Ideas on Teaching and Learning

This is a collection of pointers to articles and sites that I've found provocative, on teaching and learning.

  1. Felder-Silverman Learning Styles.  One can fill out 44 questions online and get an assessment of preferred learning styles, along with descriptions and recommendations on how best to study as a result.  This link was referenced from the notes of a Virginia Tech course on Problem Solving for Computer Science.

  2. "Why Do Americans Stink At Math?" by Elizabeth Green.  New York Times Magazine, July 23, 2014.  [Thanks to Don Yanek]
    Personal highlights that struck me: 
    1. The comedian Louis C.K. parodied his daughters’ homework in an appearance on “The Late Show With David Letterman”: “It’s like, Bill has three goldfish. He buys two more. How many dogs live in London?”
    2. [Lampert] replaced “I, We, You” with a structure you might call “You, Y’all, We.” Rather than starting each lesson by introducing the main idea to be learned that day, she assigned a single “problem of the day,” designed to let students struggle toward it — first on their own (You), then in peer groups (Y’all) and finally as a whole class (We). The result was a process that replaced answer-getting with what Lampert called sense-making.
    3. "Dan Lortie calls the phenomenon the apprenticeship of observation. Teachers learn to teach primarily by recalling their memories of having been taught."
    4. In Japan, teachers had always depended on jugyokenkyu, which translates literally as “lesson study,” a set of practices that Japanese teachers use to hone their craft. A teacher first plans lessons, then teaches in front of an audience of students and other teachers along with at least one university observer. Then the observers talk with the teacher about what has just taken place.

  3. "We Can Code It: Why Computer Literacy is Key to Winning the 21st Century."  Mother Jones, ~July 2014.  [Thanks to Joanna Goode]
    Computational Thinking and Problem Solving have wide applications.

  4. "Who Gets To Graduate" by Paul Tough.  New York Times, May 15th 2014.  [Thanks to Pete Nelson]
    Talks about a "growth-mindset" vs. a "fixed-mindset."  Gives results on how a one hour intervention drastically improved the number of otherwise at-risk students scoring in the top quarter of their class.