Archives for category: Educational fads and memes

From Daisy Christodoulou’s Seven Myths about Education

My central argument is that much of what teachers are taught about education is wrong, and that they are encouraged to teach in ineffective ways. After I had been teaching for 3 years, I took a year out to do further study. I was shocked to stumble across an entire field of educational and scientific research which completely disproved so many of the theories I had been taught when training and teaching. I was not just shocked; I was angry. I felt as though I had been misled. I had been working furiously for 3 years, teaching hundreds of lessons, and much information that would have made my life a whole lot easier and would have helped my pupils immeasurably had just never been introduced to me. Worse, ideas that had absolutely no evidence backing them up had been presented to me as unquestionable axioms. One of the writers I most enjoyed reading was Herbert Simon. His research into decision-making won him a Nobel Prize. Together with two other cognitive scientists, wrote a paper criticizing many of the ideas that are popular in US education:

New ‘theories’ of education are introduced into schools every day (without labeling them as experiments) on the basis otheir philosophical or common-sense plausibility but without genuine empirical support.

Simon’s observation appeared in a paper published in 2000: “Applications and Misapplications of Cognitive Psychology to Mathematics Education” by John R. Anderson, Lynne M. Reder, & Herbert A. Simon | Texas Education Review, v1 n2 p29-49 Sum 2000.

In the years since 2000, common-sense plausibility has taken a back seat to theory. A “hot! hot! hot!” practice like the flipped classroom not only defies common sense but is actively promoted in counterintuitive terms (“turning the traditional classroom on its head,” “learning from YouTube is as natural as it gets,” etc.)

As E.D. Hirsch tells us, the thoughtworld of education schools has insulated them from science — and, today, from common sense as well.

“Literacy and mathematics are the foundation to all facets of learning,” he said. “Curriculum (should be) very skill-based, rich and infused with technology.”
Irvington schools pick N.J. educator as next superintendent

On Google: 39,100 hits for “infusing technology into the classroom