A very interesting debate on knowledge and 21st Century Learners

I was reminded of this debate today and is still very relevant:

With endless amounts of information available at the touch of a button or click of a cursor, too many of today’s students are operating with what E.D. Hirsch calls a knowledge deficit. Watch the Debate Chamber at GESF 2017 as the House argues that facts are the building blocks upon which critical thinking and personal development skills are established and the mastery of facts will ensure students are prepared to thrive in the 21st Century. @GESForum #GESF

Speakers:
Mr Nick Ferrari, Broadcaster & Journalist, Global Radio | Mr Nick Gibb, Minister of School Standards, Department for Education | Ms Daisy Christodoulou, Head of Assessment , Ark Schools | Mr Andreas Schleicher, Director for the Directorate of Education and Skills, OECD | Mr Gabriel Sanchez Zinny, Executive Director, Instituto Nacional de Educación Tecnológica Argentina

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How do teachers react in class to the Trump-presidency

The past 2 months I have been slowing down a bit on reading new research because too much work. Sorry for that. This study raises some interesting questions related to what people on the old continent would describe as pedagogy. Does a teacher need to political neutral in the classroom or not, and is being neutral an effective teaching tactic. Teaching in Trump times made teachers feeling immense pressure from school leaders and families to respond in a certain way — or not at all — in their classrooms.

From the press release:

“There were many teachers who said they wanted to talk with students about the election and related issues but were also afraid of backlash,” said Dunn, who conducted the nationwide questionnaire of more than 700 educators.

In the survey, some teachers said they felt election-related topics weren’t appropriate in schools or weren’t relevant to their subject. Others felt they shouldn’t, or couldn’t, share their political affiliations or feelings.

But the idea of neutrality, as this research indicates, doesn’t always work in schools, because “education is inherently political,” Dunn said.

She and her co-researchers argue that by remaining neutral, teachers are enacting the opposite of neutrality by “choosing to maintain the status quo and further marginalizing certain groups.”

Dunn and her colleagues, Hannah Carson Baggett of Auburn University and Beth Sondel of the University of Pittsburgh, say the election is just one example of a renewed call for all teachers to consider the ethics of neutrality in the classroom.

“Midterm voting and the impact of results are an opportunity for them to say, ‘I’m not going to be neutral,'” Dunn said. “Knowing what neutrality means, and how it can be a disservice to students and to themselves, teachers can think about how to adapt their curriculum leading up to and after the midterms and other major events.”

Dunn said many educators and administrators believe that because something is happening “outside of school,” it isn’t relevant in the classroom. But that mentality is an injustice, she argues, and undermines the fact that the classroom is part of the real world.

In a separate study using the same data, the scholars studied what teachers did – or didn’t do – in the days after the election. In that study, teachers reported their students were experiencing political trauma.

Abstract of the study:

Guided by perspectives on the sociopolitical contexts of schooling, control of teachers’ curriculum and instruction, and teaching of elections, we use findings from a national questionnaire to explore the contexts that shaped teachers’ pedagogical decision making following the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Our findings reveal that classroom, school, district, state, and national contexts often manifested in pressure from colleagues, parents, the administration, the district, and the public. This pressure is reflective of the lack of trust, autonomy, and professionalism for teachers in our current climate. The days immediately following the election revealed new understandings about teachers’ views on neutrality, opportunities for agency within control of teachers’ work, and a call for justice-oriented pedagogy. Implications for teacher education, practice, and research are discussed.

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Funny on Sunday: useful abbreviations for the time-pressed online reader

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by | November 25, 2018 · 7:42 am

The New Stupid Replaces the Old Stupid (Rick Hess)

Can’t believe this interview is almost 10 years old…

Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

From an interview conducted in 2009 with Rick Hess, then Resident Scholar at The American Enterprise Institute. I have lightly abridged the interview. The original article upon which this interview is based is here.

Q: Rick, you recently published an article in Educational Leadership
arguing that the ways in which we rely on data to drive decisions in
schools has changed over time. Yet, you note that we have unfortunately only
succeeded in moving from the “old stupid” to the “new stupid.” What do you do
you mean by this?

