About nature versus nurture: the four laws of behavioural genetics

From experience to meaning...

This tweet by Steve Stewart-Williams is so relevant I wanted to share it here on this blog as I know a lot of people who follow my posts aren’t on Twitter.

If you feel angry after reading the first two laws, do read on. Both articles mentioned in the tweet are also must reads.

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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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High Tech Innovations and School Reform Joined at the Hip

Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

When asked how I got interested in the uses of technology in schools and classrooms, I answer that I was the target for a quarter-century of high-tech innovations and classroom reforms  when I taught high school history and as a district administrator in two urban school systems.

I then say that I have been trained as an historian and studied many efforts of reformers to improve schooling over the past century in U.S. classrooms, schools, and districts. I examined how teachers have taught since the 1890s. I investigated policymakers’ constant changes in curriculum since the 1880s. I analyzed the origins of the age-graded school and the spread of this innovation through the 19th century. And I parsed the Utopian dreams of reformers who believed that new machine technologies (e.g., film, radio, instructional television, desktop computer) would alter how teachers teach and students learn. I then conclude my answer by pointing out…

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Changing One’s Mind about School Reform

Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

The following post is an encore published nearly seven years ago. I have updated and added sections to it.

A few years ago, Diane Ravitch told (The Death and Life of the Great American School System) of her recent switch from championing school reforms (testing, accountability, and choice) as a federal policymaker, educational historian, and pundit to rejecting these policies. Ravitch’s turnaround got me thinking about what I had believed earlier in my career and believe now sixty years later.

I began teaching high school in 1955 filled with the passion to teach history to youth and help them find their niche in the world while making a better society. At that time, I believed wholeheartedly in words taken from John Dewey’s “Pedagogic Creed” (1897): “… education is the fundamental method of social progress and reform.”

And I tried to practice those utopian words in my teaching in…

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What if a failed replication… somehow fails to replicate?

From experience to meaning...

Have I told you already that science can be messy? If not, welcome to this blog! 2 years ago I posted this replication of the infamous pencil in the mouth study. It has become one of the more well known examples of the replication crisis. But it also spurred a lot of debate. Was the replication really a true replication of the original research?

A new study adds fuel to this debate as it failed to replicate the failed replication. Ok, just kidding, the study is actually showing the original study might have been correct! But we can’t be really sure, as it’s actually even more complicated:

The paradigm diverged from the original facial feedback experiment in several respects. They include the classroom setting in which testing was conducted; the fact that each participant rated two cartoons rather than four; the fact that it featured a within-subjects rather than…

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Educator Discussions That Avoid “The Problem”

Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

In 1942, Progressive educator Paul Diederich wrote “The Light Touch: 27 Ways to Run Away from an Educational Problem” for Progressive Education. He wrote this piece after being part of intense discussions with hundreds of teachers during summers in the late-1930s when the Eight Year Study was being implemented in 30 high schools across the nation.*

Like Diederich, I have participated in thousands of discussions with teachers, principals, superintendents, board of education members, researchers, and policymakers over my half-century in public school work. I might be able to add one or two but Diederich does a fine job, in my opinion. When I think of (and listen to) current debates about problems like inequality, racism, and poverty as they influence what techers do, how schools operate, and effects on students, I recall many times when I heard and saw school baord members, superintendents, principals, teachers, and parents engage in what…

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Funny on Sunday: about Popper and falsification

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