I was recently invited to speak on the From Page to Practice podcast about the book How Learning Happens: Seminal Works in Educational Psychology and What They Mean in Practice by Paul A. Kirschner and Carl Hendrick. The first author does a great job of introducing the book at the beginning, and my lovely voice appears soon after, at about 11:25. Have a listen!
The Pick’n’Mix Penultimate Episode – From page to practice
- The Pick’n’Mix Penultimate Episode
- Series 4 Episode 3 – Teach Like a Queen by Tracey Leese and Christopher Barker
- Series 4 – Episode 2 – The Behaviour Manual by Sam Strickland
- Series 4 – Episode 1 – Naylor’s Natter by Phil Naylor
- Series3 – Epiosde 15 – The Revision Revolution by Helen Howell with Ross Morrison McGill
Should Teachers Know How Learning Happens?
It’s become a bit of a theme of this blog that increasing teachers’ knowledge of the learning sciences and educational psychology will improve students’ chances, strengthen our field, and empower teachers. Having never seen it personally, I can only imagine what a school would look like if everyone read and analyzed a book like “How Learning Happens” from cover to cover and used it to make substantive changes to their learning design. Unfortunately, it seems like many school leaders will find just about any excuse they can to not engage with the science of learning; There are too many competing items on the training agenda, there’s a standardized test coming up, teachers are the experts and know their kids best, every class and every school year is different, teachers are tired and should focus on self-care, the science is never settled or is too complex, etc, etc. Schools seem trapped in an endless cycle of reaction rather than proaction, and trial by fire learning rather than professional learning.
If school leaders won’t act to professionalize this field, then it’s up to us. Holding professional reading sessions where teachers inquire into an important article, evidence review, or book, is one way we can disseminate research and increase our collective knowledge at the grassroots. Below are a few resources to get your school started (off the top of my head, but all goodies) starting with a link to the book that was featured in the podcast:
- How Learning Happens: Seminal Works in Educational Psychology and What They Mean in Practice
- A book where every chapter is an important research article that every educator should read, with the implications for our practice elegantly described by the authors
- Why don’t students like school?
- A book where the author answers important questions that most teachers have with findings from cognitive science
- 7 myths about education
- A book that exposes and analyzes some of the most common myths about teaching and learning in education
- How We Learn: Why Brains Learn Better Than Any Machine…for Now
- A book about the science of learning
- Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning
- A book focused mainly on techniques for enhancing memory
- Creating the Schools Our Children Need: Why What We’re Doing Now Won’t Help Much (And What We Can Do Instead)
- A book about common reform efforts that probably won’t work or would be way too expensive, and an argument for a knowledge-rich curriculum and professional inquiry around formative assessment practices
- Great Teaching Toolkit
- A very recent review of the literature about what makes great teaching
- The Science of Learning
- A manual for cognitive psychology applied to education
- Learning by Scientific Design
- From the same group as above, but more about changing teachers’ knowledge and beliefs about effective learning
- Top 20 Principles from Psychology for Pre-K-12 Teaching and Learning
- A document that describes psychology principles that relate to education, such as “Students’ cognitive development and learning are not limited by general stages of development.”
- What Makes Great Teaching?
- A review of what great teachers do.
- Principles of Instruction
- Quite popular in the UK, it seems, less so in the US where it was born, this is a highly recommended review of the high impact teaching techniques by Barak Rosenshine
Scientific Method and Debunking Materials
- That’s a Claim (Education)
- Cool website with a periodic table of how to evaluate education claims scientifically
- Debunking Handbook
- A handbook that teachers can use to learn how to debunk myths, urban legends, and edu-babble
- Measured Approach or Magical Elixir?: How to Tell Good Science from Bad
- How to strip, flip, trace, and analyze claims in education
- When Can You Trust the Experts?
- By the same author as above, Daniel Willingham, but a full book.
What is your school doing to increase teachers’ knowledge of education research and cognitive science? Have you read anything else that should be included on this list? Feel free to share in the comments below.
-Zach Groshell @mrzachg
9 thoughts on “Should Teachers Know How Learning Happens?”
Should instructional designers have a clue what teachers actually know and do?
YES. Especially before they act like they know it all.
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Zach. This is great and really interesting. My question follows from the fact this is still very much from a white western scientific male framework. / world view. As a white western male I shouldn’t presume that this is the only way education occurs. What are the relevant sources for otter cultural and gender sources? Wha t is universal capital ‘E’ Education versus less universal lower case ‘e’ education that we make assumptions of being universal? (For example, as I’ve recently been shown, the learning pit stems from a western scientific view of time, and Gardner’s multiple intelligences is new and incomplete for the west but 1500 years old for other cultures and indigenous people).
(To be clear, this is not veiled criticism, but a genuine question).
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Thank you for commenting. The post isn’t advocating for a white western scientific male framework, but for teachers and leaders to engage with empirical findings, where an experiment is designed so that two equal groups receive the exact same intervention, except that one variable is manipulated. If there is a significant difference beyond chance between the two groups it can be assumed that it was the one altered variable that caused the difference. This contrasts, I know, with other ways of knowing, such as storytelling and anecdote, but there is no surer way to remove our biases and determine cause and effect than the scientific method