Sunday, 15 February 2015

If you can't back your opinion up with research then your opinion doesn't count?

I get the impression that the education world is jumping onto the research bandwagon. I use that word deliberately.

While I like the idea that teachers may avoid taking onboard strategies that don't work or in fact have a negative impact. I do worry that if you haven't read the book, if you can't quote the latest thinker, if you can't back up your statements with a research study then what you say can be too quickly dismissed.

Is that fair?

I taught interference to Year 11 for the sixth time in my career a couple of weeks ago. All the other times I didn't teach a lesson I was satisfied with. With this in mind I was aware that my current class might not be happy at the end of the lesson, so the previous night I thought long and hard about how I would explain the concepts, what demonstrations to do, what images and animations to show. At the end of the lesson they were comfortable in their knowledge of how a path difference equivalent to an odd number of half wavelengths means there will be destructive interference. Whether they really understand it enough to carry to June and the exam I don't know, but it was and improvement on previous lessons.

It was my experience of the other 5 lessons that helped me teach a good lesson this time. Not a research paper, not a book.

Perhaps alongside the depth of a reading list we could also remember to value the knowledge acquired from experience, particularly when it comes to dealing in specifics.

Then again, perhaps a research paper on teaching interference exists and I would have done a good job first time if I had read it.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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