The Side Effects of Education: Research and Practice

Beth Holland, Education Week, Sept 13, 2018
Commentary by Stephen Downes

The author considers the use of scientific evidence in education research in the light of Yong Zhao's  new book: What Works May Hurt - The Side Effects of Education. The major argument is this: " educators, policymakers, and researchers need to acknowledge that "the effect of any treatment is the result of interaction between the characteristics of the treatment and characteristics of the individual" (p. 90)" (the use of the word 'treatment' speaks to the analogy people are trying to draw between health and medicine). Research and evidence are important. But individual variability means that approaches that average and standardize are not just misleading, the may be harmful. You can also view the hour-long video with Yong Zhao.

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