Tag Archives: skepticism

“Mindset Bull****,” “Gimmicks,” and Other Unhelpful Critiques

My friend Cindy Nebel has a thoughtful post about a recent article at TES. Here’s the backstory: a world-famous geneticist has dismissed research into Mindset as “bullshit” and “gimmicks.” Now, reasonable people have their doubts about Mindset Theory. We’ve written



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Is Your Classroom Worth More Than $10,000?

Here’s a remarkable story about potentially falsified research data. The short version: researchers James Heathers and Nick Brown thought that Nicolas Guéguen’s research findings were both too sexy and too tidy. Too sexy: Guéguen’s findings regularly made great headlines. For instance,



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Why Do Teachers Resist Research? And, Why Should We?

Let’s imagine that you show me research suggesting that students remember the words they draw better than the words they write down. After some thought…perhaps some experimentation on my own…I decide not to follow this research advice. Why did I



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Dodging “Dodgy” Research: Strategies to Get Past Bunk

If we’re going to rely on research to improve teaching — that’s why you’re here, yes? — we need to hone our skepticism skills. After all, we don’t want just any research. We want the good stuff. But, we face



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Choosing a Knowledge-Rich Curriculum: Pros and Cons

Should our curriculum focus on knowledge or skills? Jon Brunskill debates this question with himself in this thoughtful post. Brunskill does offer a strong conclusion in this debate. But just as important: the way he frames the discussion. Following Rapoport’s Rules



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Do We Actually Know What We Think We Know?

Teachers trust research when several studies reach the same result. Sadly, the current “replication crisis” means that we don’t always know what we know. Continue reading



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The Unexpected Dangers of Reading (and Writing) Blogs

A recent post on a well-known education blog beats up on that old nemesis: “rote memorization.” To highlight this point, the author links to a study on the benefits of “the generation effect.” When students try to guess at answers



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Nope: Brain Training Doesn’t Work, Volume 262…

A recent study reveal — AGAIN –that “brain training” doesn’t work. Students can learn new things. But we can train their working memory or IQ in some abstract, artificial way. Continue reading



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Problems in Science Communication, Part II: Too Little Skepticism

I spoke at this month’s Signs Summit in Chicago about problems in science communication. Here is the second half of what I said. (You can find the first half, which focuses on “too much skepticism” here.) We live in age that been



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Problems in Science Communication, Part I: Too Much Skepticism

When teachers question guidance offered by outside research experts, we might be faulted for “too much skepticism.” Yet expertise is more useful and meaningful when provided by insiders. Effective science communication depends on researchers who know schools and classrooms through day-to-day experience. Continue reading



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