Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Answer Man

The Wall Street Journal reviews a new book that purports to answer some urgent questions about student engagement.

In Why Don't Students Like School?, author and cognitive scientist Daniel T. Willingham invents a fictional classroom teacher to pose nine questions and then provides the answers--which is one of the most effective ways to win an argument.

OK. Fine. Why?
"...one major reason is that what school requires students to do -- think abstractly -- is in fact not something our brains are designed to be good at or to enjoy...The result is boredom and displeasure. The challenge, for the teacher, is to design lessons and exercises that will maximize interest and attention and thus make students like school at least a bit more."
Mr. Willingham suggests a return to rote learning and drilling. He goes after the multiple learning style theorists and everything Howard Gardner ever told you, concluding: "No one has found consistent evidence supporting a theory describing such a difference. . . . Children are more alike than different in terms of how they think and learn."

Also: Earth, Wind & Fire -Boogie Wonderland

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