Kohn — Open Education
"It is interesting to note that for many children, middle & high school becomes the place where school is no longer enjoyable. It is, of course, at that time that students traditionally have been subject to a shift from student-centered classroom to teacher-centered, content-driven academic approach. The result is that school, instead of being a place where students look forward to going each day because it features an exciting atmosphere where learning new things is enjoyable, becomes a chore at best, a problem at worst. At the very age when students most resist compliance & teacher-centered approaches, too many teachers, &, by default, too many schools insist on employing such a format. Because of the sophistication needed educationally, there is no doubt that 21st century classrooms demand shift from ‘sage on the stage’ to ‘guide on the side’ approach. That move is a requirement to produce the type of student that will excel in creative, technologically-rich world we face."
21stcenturylearning  professionaldevelopment  administration  pedagogy  learning  education  leadership  teaching  tcsnmy  lcproject  middleschool  progressive  student-centered  teacherasmasterlearner  schools  schooling  highschool  traditional  alfiekohn 
may 2010 by robertogreco
Why is everyone an expert on education?: Series « Human
"So what is being learnt when education is run and organised as a science? That your performances measure you – that you are quantifiable. You learn how to see yourself as a particular type of student/teacher, and grow to see this as ‘normal’ – the business of schools becomes normative measuring and pedagogy becomes sterile, limited, controlling and superficial. But gee it looks clean! ... Do you want to live in a world full of docile, easily managed consumers, uncritically bent on amassing wealth and lacking the capacity to perceive reality beyond the personal ambition “as long as they are OK”, the kind produced by schooling and rewards of (primarily) individual effort? We can’t value highly individualised effort and rewards (hey, the government wants me to rank students!) then, confusingly, expect the kids to be highly ‘collaborative’."
education  history  policy  us  change  progressive  traditional  tcsnmy  irasocol  schools  schooling  cooperation  collaboration  future  unschooling  deschooling  rewards  testing  standards  standardizedtesting  ranking  assessment  success  consumerism  economics  globalwarming 
january 2010 by robertogreco
Alfred North Whitehead (1861–1947) - The Nature of Education, Educational Development and the Rhythm of Growth, Universities and Professional Training [via: http://eideneurolearningblog.blogspot.com/2010/01/cognition-without-control-adhd-gifted.html]
"3 stages...[1] Romance...rich educational experiences begin w/ immediate emotional involvement on part of learner. primary acquisition of knowledge involves freshness, enthusiasm & enjoyment of learning...curriculum ought to include appeals to spirit of inquiry w/ which all children are natively endowed...[2] precision concerns "exactness of formulation"...discipline in various languages & grammars of discrete subject matters, particularly science & technical subjects, including logic & spoken languages...most students & teachers are familiar in organized schools & curricula. In isolation...barren, cold, unfulfilling & useless in personal development of children. edu system excessively dominated by...precision reverses myth of Genesis: "In Garden of Eden Adam saw animals before he named them: in traditional system, children named animals before they saw them"...[3] Generalization...incorporation of romance & precision into some general context of serviceable ideas & classifications."
alfrednorthwhitehead  education  progressive  inquiry  stages  learning  tcsnmy  unschooling  schools  schooling  traditional  knowledge  enthusiasm  engagement  loveoflearning  precision  romance  generalization 
january 2010 by robertogreco
De-emphasizing academics, cont. « Re-educate
"Plenty of kids from traditional schools make it out there just fine, with a strong academic education and their integrity intact. But they do it in spite of their schooling, not as a result of it.
progressive  education  schools  traditional  academics  integrity  tcsnmy  lcproject  unschooling  deschooling  change  reform  intrinsicmotivation 
december 2009 by robertogreco
December 18, 2009 – We Are The People We've Been Waiting For | The 3rd Teacher
"Edge is an independent education foundation, based in the UK, which is dedicated to raising the stature of practical and vocational learning to match the emphasis currently placed on traditional academic training. Edge recently produced a documentary titled ‘We Are The People We’ve Been Waiting For.’ The film explores the role of education in equipping our children with the tools they need to face the challenges of our rapidly changing world. The Third Teacher contributor, Ken Robinson, is featured in the film. Here is a short yet powerful trailer:" [more: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VRi8_fXz1D8 AND http://www.wearethepeoplemovie.com/ AND http://www.youtube.com/user/WeAreThePeopleMovie ]
education  kenrobinson  thirdteacher  documentary  traditional  academics  vocational  learning  schools  schooling  diversity  film  lcproject  adaptability  change  reform  society  publicschools  industrial  gamechanging  onesizefitsall  tcsnmy  unschooling  deschooling  reggioemilia 
december 2009 by robertogreco
Tuttle SVC: "Progressive" and "Traditional" Ed [quoting: http://coreknowledge.org/CK/about/print/RavitchDefends.htm]
"The Core Knowledge website: "Ravitch discusses other progressive movements, too, like the social studies movement and the “life-adjustment” movement. The parade of bad ideas she documents would be very depressing if she did not also draw attention to a handful of brave souls who championed traditional education in the face of the progressive onslaught...
dianeravitch  tomhoffman  progressive  traditional  schools  coreknowledge  books  us  history 
december 2009 by robertogreco
Which School is Better? Traditional or Progressive « Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice
"Why is it so hard to get past the idea that there is only one kind of “good” school? The deeply buried but persistent impulse in the United States to create a “one best system” has kept progressives and traditionalists contesting which innovations are best for children, while ignoring that there are more ways than one to get “goodness” in schools.

