An important weapon against Alzheimer? Education

From experience to meaning...

There has been already some knowledge about how education can protect against Alzheimer’s disease but this theory now has been given further weight by new research from the University of Cambridge, funded by the European Union.

From the press release:

Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of dementia. Its chief hallmark is the build of ‘plaques’ and ‘tangles’ of misshapen proteins, which lead to the gradual death of brain cells. People affected by Alzheimer’s experience memory and communication problems, disorientation, changes in behaviour and progressive loss of independence.

The causes of Alzheimer’s are largely unknown, and attempts to develop drug treatments to halt or reverse its effects have been disappointing. This has led to increasing interest in whether it is possible to reduce the number of cases of Alzheimer’s disease by tackling common risk factors that can be modified. In fact, research from the Cambridge Institute of Public Health…

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Why failure is not the new success


Recently, when returning an essay to a student, I met with a response which rather took me aback.  I had covered the essay with comments.  Some of those comments simply read ‘No’; I have, perhaps, a lack of patience with basic factual inaccuracies.  My comments suggested that the essay was rather rushed, and made it clear that it wasn’t up to the standard I expected.  The student was quite indignant about all this: ‘You can’t criticise me for failing. I am allowed to fail.’

This sums up very neatly, I think, why we mustn’t give out glib messages about failure.  As far as I know, at my school no-one does this, which is partly why the student’s comment took me by surprise, but the ideas (1) that failure is something to be celebrated and (2) that it can be more valuable than success do seem to be gaining credence in…

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Why I am a bit annoyed with the mixed messages by Howard Gardner

From experience to meaning...

Last week I received a complaint that I was too kind for Howard Gardner as we didn’t call his multiple intelligences theory a myth. The reason why we used the label ‘nuanced’ is because the basis philosophy that people differ can’t be labeled as wrong. Still we gave a lot of reasons why one should be cautious about this very popular theory. And lately Gardner himself outed the theory as being outdated and ill-researched.

But this paragraph tweeted by Stuart Ritchie is making me grinch:

This quote is coming from this video:

Now, the video is older than the own-debunking I mentioned before on this blog, but Casper made a good comment on Twitter about the mixed message Gardner is giving:

So: Gardner says…

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What’s the Difference Between Engineering at a Tech Company Versus a School? (Sam Strasser)

Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

This is an interview that Ranjani Sundaresan, a junior at Seattle University and intern at EdSurge over the summer, conducted with Strasser. This post appeared on EdSurge, September 16, 2017.

What’s it like for an engineer to dive into education?

Sam Strasser is Chief Information Officer (CIO) at Summit Public Schools in the San Francisco Bay Area. But he also has had a long career working as an engineer at companies including Microsoft and Facebook. At Facebook, he helped develop Summit’s personalized learning platform, which is now used in more than 100 schools throughout the U.S. Strasser spoke with the EdSurge Jobs team about how school looks from an engineer’s point of view.

EdSurge Jobs: So, give us a 60-second description of your career trajectory up until this point in your life.

Strasser: I started my career as a software engineer at Microsoft for a couple of years. I worked for…

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Do teacher observations make any difference to student performance? Surprisingly, study says no

From experience to meaning...

There is a new Best Evidence in Brief and to be honest, I’ve skipped one because I thought some research mentioned in the newsletter wasn’t really deserving the label of best evidence. The new edition is better, although I was reluctant to share this study. Not because I think it wasn’t conducted in a good way, but because the results are in contradiction with previous research. Still, it is important to share studies even if they don’t show what you expected – or even more important if they don’t.

Check this:

An evaluation published by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) in the UK has found that introducing more frequent and structured lesson observations – where teachers observe their colleagues and give them feedback – made no difference to students’ GCSE math and English results (GCSEs are high-stakes exams taken in a range of subjects by secondary students in England).

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This is the cover of my new book: The Ingredients for Great Teaching

From experience to meaning...

The book has been a success already in Dutch with almost 1800 copies sold in 5 weeks time.

For who can’t read Dutch, the English version will be published in March by Sage Publishing.

Some people were lucky enough to read the book already, and had this to say about it:

If you’re seeking to improve your knowledge of education research but unsure where to start, you won’t find a better gateway book than this. Its insights are scholarly enough to inspire future study, yet practical enough to be applied in first period tomorrow.

Eric Kalenze
author of ‘Education is Upside-Down: Reframing Reform to Focus on the Right Problems’

Pedro de Bruyckere helped to reveal the lack of evidence behind many intuitively appealing ideas within teaching in his previous book. In Ingredients for Great Teaching he takes the next logical step – pointing teachers towards the more reliable evidence about…

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Do smarter people have better connected brains?

From experience to meaning...

It is an interesting question if it is possible to see if a person is smart or not in a brain scan, although I sure do not hope we will start scanning the brains of pupils before entering school. Still, while differences in intelligence so far have mostly been attributed to differences in specific brain regions. However, this new study suggests that smart people’s brains are also wired differently to those of less intelligent persons.  In intelligent persons, certain brain regions are more strongly involved in the flow of information between brain regions, while other brain regions are less engaged.

From the press release:

Understanding the foundations of human thought is fascinating for scientists and laypersons alike. Differences in cognitive abilities — and the resulting differences for example in academic success and professional careers — are attributed to a considerable degree to individual differences in intelligence. A study just published…

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