August 10, 2006

Some Light Reading

I've been meaning to write about a few topics, but what with the ongoing debate with anti-NCLBers and all and an anticipated heavy workload tomorrow I have a feeling I might not get to it. So I thought I'd leave you with some reading assignments you might find interesting:

The First is Why Minimal Guidance during Instruction Does Not Work: An Analysis of the Failure of Constructivist, Discovery, Problem-Based, Experiential, and Inquiry-Based Teaching which is a very good debunking of constructivist nonsense and explains why they fail in practice. I especially like the "minimal guidance" name they use which is not only accurate but provides a good explanation why these teaching techniques are so popular with educators. Hint: it's the minimal work angle.

The above paper is based on cognitive load theory which is explained well in Research into Cognitive Load Theory and Instructional Design at UNSW. Another good weapon to add to your constructivist slaying arsenal.

Lastly, we have Amanda's Story which shows what can be accomplished with good instruction and a lot of hard work with a severely cognitively disabled girl (IQ of 62). It is a fitting conclusion to the above two articles because it shows what can be accomplished when you teach efficiently according to sound scientific principles instead of wasting time with disproved quackery.

The comments are open for anyone who wants to give me their impressions on these articles which I hope to get to this weekend.


rightwingprof said...

Constructivism has its uses. See here. However, it is certainly not a panacaea, and is vastly overapplied.

KDeRosa said...

I agree. Constructivism is a useful tool once students have sufficient domain knowledge. And, its not easy to do right. Two good reasons why its use should be minimized at the K-12 level.

rightwingprof said...

No, you are correct. It is very difficult to to well.