Until Americans shed the view of a one best school for all, the squabbles over whether a traditional schooling is better than a progressive one will continue. Such a futile war of words ignores a fundamental purpose of public schooling to revitalize democratic virtues in each generation and, most sadly, avoids the many “good” schools that already exist."

[via: http://www.tuttlesvc.org/2009/11/traditional-or-progressive-your-basic.html ]
us  schools  education  publicschools  policy  progressive  traditional  learning  dichotomy  larrycuban  wisdom  tcsnmy  history  democracy  plurality  goodschools 
november 2009 by robertogreco
John Dewey: Education's Charles Darwin - thestar.com
"Dewey...felt that this teaching style was incompatible with the profound industrialization transforming society. Increasing dependence on technology, he reasoned, would demand creative thinkers able to solve problems & be inventive. & in an age when intelligence testing was all the rage, Dewey dissented, believing that all students have an inborn curiosity which should be nurtured. "The notion that intelligence is a personal endowment or personal attainment is the great conceit of the intellectual class, as that of the commercial class is that wealth is something which they personally have wrought & possess." At the time the idea was scandalous. "He was challenging certain social norms. His critique of traditional schooling is very radical." To Dewey, an educated individual is one who can question received wisdom and change the status quo. Education was the most powerful way of effecting not just social cohesion, but social progress."
johndewey  history  education  pedagogy  teaching  schools  progressive  tcsnmy  controversy  traditional  lcproject  unschooling  deschooling  rotelearning  rote 
october 2009 by robertogreco
Borderland › Competitiveness and Excellence
"Competitiveness & excellence are not necessarily related. Competition may lead to excellence, but it may also lead to cheating & lying. Or it may lead to more benign perversions, like data mining & “public relations” initiatives that focus on quality indicators, rather than quality itself...story about how colleges may manipulate their rankings in US News & World Report’s list of top universities. But data mining and publicity campaigns aren’t always necessary for an institution to promote itself. Sometimes ideology alone is enough for a school to stand on. ... My own teaching philosophy and my reservations about using any form of coercion to get kids to learn runs straight back to my early years in school. The need for order has to be balanced with respect and a certain amount of freedom to direct our attention toward what interests us. The teacher has to figure out how to put that together, and the extent to which he or she can do that makes all the difference for kids."
education  tcsnmy  marketing  publicrelations  administration  management  philosophy  progressive  quality  freedom  traditional  alfiekohn  dougnoon  competitiveness  excellence  competition  datamining  colleges  universities  schools  teaching 
july 2009 by robertogreco
Weblogg-ed » Digital Inclusion
Comment by Sue K.: "This is where I get stuck: “But the only way that parents are going to DEMAND access is if they see that not simply as a way for kids to get a computer but to see connections online as a way to a better future, a way to help their kids become more educated, better learners than by books and paper alone.” because for many parents the status quo in schools gives their kids the future [they] believe the kids need & gives them access to the prestigious colleges parents see as path to a promising future. I have not seen evidence that the parents will demand anything that might level the playing field for any others or for something different than a traditional post-secondary education. Parents are demanding access to AP courses & high grades &...winning athletic teams for their kids. So, the question to me is - how do we show them a different future for their kids? There just does not seem to be a sense of urgency for school boards, school district leaders or parents..."
education  change  reform  tcsnmy  learning  schools  statusquo  traditional  progressive  digital  parenting  parentdemands  grades  grading  colleges  universities  access  advantage  competition  deschooling  unschooling 
july 2009 by robertogreco
Achievement First [via: http://www.tuttlesvc.org/2008/11/this-is-not-our-emergency.html see also: http://robertogreco.tumblr.com/post/50802877/branding-and-authenticity-and-schools]
"This debilitating pattern of the "doom loop" is felt acutely in urban schools. School districts replace superintendents with alarming frequency, hailing each as the savior leader. Curricula lurch from progressive to traditional and back again, and each year a new professional development guru rolls out the program du jour. Initiatives and teams are developed without enough planning and training, and no program or leader is given enough time to produce great results. By the time any traction is made, a new program, fad, or leader is in place. Nobody is truly accountable, and no momentum toward excellent results is built up. Teachers are frustrated, and students fail to learn."
schools  fads  trends  time  investment  management  public  private  leadership  administration  policy  curriculum  progressive  traditional  learning  longevity  teaching  children  fail  failure  doomloop  professionaldevelopment 
november 2008 by robertogreco
Tuttle SVC: Scott's History Lesson
"One thing that is lost in Scott's citation of plenty of evidence that "traditional" schooling has always been dominant in the US is the fact that at this moment we are well into a period of conservative, back-to-basics backlash."
change  education  trends  progressive  traditional  schools  learning  policy  government  politics  society 
july 2008 by robertogreco

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