For who still thought there are left and right brain people… (research)

From experience to meaning...

This new research published in PLOSOne debunks (again) a very, very popular neuromyth: left- and right brain thinking. You probably will have heard something like this: Logical, detail-oriented and analytical? That’s left-brained behavior. Creative, thoughtful and subjective? Your brain’s right side functions stronger. Well, we already new it was bogus and made some jokes about it but this new research still is important.

So, what’s the news?

From the press release:

Following a two-year study, University of Utah researchers have debunked that myth through identifying specific networks in the left and right brain that process lateralized functions. Lateralization of brain function means that there are certain mental processes that are mainly specialized to one of the brain’s left or right hemispheres. During the course of the study, researchers analyzed resting brain scans of 1,011 people between the ages of seven and 29. In each person, they studied functional lateralization of…

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Ethical issues in teacher-led research

Evidence into Practice

At the last research leads event at Cambridge, I raised the issue of ethical considerations where teachers engage in research. Here are some thoughts:

First of all, it’s important not to over-state the seriousness of ethical issues in teacher-led research within schools. The sorts of things that most teachers ‘investigate’ are close enough to the activities which take place as part of ordinary teaching in schools that ethical issues are not a major concern: Trying out a new writing frame, creating a formative assessment to identify misconceptions, developing questioning techniques, adapting materials to help EAL students access learning, implementing low-stakes quizzes to help consolidate previously taught topics, etc. Teachers already have a duty of care towards their students and should simply exercise professional judgement when planning innovations in their teaching. Thus, in my opinion, the vast majority of teacher inquiry projects likely require no additional ethical permissions or protections.

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The McNamara Fallacy and the Problem with Numbers in Education

#McNamara #education #statistics #standardization #learning #performance #phronesis

chronotope

Robert McNamara was by any standards, a wildly successful man. Harvard graduate, president of Ford motors then rising to the heights of U.S. Secretary of Defense in the 1960s, McNamara epitomised American élan and brio. But he had one major flaw – he saw the world in numbers.

During the Vietnam War, McNamara employed a strategic method he had successfully used during his days at Ford where he created data points for every element of production and quantified everything in a ruthless fashion to improve efficiency and production. One of the main metrics he used to evaluate progress and inform strategy was body counts. “Things you can count, you ought to count,” claimed McNamara, “loss of life is one.”

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The problem with this method was that the Vietnam war was characterised by the unmeasurable chaos of human conflict not the definable production of parts on a factory assembly line. Things spun out of control as McNamara’s statistical method failed to take into…

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