Thursday, December 29, 2016

"Getting Schools Ready for the World"

I like the questions this article is asking.

So the good news is that we don't need to develop students' learning dispositions in schools. We just need to maintain and strengthen the dispositions they already have. 
The bad news, however, is that new research suggests that traditional schooling may actually discourage these dispositions. For example, in one experiment described by Gopnick (2016), 4-year-olds were much less likely to find their own solutions to making a complicated toy work when the experimenter "taught" them ("I'm going to show you how my toy works") than when the experimenter allowed them to observe her trial-and-error efforts and think about the problem ("Hmmm … I wonder how this toy works?"). As Gopnik writes,
Studies show that explicit instruction, the sort of teaching that goes with school and "parenting," can be limiting. When children think they are being taught, they are much more likely to simply reproduce what the adult does, instead of creating something new.
If we're honest with ourselves, we know that current school structures that force kids to learn the same thing on the same day in the same place with other kids their same age with the same teacher going through the same curriculum to be assessed in the same way are not built on any sound theory of learning. It flies in the face of common sense to think that this approach will produce the powerful learners we're discussing here. If we're truly committed to developing every student's ability to learn how to learn, we're going to have to rethink our practice.

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