A: A decade ago, it was only too easy to find education leaders who dismissed
student achievement data and systematic research as having only limited utility
when it came to improving schools. Today, we’ve come full circle. You can’t
spend a day at an education gathering without hearing excited claims about
“data-based decision making” and “research-based practice.” Yet these…

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Sad thing we still have to discuss this: spanking does more harm than good

It seems so obvious, but a new study confirms that spanking children is a bad idea and even harmful for children on a more global scale than previously known.

From the press release:

Most research on how spanking affects children has involved studying families in high-income countries, such as the United States and Canada, but less was known about how spanking affects children in low- and middle-income countries–or developing countries.

Spanking is one of the most common forms of child discipline used by parents worldwide.

The new international research used data collected by UNICEF in 62 countries–representing nearly one-third of the world’s countries–and demonstrated that caregivers’ reports of spanking were related to lower social development among 215,885 3- and 4-year-old children.

A parent or caregiver was asked in person if the child gets along well with other children; if the child hits, kicks or bites others; and if the child gets distracted easily. The question about spanking concerned the physical discipline used within the last month with the child or their sibling.

One-third of the respondents indicated they believed physical punishment is necessary to bring up, raise or educate a child properly. Among the children studied, 43 percent were spanked, or resided in a home where another child was spanked.

A child’s social development suffered in both cases in which he or she was spanked or during times when a sibling had been spanked, the study showed.

“It appears that in this sample … spanking may do more harm than good,” said Garrett Pace, the study’s lead author and a doctoral student of social work and sociology.

Pace also noted that “reductions in corporal punishment might do a great deal to reduce the burden of children’s mental health and improve child development outcomes globally.”

More effort to create policies that discourage spanking has occurred globally. In fact, 54 countries have banned the use of corporal punishment, which can only benefit children’s well-being long term, Pace and colleagues said.

Abstract of the study:

Spanking is one of the most common forms of child discipline used by parents around the world. Research on children in high-income countries has shown that parental spanking is associated with adverse child outcomes, yet less is known about how spanking is related to child well-being in low- and middle-income countries. This study uses data from 215,885 children in 62 countries from the fourth and fifth rounds of UNICEF’s Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) to examine the relationship between spanking and child well-being. In this large international sample which includes data from nearly one-third of the world’s countries, 43% of children were spanked, or resided in a household where another child was spanked, in the past month. Results from multilevel models show that reports of spanking of children in the household were associated with lower scores on a 3-item socioemotional development index among 3- and 4-year-old children. Country-level results from the multilevel model showed 59 countries (95%) had a negative relationship between spanking and socioemotional development and 3 countries (5%) had a null relationship. Spanking was not associated with higher socioemotional development for children in any country. While the cross-sectional association between spanking and socioemotional development is small, findings suggest that spanking may be harmful for children on a more global scale than was previously known.

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Very interesting and relevant talk by Robert A. Bjork on learning, memory and forgetting (and how bad we are in judging effective learning)

H/T to @triciatailored

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Funny on Sunday: academic translator to help you interpret academic speak

Source:

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Why and How to Use Worked Examples in the Workplace

3-Star learning experiences

Mirjam Neelen & Paul A. Kirschner

worked example 1You want to prepare a recipe that involves carrying out a number of steps. How do you do that? You usually begin with step 1 and work through the steps to the last step. If you prepare the recipe again and again, you probably don’t have to look at the recipe for certain steps (e.g., you know that you have to whisk the egg-water mixture) and so forth until you can prepare the recipe without looking at it. This is a specific type of learning with what is known as a worked example.

