ERIC Number: ED495334
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Sep-1
Productive Learning: Science, Art, and Einstein's Relativity in Educational Reform
Glazek, Stanislaw D.; Sarason, Seymour B.
Why do people, college-bound or even in college, stay away in droves from courses in science, especially physics? Why do people know so little about the significance of Einstein's contributions which require dramatic changes in how we understand ourselves, our world, and the entire universe? Why have educational reforms failed? In this book, two professors, one a particle physicist and the other a psychologist, confront these questions in a unique way based on the assumption that people can grasp on a non-superficial level what Einstein did in 1905 if, and only if, the features of productive learning are taken seriously. The authors make clear that those features are applicable in teaching any subject matter by devoting two chapters to music and other arts. In the case of science, they chose Einstein's work precisely because of the general belief that it cannot be assimilated by "ordinary mortals" whose brains are not "wired" to comprehend the ways in which time, mass, energy, and the speed of light are seamlessly interrelated. The goal of this book is to demonstrate that features of the context of productive learning are applicable to any teacher-student relationship, regardless of whether the student is in first grade, in high school, or in college. Einstein's work was about alignment of frames of reference of observers in physics. A similar process of alignment between the minds of a student and a teacher is the vehicle of productive learning. The book explains the analogy. The authors discuss and emphasize that educational reform will continue to fail as long as the concept of learning is fuzzy and provides no direction to the teacher-student relationship. Reform efforts will continue to fail unless and until they are based on a clear distinction between contexts of productive and unproductive learning. The table of contents begins with About the Authors, Acknowledgments and contains seventeen chapters: (1) Structure of the Book; (2) And What Do You Mean by Learning? (3) Mr. Holland's Opus; (4) Transition From Music to E = mc Squared; (5) A Letter to the Reader; (6) Light Carries Energy; (7) How Fast Is Light? (8) What Is Light? What Is Ether? (9) How Can We Describe the Energy of Light? (10) The Principle of Conservation of Energy; (11) Max and Ming: Light in the Matchbox; (12) Max and Ming Build Their Frames of Reference; (13) What Time Is It on a Distant Clock? (14) Max and Ming Review the Concept of Time; (15) Einstein's Theory of Relativity; (16) How E= mc Squared Comes About; and (17) Toward a Conception of Learning. Appended are: (1) Energy of Motion of a Body, (2) Frequencies and Energies of Photons If Time Is Absolute; (3) Max's Time Coordinates of Four Events; (4) Is the Speed of Light Special? (5) Einstein's Relationship between Frames of Reference; (6) Time and the Pythagorean Theorem; (7) How Gamma Depends on v; (8) Energy of Photons According to Ming; (9) How Absorption of Light Changes Mass; and (10) Lenard and Einstein. Also included are Notes and Index.
Descriptors: Physics, Educational Change, Teacher Student Relationship, Elementary Secondary Education, Higher Education, Educational Principles, Teaching Methods, Learning, Epistemology, Fine Arts, Sciences, Scientific Concepts
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Publication Type: Books; Guides - General
Education Level: Elementary Education; Elementary Secondary Education; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Secondary Education
Audience: Students; Teachers
Authoring Institution: N/A