Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

This is an engaging and interesting article, well worth taking the time to read. The central focus is on the question of why teachers ignore the scientific evidence that is "regularly invoked in defense of one classroom practice or another." There are several reasons, but in the end they boil down to the idea that the research as conducted simply isn't relevant to their classroom experience. For example, a result that shows "x is better than nothing" isn't helpful to a teacher who considering a range of different options. Moreover, it is rare that a single best practice applies for all circumstances; context matters. Now I don't think all this is as easy to fix as the authors suggest; you can't just "start with with whatever trusted intervention is considered the current 'gold standard' for the desired outcome and used that as the control group." For most things, there is no 'gold standard'. So there needs to be, at a minimum, a back-and-forth with teachers to identify the context and intent. That's why a whole discipline called 'knowledge mobilization' emerged' a number of years ago. And to the extent that this doesn't happen, teachers will continue to ignore what is essentially uninformed research.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: Feb 21, 2024 01:26 a.m.

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