[GUEST BLOG] Generic Skills: A Dangerous Myth — 3-Star learning experiences

This blog was originally posted in Dutch on Didactiefonline by Fred Janssen Translated by Mirjam Neelen & Paul A. Kirschner Almost every curriculum document emphasises that learners must learn to solve problems, do research, reflect, self-regulate, acquire information, think creatively, and think critically. Often, it’s incorrectly assumed that we’re dealing with broad, generic skills here, […]

[GUEST BLOG] Generic Skills: A Dangerous Myth — 3-Star learning experiences

Good grief! Dept.

traditional math

Conrad Wolfram is a brilliant mathematician. He has written a book which argues that math education should not focus on how to compute various things, but on the thinking behind the computation. This article describes in breathless wonder Wolfram’s equally breathless idea to change how math is taught in order to keep up with the real world.

Wolfram makes the case that computation thinking is required in all fields and in everyday living—and that no one does calculations by hand. We’re living in what Wolfram calls a “computational knowledge economy” where the education question is, “How to prepare young people for a hybrid human-machine world?” In this new age, it’s not what you know, “it’s what you can compute from knowledge,” argues Wolfram.

It is a brave new world that Wolfram envisions, getting away from what he views as rote memorization and to the actual solving of real-world problems.


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Having it Both Ways, Dept.

traditional math

From the Algebra I section of the Mathematics Framework for California Public Schools: Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve:

“Modeling problems have an element of being genuine problems, in the sense that students care about answering the question under consideration. In modeling, mathematics is used as a tool to answer questions that students really want answered. Students examine a problem and formulate a mathematical model (an equation, table, graph, etc.), compute an answer or rewrite their expression to reveal new information, interpret and validate the results, and report out. This is a new approach for many teachers and may be challenging to implement, but the effort should show students that mathematics is relevant to their lives. From a pedagogical perspective, modeling gives a concrete basis from which to abstract the mathematics and often serves to motivate students to become independent learners.”

(I can’t be sure, but the above passage sounds as if…

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Ask A Researcher #4 – Dr. Katie Wissman — The Effortful Educator

There is a gap between those researching practices in education and those implementing that research (teachers). This gap doesn’t really serve anyone and only adds to the disconnect between researchers and classroom teachers. Both ‘sides’ would greatly benefit from listening to the other. A teacher is a veritable treasure trove of expertise. Why would those…

Ask A Researcher #4 – Dr. Katie Wissman — The Effortful Educator

New boss, old boss, Dept.

traditional math

Ontario’s math program for K-12 has come under fire the past few years. So much so that the current Premier of the province (Doug Ford) ran on a platform that included a “back to basics” math program.

The new math program was unveiled last week. A glance at its features showed that aside from the requirement that students know their multiplication facts, it appears to be the same mix of rhetoric for achieving “deeper understanding” of math.

A recent article talks about how a key aspect of the new standards is the Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) component.

Educators say the key innovation in the new curriculum involves teaching “social-emotional learning skills” throughout math. According to Ministry of Education documents, this means helping students to “develop confidence, cope with challenges and think critically.”For example, students will learn how to “use strategies to be resourceful in working through challenging problems,” says…

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Nothing really that new under the sun, Dept.

traditional math

There is a continuing chorus of complaints about how math is taught from those who seek to reform math education. The chief complaint is the lack of transfer of knowledge. That is, students cannot seem to take their prior knowledge and apply it to problems that rely on the same knowledge but are in new or novel settings.

The reformers then talk about how we need to build students’ “depth of knowledge” to get to the holy grail of “deeper understanding”.

I’ve taken a sample of a PowerPoint which is similar to many others that have been making the rounds over the years. In it, the problem is presented as follows:

Students appear to demonstrate “deep, authentic command of mathematical concepts” when given commonly used problems.
However with more challenging problems, the same students seem
to no longer demonstrate that command.

First, we must have a clear understanding about why…

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The concept of individual differences

[de blog is gebaseerd op deze Twitter thread thread; unrolled: here] Question #1: do they really exist? Is it possible for a difference to really exist? I can hear you shouting: ‘Of course they do, come and visit my classroom!’ Yet I once surprised Denny Borsboom (research on validity) with my question. In decision making: […]

The concept of individual differences — Fair schooling & assessment

Collective demonization invades our culture — Schoolinfosystem.org

Izabella Tabarovsky: Russians are fond of quoting Sergei Dovlatov, a dissident Soviet writer who emigrated to the United States in 1979: “We continuously curse Comrade Stalin, and, naturally, with good reason. And yet I want to ask: who wrote four million denunciations?” It wasn’t the fearsome heads of Soviet secret police who did that, he…

Collective demonization invades our culture — Schoolinfosystem.org