Edev_502 response wk7_5

I’d like to unpack your first point. The either-or situation that is set up forms an excellent question that hits at the heart of this week’s discussion topic. Teachers’ choices of pedagogic intervention come with associated changes in learner achievement: some better, and some worse (Hattie, 2009), some authenticated by empirical evidence, some not (Coffield, Moseley, Hall, & Ecclestone, 2004). Where the muddle begins is in deconstructing the act of choice. How do teachers decide which interventions are better?

Even if the matter were a straightforward one of knowing, i.e. teacher education, the issue would be complex. Hattie represents a strand of educationalists who believe in objectifying outcomes (Terhart, 2011). Yet, any attempt to list desirable outcomes is problematic in fluid learning settings and is reminiscent of neo-behaviourism, or the imposition of Bloomian taxonomy-like demonstrations of learning (Atherton, 2013) where assessment is based on teacher-led, or worse still, on government-led general criteria of demonstration type. But this is not the point I want to make.

Hattie frequently claims that the best learning occurs “when teachers see learning through the eyes of learners” (2009. p. ?[1]). How do teachers build up that vision? When I see Yuki[2] in the second row not responding to a partner’s question, what knowledge do I draw upon when approaching to help him? How do I gauge her attitude to learning as deep or surface at that instant (Beaty, Gibbs, & Morgan, 1997)? How do I know if he is concrete experiential or abstract conceptualisatory (Kolb & Kolb, 2005)? Should I attempt various visual, auditory, kinaesthetic, or tactile methods with her (Coffield et al., 2004)? With a single student and given enough time, perhaps grasping this type of information may be possible. With larger groups and less time, differentiated instruction (Glass, 2009; Subban, 2006) offers some alternatives. However, even the attempt to characterise learner type (evidence-based or not) is short-sighted. Like stereotype, learner type only has an advantage as a heuristic when there is a defined purpose. When I approach Yuki, I don’t really know his purpose. That only comes if and when she tells me. As a young adult, he is perfectly within his rights to withhold any and all information so long as he complies with the requirements (that I set up) of the course. Shouldn’t democracy in education begin with the teacher modelling that? All any type study does is point out potentiality.

Jim

[1] I haven’t got my copy with me tonight to reference the exact page number.

[2] The name ‘Yuki’ can be female or male.

Atherton, J. S. (2013). Objectives. Retrieved August 24, 2015, from http://www.learningandteaching.info/teaching/objectives.htm

Beaty, L., Gibbs, G., & Morgan, A. (1997). Learning orientations and study contracts. In F. Marton, D. Hounsell, & N. Entwistle (Eds.), The experience of learning (pp. 72–86). Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press.

Coffield, F., Moseley, D., Hall, E., & Ecclestone, K. (2004). Learning styles and pedagogy in post-16 learning A systematic and critical review This report critically reviews the literature on learning styles and examines in detail 13 of the most influential models . The report concludes that it matters fundamentall.

Glass, K. T. (2009). Differentiated Instruction and Strategies. In Lesson design for differentiated instruction, grades 4-9 (pp. 1–23). Thousand Oaks: Sage.

Hattie, J. (2009). Visible learning: a synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement. Abingdon: Routledge.

Kolb, A. Y., & Kolb, D. A. (2005). Learning styles and learning spaces: Enhancing experiential learning in higher education. Academy of Management Learning and Education, 4(2), 193–212. doi:10.5172/jmo.16.1.100

Subban, P. (2006). Differentiated instruction: A research basis. International Education Journal, 7(7), 935–947. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2648.2006.04074.x

Terhart, E. (2011). Has John Hattie really found the holy grail of research on teaching? An extended review of Visible Learning. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 43(3), 425–438. doi:10.1080/00220272.2011.576774

About theCaledonian

Scot living in north Japan teaching at a national university.
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