Sunday, November 02, 2014

Why trendy teaching is inefficient and harmful: Report says popular classroom techniques are not supported by research

Trendy teaching methods such as lavishing praise on pupils can be harmful to learning, says a study published today.

It warns that many ‘common practices’, such as allowing youngsters to discover key ideas by themselves, are either ‘ineffective or inefficient’.

The report from the Sutton Trust education charity outlines a range of popular techniques used in classrooms that are ‘not supported by research evidence’.

Examples include using praise ‘lavishly’, which many teachers believe is an ‘affirmative and positive’ way to encourage low achievers.

It points out that a number of studies suggest that the ‘wrong kinds of praise’ can be ‘very harmful to learning’.

Research has shown that praise which is meant to boost struggling pupils ‘actually conveys a message of the teachers’ low expectations’ of their ability’.  As a result, ‘it can actually lower rather than enhance self-confidence’, the report reveals.

The report by Professor Rob Coe and colleagues at Durham University reviewed more than 200 pieces of research.

It says another popular technique, ‘discovery learning’, where pupils find key ideas by themselves, is also ineffective.

The study says: ‘If teachers want them to learn new ideas, knowledge or methods they need to teach them directly.’

Another trendy teaching method is child-centred learning, where pupils are believed to learn best if teachers tailor lessons to their ‘preferred learning style’.

The report says: ‘A belief in the importance of learning styles seems persistent, despite the prominence of critiques of this kind of advice.’

However, the evidence is clear that ‘there are no benefits for learning from trying to present information to learners in their preferred learning style’. 

Likewise, it is untrue that pupils remember best if they are always ‘active’ in lessons, rather than sitting and listening ‘passively’.  ‘If you want students to remember something you have to get them to think about it,’ the report says.  ‘This might be achieved by being “active” or “passive”.’ 

Other examples of ineffective teaching practices are encouraging re-reading and highlighting to memorise key ideas.

Studies have shown that ‘testing yourself, trying to generate answers, and deliberately creating intervals between study to allow forgetting’ are better.

The report also found that grouping pupils by ability makes very little difference to learning, as teachers can go ‘too fast with the high ability groups and too slow with the low’.

It said that the two factors with the strongest evidence of improving students’ attainment are teachers’ content knowledge and the quality of instruction.

Professor Coe said: ‘Great teaching cannot be achieved by following a recipe, but there are some clear pointers in the research to approaches that are most likely to be effective, and to others, sometimes quite popular, that are not.

‘Teachers need to understand why, when and how a particular approach is likely to enhance students’ learning.’

Former education secretary Michael Gove warned that trendy teaching methods were ‘sidelining’ members of staff from their ‘central role in education’.

Last year, Michael Young, emeritus professor of education at the Institute of Education, University of London, claimed that many teachers have an ‘actual fear of knowledge’ and believe it is wrong to correct pupils’ mistakes.


Phony Trump University delivered ‘neither Donald Trump nor a university,’ suit claims

The Donald milks a sucker

A federal judge allowed a racketeering suit to proceed against Trump University - which plaintiffs claim delivered "neither Donald Trump nor a university." California businessman Art Cohen sued ("The Donald")Trump in October 2013, claiming the former reality TV star defrauded students of tens of millions of dollars by promising to teach his real estate investment secrets.

The suit claims Trump spent up to $6 million a year to promote Trump University by falsely representing that it was an actual university taught by professors selected by the real estate investor, reported Courthouse News.

Cohen, the lead plaintiff, said he attended a free seminar after receiving an invitation in the mail and then paid $1,495 to attend a retreat, where he bought a "Gold Elite" program for an additional $35,000.

Trump, however, did not contribute in any meaningful way to the curriculum or handpick the instructors, as promised, at three-day retreats or elite mentorship programs, the suit claims.

A judge ruled this month that Trump was personally liable for running the university bearing his name without a license. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman accused Trump of defrauding students out of $40 million.

A federal judge ruled Monday that Cohen's suit could continue as a class-action case, finding that "consumers are likely to rely on prominently marketed features of a product which they purchase."

Trump unsuccessfully argued that Cohen could have known as early as July 2009 that Trump University, which is now known as Trump Entrepreneur Initiative, was not an actual university because he was not seeking a diploma and the seminars were held in hotels.

He argued that the statute of limitations should prevent the suit from going forward, but the judge disagreed.


Muslim intolerance at UCB.  Free speech is poison to them and they know it

Muslims want to stop Bill Maher from speaking at UC Berkeley.  See below:

The students at the University of California at Berkeley represent a diverse array of students from all walks of life. Every semester a commencement speaker is given the privilege of inspiring a class of talented and capable students.

This year, UC Berkeley has chosen to invite Bill Maher to speak. Bill Maher is a blatant bigot and racist who has no respect for the values UC Berkeley students and administration stand for. In a time where climate is a priority for all on campus, we cannot invite an individual who himself perpetuates a dangerous learning environment.

Bill Maher's public statements on various religions and cultures are offensive and his dangerous rhetoric has found its way into our campus communities. Too many students are marginalized by his remarks and if the University were to bring this individual as a commencement speaker they would not be supporting these historically marginalized communities.

It is the responsibility of the University of California to protect all students and uphold a standard of civility. Sign this petition to boycott the decision to invite Bill Maher as a commencement speaker at the UC Berkeley Fall 2014 Commencement Ceremony.

Some examples of Bill Maher's hate speech:

Religions are maintained by people. People who can't get laid, because sex is the first great earthly pleasure. But if you can't get that, power is a pretty good second one. And that's what religion gives to people. Power. Power is sex for people who can't get or don't want or aren't any good at sex itself.

‘Islam is the only religion that acts like the mafia that will fucking kill you if you say the wrong thing’

 "You have to understand, you have to embrace the values of Western civilization. They're not just different, they are better."


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