Learning through worked examples is a very effective way to learn how to carry out a task or solve a problem in an area where they have little prior knowledge (aka ‘novices’). For knowledge workers in the workplace, however, this learning strategy is under-utilised. This is unfortunate because integrating worked examples…

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Low-cost tutoring boosted struggling students’ math results (Best Evidence in Brief)

There is a new Best Evidence in Brief with among others, this study:

An evaluation in the UK of the Education Endowment Foundation trial of Tutor Trust’s affordable instruction project found that low-cost tutoring in small groups increased math scores for disadvantaged students who are working below age-expected levels in math.
One hundred and five schools in Manchester and Leeds with double the average numbers of disadvantaged students participated in the effectiveness trial of the Tutor Trust project from September 2016 until July 2017. The aim of the project is to improve the math achievement of disadvantaged students by providing small-group tutoring sessions with trained university students and recent graduates.
Year 6 students (ages 10-11) who were struggling with math were selected by their teacher to receive extra support from Tutor Trust tutors, should their school be randomly allocated to the intervention group. The selected students in the intervention schools received 12 hours of additional instruction, usually one hour per week for 12 weeks, in groups of three. Students in the control schools continued with normal teaching. Achievement was measured using Key Stage 2 math scores (standardized tests in the UK).
 The report found that children who received tutoring from Tutor Trust progressed more in math compared to children in control schools (effect size = +0.19). Among children eligible for free school meals, the effect size was +0.25. There was also some evidence that students with lower prior achievement tended to benefit more from the tutoring.

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What do you need to succeed in life?

The answer is of course sheer luck, besides talent and intelligence. This new systematically review doesn’t say intelligence and talent aren’t needed, but suggests that non-cognitive skills can also be important, although there are also some serious warning lights surrounding the existing body of evidence.

From the press release:

The study, published in the journal Nature Human Behaviour is the first to systematically review the entire literature on effects of non-cognitive skills in children aged 12 or under, on later outcomes in their lives such as academic achievement, and cognitive and language ability.

“Traits such as attention, self-regulation, and perseverance in childhood have been investigated by psychologists, economists, and epidemiologists, and some have been shown to influence later life outcomes,” says Professor John Lynch, School of Public Health, University of Adelaide and senior author of the study.

“There is a wide range of existing evidence under-pinning the role of non-cognitive skills and how they affect success in later life but it’s far from consistent,” he says.

One of the study’s co-authors, Associate Professor Lisa Smithers, School of Public Health, University of Adelaide says: “There is tentative evidence from published studies that non-cognitive skills are associated with academic achievement, psychosocial, and cognitive and language outcomes, but cognitive skills are still important.”

One of the strongest findings of their systematic review was that the quality of evidence in this field is lower than desirable. Of over 550 eligible studies, only about 40% were judged to be of sufficient quality.

“So, while interventions to build non-cognitive skills may be important, particularly for disadvantaged children, the existing evidence base underpinning this field has the potential for publication bias and needs to have larger studies that are more rigorously designed. That has important implications for researchers and funding agencies who wish to study effects of non-cognitive skills,” says Professor Lynch.

Abstract of the study:

Success in school and the labour market relies on more than high intelligence. Associations between ‘non-cognitive’ skills in childhood, such as attention, self-regulation and perseverance, and later outcomes have been widely investigated. In a systematic review of this literature, we screened 9,553 publications, reviewed 554 eligible publications and interpreted results from 222 better-quality publications. Better-quality publications comprised randomized experimental and quasi-experimental intervention studies (EQIs) and observational studies that made reasonable attempts to control confounding. For academic achievement outcomes, there were 26 EQI publications but only 14 were available for meta-analysis, with effects ranging from 0.16 to 0.37 s.d. However, within subdomains, effects were heterogeneous. The 95% prediction interval for literacy was consistent with negative, null and positive effects (−0.13 to 0.79). Similarly, heterogeneous findings were observed for psychosocial, cognitive and language, and health outcomes. Funnel plots of EQIs and observational studies showed asymmetric distributions and potential for small study bias. There is some evidence that non-cognitive skills associate with improved outcomes. However, there is potential for small study and publication bias that may overestimate true effects, and the heterogeneity of effect estimates spanned negative, null and positive effects. The quality of evidence from EQIs underpinning this field is lower than optimal and more than one-third of observational studies made little or no attempt to control confounding. Interventions designed to develop children’s non-cognitive skills could potentially improve outcomes. The interdisciplinary researchers interested in these skills should take a more strategic and rigorous approach to determine which interventions are most effective.

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