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The difference maker in education

February 1, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

Fascinating review of an article by Ed Yong at Not Exactly Rocket Science comparing the acquisition of scientific knowledge, scientific reasoning ability and the method of teaching.  He relays a study in which students in the Chinese educational system scored significantly higher on physics’ tests than did students studying in the American system.  However, both the American and Chinese students scored almost identically in scientific reasoning skills.  How could this be–the informal learning that takes place inside and outside the classroom?  Yong concludes

So if it what we teach doesn’t lead to better reasoning skills, perhaps it is how we teach it. That’s an idea Bao subscribes to. He advocates more “inquiry-based learning“, where teachers encourage students to discover things for themselves, acting more as a facilitator that guides the class rather than a vessel that pours knowledge into it. Obviously, this shouldn’t be introduced to the exclusion of knuckling down and cramming some basic facts in, but the two approaches should complement each other.

A good reason for a continued committment to dialogue education!

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  1. February 2, 2009 at 10:42 pm

    God has given me the gift of teaching (only by His Grace and certainly not my merit.)
    I would expect most everyone would see inquiry-based learning to be the most effective method learning that keeps. I’m thinking there are two big hurdles to that process, one being discipline and the other grading by the teacher. I am a 68yo retired computer programmer and love to create unique Christ Based computer flavored curriculum. But in a public school classroom(probably overcrowded) there tends to be too many students that are not able to control their defiant attitudes and cause trouble for the whole class.

    The other thing is consider how much more teacher time is taken up by first evaluating the ‘unique project’ of each student as to its worthiness, and then the progress checking and final grading of the results. Beyond that, it will be much harder to convince the parent that their little Jimmy didn’t really do as well as he should have. The final pattern to grade against is only in the head of the teacher and his/her perceptions.

    I’m not sure you’ll find very many teachers with tenure are willing to put all this extra evaluation and parent confrontation in their life…

    Getting/Keeping Church Kids >> godscomputermanual.com

    Jim Curtis, Hillsboro OH
    Psa 71:18 Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come.

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