Highway to the educational danger-zone (week 11)

In Uncategorized on April 11, 2011 at 9:57 PM

Having read my previous blogs, a reoccurring theme has (unsurprisingly) prevailed throughout: cognition

From my blogs I have highlighted a few main points about cognition I believe to be important…
1) Do not underestimate the cognitive power/ability of learners:

Research by Sugata Mitra is the perfect example of this. He showed that given the tools, children can become masters of their own education….

This by no means implies that teachers are invaluable, but the reality is that there will always be places where teachers aren’t available or will not go. So it is crucial to have programmes that foster learning without the aid of teachers.

I was thinking about materials or methods mentioned in other blogs and talks that could help this process:

Khan Academy is the perfect example of teaching without the teacher. I would like to think that the videos could be implemented within it/linked to the computer.

Khan did note that the videos should be supplemented with teaching time and that all subjects cannot be taught using the educational videos. Mitra used an older observer to motivate the children, so it may be possible for those individuals to provide some feedback if a teacher guide was available…

This brings me to Open source learning. Free and peer reviewed course materials which could be accessed at anytime with a relatively high quality. A teachers guide could be placed on this resource.

2)The teacher knows best?

A quote from Shulman & Elstein (1975) highlights the problem (in my opinion) with some educational research:

‘research typically sights the problem of how teachers think about their pupils and instructional problems; it concentrates instead on how teachers act or perform in the classroom’ (pg 3)

This is highlighted in teacher cognition research (outlined by Simon Borg). the research stated that teachers cognitions are hard to alter, and effect the way they approach and carry out educational practices.

So in reference to does a teacher know best, not necessarily and therefore teacher training is crucial.

3)Learner-centered cognition (metacognition)

I know I have advocated for the use of metacognition research throughout the semester so I will try to be brief.

The ability to understand your own cognitive processes is a crucial skill. As consumers of the educational product, students need to be able to assess the way they learn and give feedback to teachers to improve practices and techniques.

4)Creative cognition

For the problem Ken Robinson outlined to be addressed we need to fully understand the creative process.

Research on creative cognition is scarce, and I am unsure whether we can truly understand the creative process as a function of cognitive steps…

(It is also important to remember that the cognitive process is a creative process in itself.)

In summary:

The past twelve weeks have been thought provoking for me, and this module has, for want of better words, allowed me to ‘stretch my academic legs’.

My standpoint is that cognition research should provide the basis for educational practices and hopefully (using this a start point) I can promote the use of this research in my future career!


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