Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Favorite Comments of '12: Barry Garelick, Catherine Johnson, Anonymous, Anonymous, and momof4

On A case for textbooks and survey courses

Barry Garelick said...

Brookings has released a report that indicates that instructional materials play a significant role, but that there is not much research to support instructional methods. The report is a call for such research to be done. See here for the report.

Catherine Johnson said...

Based in my own classroom experience, my students fare best when I can give them a 'big picture' overview (not easy to do - and almost impossible when your curriculum is Google) followed by step-by-step learning and practice of the particulars.

No one can remember random factoids.

To remember knowledge and information, we need a schema.
Catherine Johnson said...
What do you know?

from the Brookings report Barry linked to:

"There is strong evidence that the choice of instructional materials has large effects on student learning—effects that rival in size those that are associated with differences in teacher effectiveness. But whereas improving teacher quality through changes in the preparation and professional development of teachers and the human resources policies surrounding their employment is challenging, expensive, and time-consuming, making better choices among available instructional materials should be relatively easy, inexpensive, and quick."
Anonymous said...
So very true. Algebra textbooks in the '60's were small but excellent. Geometry textbooks were not much bigger, but excellent. All the teacher had to do was teach from the teacher's manual, assign homework from the textbook, and (I assume) use assessments created by the textbook authors.
momof4 said...
This approach is fundamental to the classical curriculum of Wise and Bauer (Bauer and Wise?). Twelve years divided into 3 time-sequences of 4 years (ancient, medieval, early modern and late modern) drive the history, ELA, geography etc and the science sequence follows (biology, chemistry,physics, space, if I remember right). The first four years is the grammmar stage; learning the vocabulary and fundamentals of each discipline, followed by 4 years of the logic stage, where more and deeper information is attached to the framework and stress is laid upon making connections. At the HS level, kids enter the rhetoric stage, where they not only add much more deep and complex material but are expected to construct and defend arguments, supported by facts. They are taught the fundamental structure from the beginning and each stage builds upon it. The approach has been used at least since the Greeks.

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