The best way to teach

Filling the pail

I am actually slightly more interested in what to teach than how to teach. However, teaching methods are more amenable to experiment than curriculum content and so I find myself discussing them more often.

The reason why the effect of our choice of content is not easy to test highlights an important flaw in many experimental designs. Think about it: what will you test students on at the end of your experiment? If this content was taught in one condition but not in the other then I can tell you the outcome already. So any fair test of content has to involve a transfer of understanding from one context to another. This is hard to achieve and relies on an element of chance.

So, setting the question of content aside, what are the best teaching methods?

Teacher-led is better

In the words of Jeanne Chall:

“The methods with the highest positive…

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