Read our paper: Toward an Ecological Science of Teaching (or in other words: when non-significant is significant and vice versa)

Last year I wrote an article together with prof. David Daniel, this article is now published in Canadian Psychology / Psychologie canadienne and you can download our paper here. This is the abstract:

The need for a primary emphasis on teaching is a necessary, and as yet unfulfilled, goal of psychological science. We argue that an ecological model focused specifically upon understanding and optimizing teaching practice must incorporate the necessary complexity inherent to the teaching and learning process. To do so, we must expand our scope beyond the simple exploration of main effects under controlled conditions to the exploration of dynamic interactions, including the identification of boundary conditions, and the assessment of potential side-effects across relevant variables and contexts. To do so, foci on internal and external validity must be re-balanced in a manner more productive for practical inferences and applications. With an eye on educational practice, we point out that statistically insignificant results, under certain circumstances, can yield very useful strategies for teaching. Therefore, researchers interested in practical applications for teachers should be encouraged to use active control groups in their studies when feasible. We also argue that practical significance must include context-relevant information, for example, a ratio between the degree to which the findings can be used in context without upsetting other learning objectives and the amount of benefit given the costs (both time and energy) of the intervention, as an essential component to evaluating the potential utility of teaching research. Thus, statistically significant results must be weighed with respect to both effect-size and the practicality of implementation by teachers in authentic educational contexts before being considered a candidate for use in the classroom.

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