Forget research, let’s look at the evidence

February 2, 2009 at 4:19 pm 1 comment

This post is an addendum to my previous tiny post about new research showing that smaller class sizes would help to improve learning’.

I read about that just after having read several articles in Vision, Futurlab’s magazine, littered with all kinds of research projects and findings about how we learn, games in education, informal learning etc. – the list goes on.

All interesting reading, much of it gathering evidence for significant changes in our education system. But one does wonder how many research reports are needed before real fundamental change becomes possible.

In October at the Handheld Learning Conference in London Stephen Heppell said :

“It’s time to be cracking on. Its time for us to say we have done enough confirming what we knew already. It’s time for us to act on what we knew.”

He was talking about implementing radical changes in our education system, many made possible through digital technology, to allow young people greater involvement in their own learning.

The problem is that such change must involve teachers, parents and pupils many of whom are not yet ready for change for a variety of reasons. So, actually to convince more people of the necessity and value of change evidence is still needed.

But I don’t think it is academic research as such that we need. I think we can find all the evidence we need through simple observation of how young people behave in different circumstances, what switches them on, what turns them off, what they are really capable off, what they want to do, trusting them with their own futures.

This week Teachers TV have a focus on education of the future and every morning have a presentation by a different education guru. One of these is by author and educational consultant Tony Buzan, great proponent of mind mapping techniques (http://www.teachers.tv/video/5082).

He argues that we should not be teaching young people ‘what’ to learn, but should be teaching them ‘how’ to learn.

I think young people already know ‘how’ to learn, evidenced by all the things they learn before they even get to school. Fundamentals like walking and talking, colours, numbers, different animals etc. Some of these they take on for themselves, some we, the parents and carers,  teach. But nowhere on that journey does anyone teach ‘how’ to learn.

I also think kids want to learn, and will learn best if allowed to do so, if trusted to do so without too much interference.

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Entry filed under: Digital media, Digital teknology, Education, Future, Pupil voice, Schools.

Despair Boys and girls alone

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Pete Burden  |  February 2, 2009 at 7:20 pm

    Interesting. So what do we need to get change underway?

    Reply

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Mick Landmann on education, digital technology, and the 21st century

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