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On DT Willingham: the difference between “thinking well” and expertise

I think DT Willingham has something to say about education. He has identified, or at least publicised, a real issue for teachers and that is the relationship between skills and knowledge. In particular, how we teach skills and such ephemeral issues as critical thinking, and indeed whether it is possible to teach these things. I… Continue reading On DT Willingham: the difference between “thinking well” and expertise

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Do multiple choice questions assess “higher order thinking”?

I’ve been pondering whether multiple choice questions assess “higher order thinking“. Daisy Christodoulou thinks they do: It is true that many selected-response questions do measure only shallow learning, but well-designed selected-response items can probe student understanding in some depth.’ Citing Dylan Wiliam: Wiliam gives some good examples of these types of question This example is… Continue reading Do multiple choice questions assess “higher order thinking”?

Philosophy of Education

On the clever discourse of Mitra’s “no holes in the wall” and the DT Willingham meme

I wanted to try and thread some recent twitter debates together. I’m going to touch upon the Sugata Mitra debate. Mitra is accused of poor research. I would describe it as “discursive research”; it generates the potential for change but it is empirically weak. You could accuse Coe (EEF toolkit) and Hattie (visible learning) of the same.… Continue reading On the clever discourse of Mitra’s “no holes in the wall” and the DT Willingham meme

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On the problem of knowledge – part two: progressivism and the primacy of skills #blogsync

This is the second part of a contribution to the #blogsync Knowledge debate. In my last BLOG I offered a progressive view of knowledge and rejected Govian pedagogy and neo-traditionalism. Old Andrew sums up the neo-traditionalist view: To begin with, the question of how we select which knowledge is worth learning changes. While progressives have always… Continue reading On the problem of knowledge – part two: progressivism and the primacy of skills #blogsync

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Constructivist teaching methods are more attuned to human cognition than those advocated by Traditionalists.

In my last BLOG I discussed the social aspects of cognition and cast further doubt on the fundamental arguments that substantiate traditional teaching methods,  responding to David Didau’s pedagogic prodding and probing. It is fair to say that traditional methods of Teaching and Learning are heavily reliant on the work of  Kirschner, Sweller and Clarke… Continue reading Constructivist teaching methods are more attuned to human cognition than those advocated by Traditionalists.

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A response to David Didau: Constructivism and Social Cognition

This BLOG is in response to David Didau.  I sometimes disagree with David, and I hasten to add agree as well. His constant pedagogic poking and prodding certainly makes you think and enriches the Teaching and Learning conversation. That said, I think this article is problematic. In the BTL conversation after the article David asked me to evidence my responses. Rather than engage… Continue reading A response to David Didau: Constructivism and Social Cognition

pedagogy · Philosophy of Education

On extreme instructivism and the social construction of evidence

I was struck by Lorraine Hammond’s recent piece for The Conversation, favourably comparing explicit instruction with inquiry learning. Hammond describes inquiry as “based on a theory of learning called constructivism” and: (…) a type of learning where, before students are shown the essential information, they are asked to practise a task, and then discover and construct some or all of the essential… Continue reading On extreme instructivism and the social construction of evidence

Blog · pedagogy · Philosophy of Education

On curriculum objects and designing learning experiences for the early years and beyond

In our previous blog, Ruth and I discussed the use of the discovery method.  I want to revisit that blog,  and the knowledge object 1 + 1 = 2, and cast a material lens1 on the nature of curriculum knowledge. As Ruth points out, this approach is particularly relevant to the early years because of… Continue reading On curriculum objects and designing learning experiences for the early years and beyond

pedagogy · Policy · Powerful knowledge · Progressivism

On the sacred and profane of powerful knowledge

Introduction School’s minister, Nick Gibb, frequently talks about the national curriculum in terms of a canon. In ancient Greek, a canon referred to a measuring rod, which could offer a symbolic description of the current education system.  The canon of the medieval education system was the gospels; the trivium introduced the medieval elite to the word of… Continue reading On the sacred and profane of powerful knowledge

pedagogy

On episodic and semantic memory: a caution against a prosaic curriculum

I thought it might be it might be useful to share the following four research papers on episodic and semantic memory: 1. Interaction between episodic and semantic memory networks in the acquisition and consolidation of novel spoken words, 2. How do episodic and semantic memory contribute to episodic foresight in young children? 3. Hippocampal Activation during Episodic and… Continue reading On episodic and semantic memory: a caution against a prosaic curriculum