ERIC Number: EJ804187
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Sep
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
Reflections on the Field: Aspirations of Learning Science and the Practical Logic of Instructional Enterprises
Rothkopf, Ernst Z.
Educational Psychology Review, v20 n3 p351-368 Sep 2008
Over 100 years of learning and cognition research have had only modest cumulative impact on teaching, while many other practical domains such as agriculture have shown a steady growth in widely accepted, research-informed practices. Several reasons have been advanced for the painfully slow adoption of science-based instructional procedures. One important but not widely recognized obstacle is proposed here, namely, that the aims of fundamental learning and teaching research do not mesh well with the practical logic of schools. Basic learning research tends to focus on efficiency, i.e., how much can be learned from a given amount of effort or time but teaching efficiency is not a strong concern for schools. This is because they generally focus on global year-end results while the efforts required at the tactical lesson level are only loosely monitored. School administrators tend to reckon costs in terms of the number of engaged teachers and not in the difficulty of each teacher's job. For these reasons, schools can be expected to have only nominal interests in science-informed, close management of tactical pedagogic units. Psychological work on labor saving possibilities, such as research-based instructive products, is more likely to be readily welcomed than improvements in lesson efficiency, especially in middle and high schools. Instructional enterprises in which the cost and the benefits of instruction are borne by the same agency, such as industrial training, are the most likely consumers of efficiency-related basic cognitive research.
Descriptors: Industrial Training, Logical Thinking, Teaching Methods, Instructional Effectiveness, Administrators, Middle Schools, High Schools, Research
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools; Middle Schools
Authoring Institution: N/A