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what educational theorists really really excel at is making old old stuff sound new and scientific

Discussion in 'Education news' started by Corvuscorax, Sep 12, 2019.

  1. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter


    All this talk about research from people who seem to have not the faintest inkling what the word research actually means, who have no idea how to judge if a conclusion is statistically valid, regurgitating stuff my great grandmother explained to me half a century ago when I was about 4
  2. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    Well I never. There I was thinking you only taught it once!
    Corvuscorax likes this.
  3. JaquesJaquesLiverot

    JaquesJaquesLiverot Established commenter

    I used to work in the software industry, and when I switched to teaching, one of the things that I struggled with was that there was no "right way" to do things. You couldn't even really tell whether you were doing a good job in the same way as you can when your program works and runs in an reasonable amount of time.

    Then came the shock that the things we were being told to do had never been tested, and seemed to have no scientific basis. "Learning styles" were all the rage when I started teaching, and coming from a scientific background I assumed that this was some sort of verified, peer-reviewed concept.

    What I've also realised is that a lot of the people in education who are held up as being experts are only in that position because they present themselves as experts - or even became one accidentally. For example, I don't claim to be an "expert", but by writing some of the "subject genius" series in the TES, I now find myself mentioned in books and on the New York University reading list.
  4. maggie m

    maggie m Senior commenter

    Coming from a science background it took me a few minutes reading an educational research paper to realise so called educational research is largely complete rubbish. It amazes me that anyone takes any notice of it. I remember learning styles. I also remember doing some activity on an inset where we found none of the staff had a prefered learning style and were informed that was the mark of a successful learner??!?
    tenpast7 and Jolly_Roger15 like this.
  5. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    Every year new teachers start. Old teachers (including me) need a bit of a shake up and cobwebs removal.
    No harm in reminding folk of things that can contribute to good practice, while remembering that good practice is a mixture of all sorts of things.
    blazer and bevdex like this.
  6. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    have you glanced at the article?Its presenting stuff as old as the hills as an innovative new break through. that's my point really. not the content, but the attitude. I'm nearly 60 and could have told them this stuff half a century ago, and it wasn't new then.
  7. WB

    WB Senior commenter

    Another god-awful buzzword that'll land on class teachers.

    They all follow the same pattern:

    Some SLT womble who wants to catch the eye of the head will declare it amazing and the best way to achieve ' whole school impact' ( code for self-promotion )

    Teachers have to do.more work changing lesson plans, putting up the inevitable display and being seen to be using it in lesson observations.

    It has little or no impact.

    It fades away to nothing with noboby admitting it failed.

    SLT womble claims they are amazing and gets promoted.

    ( I may need to work on my Growth Mindset)
  8. Shedman

    Shedman Star commenter

    I spent 33 years in teaching doing just this. In any discussions we had about teaching in staff meetings I'd just drop in something about Vygotsky's notion of the zone of proximal development and people would think I knew what I was talking about but it was just a load of old bull *hit.
    Crommo89 likes this.
  9. Shedman

    Shedman Star commenter

    All these academic researchers beavering away researching what teaching methods work best and yet how do they teach their students? By droning on for an hour at a time at the front of a lecture theatre.

    Teaching methods have been researched for decades and we are still no closer to a method that has been shown to work for the majority of teachers over a prolonged period. It's yet another holy grail of teaching which will never be uncovered - but many academics are doing very nicely out of the quest.
    Crommo89 and guinnesspuss like this.
  10. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    I wouldn't say decades. I'd say centuries. Probably millennia.
    Shedman likes this.
  11. JaquesJaquesLiverot

    JaquesJaquesLiverot Established commenter

    The problem is that there's often a grain of truth in these fads. With "learning styles", for example, it seems to be true that there are different types of memory (visual, auditory, etc.), and that some people might be better at, or prefer, one type.

    The flaw is that you don't get to choose - e.g. you need to remember how to do a particular move in PE, what a triangle looks like, how the word "être" sounds, etc., and in most cases what we really want students to remember is not what things look, sound or feel like, but what they mean.
  12. JaquesJaquesLiverot

    JaquesJaquesLiverot Established commenter

    In fact it's almost the case that the harder you try, the worse you get. Despite lessons getting "better" since I was at school (there's certainly less copying out of the text book), I'd say that we probably had a better education. When I supervising a revision class, I realised that I could remember more Biology from 1985 than the current students could remember.

    In fact, lost of the recent "ideas" - mastery, knowledge curriculum, etc. - sound a lot like my schooling in the 70s and 80s.
    tenpast7, Catgirl1964 and Shedman like this.
  13. JaquesJaquesLiverot

    JaquesJaquesLiverot Established commenter

    It does depend on your subject specialism, I think. With Maths, spaced learning, interleaving, etc., is easy because of the "spiral" nature of the curriculum (i.e. students seem to do the same things every year). Computing can be similar if you cover the National Curriculum at KS3 - there are certainly plenty of opportunities for linking together the topics and recapping things - although there are quite a few miscellaneous things to throw in to finish the GCSE spec. Other subjects, though - such as Science - have a lot of content to cover and repeating things isn't always possible.
  14. moscowbore

    moscowbore Star commenter

    There is this great thing called, "Brain Gym". The idea is that if students rub their tummy and pat their head at the same time, they become geniuses. Everybody is doing it. Oh wait ....

    I watched a chemistry lecture at Cambridge university a few years ago. The professor put a chair in the middle of the floor and read from his latest publication for an hour. Now that is PROPER teaching.

    Pole climbers use the edu-nonsense to get out of the classroom. So it does serve some good purpose.
    Corvuscorax likes this.
  15. PeterQuint

    PeterQuint Lead commenter

    Or the SLT who insist your lessons need to be exciting, innovative, and well-paced, and will quote non-existent experts about how short a human’s attention span is, and any person will switch off after being talked to for 20 minutes (or 10, or 5, or whatever).

    And they’ll let you know this by telling you in a 90 minute CPD by talking at you for around 85 minutes.
    tenpast7, Shedman and Catgirl1964 like this.
  16. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    I did some evening modules at a college of London university a few years ago. I was dreading it would be all modern and clever-clever, but was very relieved to find the lecturer simply told us things.

    surprisingly enough, this innovative approach, (teacher explaining things), seemed remarkably effective. I'm surprised none of these experts have picked up on this method.
    tenpast7 and Shedman like this.
  17. JaquesJaquesLiverot

    JaquesJaquesLiverot Established commenter

    Isn't that what all of the recent books, papers, etc., are about?

    It's the subject of a large chunk of Daniel Willingham's Why Don't Students Like School, and the basis of the whole of Daisy Christodoulou's Seven Myths About Education. There are also things like ED Hirsch's Core Knowledge Curriculum that emphasise the importance of knowledge.

    It's just a shame that schools pick up on all the faddy nonsense.
  18. Shedman

    Shedman Star commenter

    When I was a teacher I found that many of my A-level students judged the quality of the lesson by the amount and clarity of notes they had written in their exercise books (They used to use loose file paper but because Ofsted wanted to see examples of marked work the school made all A-level students use exercise books so the marked work could be stuck in). A lovely set of neat notes with headings and diagrams meant a good lesson. In fact, I found many students liked a good bit of copying from the board; as some explained, it made them feel as if they'd achieved something from the lesson.
    PeterQuint likes this.

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