Brief Remarks Encapsulating Winter Quarter
- Mentorship. This is new: I switched emphases from teacher education to math education. I’m retaining Pam Grossman (my current adviser in teacher education) but adding Jo Boaler (who is the math education professor at Stanford) to the Team Dan Meyer, Ph.D. roster. The education of new teachers and development of current teachers is still wildly fascinating to me, but I am asked with growing frequency to speak to and write for and work with math educators. I know enough about what I don’t know to know that I need to study up and work out some blind spots in my vision if I’m going to be effective in any of those roles.
- Temptation. The private sector extended several invitations my way last quarter to leave Stanford — to cut a corner, basically, and go straight to work. Some of those invitations were easier to turn down than others. In every case, though, I was grateful for the opportunity to remind myself again of the reasons I committed to this difficult, frequently humbling work.
- Music. I tend to wear out the grooves on a single record during finals week each quarter, playing the same songs over and over and over until they become useful white noise. Fall quarter it was Mumford and Sons. Winter quarter it was the soundtrack to The Social Network by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. Anyway.
Notes on last quarter’s classes:
- Statistical Methods in Education. Key skill: analyze regression tables like this one for meaning. Prof. Stevens said in fall quarter he loves the moment when an author drops the tables in a paper because up until that point we’re just bobbing along with the author’s narrative. But the table tells its own stories.
- Proseminar. One of my colleagues said it pretty well: “In any given week of proseminar, two thirds of the class simply don’t give a damn.” Which is to say the wonks don’t really care much about the pedagogy and the teachers don’t care much for policy and the social theorists have an entirely separate set of interests.
- Casual Learning Technologies. This was a mixed bag. The field is really, really new (James Gee, the discipline’s flag-bearer, is a linguist by training who got interested in gaming all of six years ago) and has a lot of room to grow. Which is to say, I wasn’t dazzled by the literature. Remind me to post my group’s final project, though. That was fun.
- EDUC325C — Proseminar. David Labaree, Francisco Ramirez. Required. Labaree, in his initial remarks to the class: “You may have heard this course features too much reading, too much writing, that the criticism is too harsh, and our opinion of schools is too pessimistic. It’s all true.” (Labaree has written a few books of note.)
- EDUC359F — Research in Mathematics Education. Jo Boaler. Elective.
- EDUC424 — Introduction to Research in Curriculum and Teacher Education. Hilda Borko. Required.
Winter Quarter #GradSkool Tweets
- Yes, this is #gradskool and, yes, Angry Birds is on the syllabus. http://yfrog.com/gzqghxsj 6 Jan
- Today’s #gradskool throw-down: Who won in US schools and universities — Dewey or Thorndike? Great discussion. Lots of nuance. 18 Jan
- Stats prof, reading the room: “I don’t know how to make this more lively. I really don’t know how to make this more lively.” #gradskool 23 Feb
- Carol Dweck is speaking. I am listening. #gradskool yfrog.com/h4l7mjoj 8 Mar
- Dweck has no slides. She’s four-feet tall, sitting on a table, feet dangling beneath her, positively /owning/ the room. #gradskool 8 Mar
- Five rows from Michelle Rhee. An unlikely mix of education and business grad students in the building. yfrog.com/h0wo8yhj 11 Mar
- Rhee: “What we did definitely made people unhappy.” She literally seems to believe that diplomacy and efficacy are mutually exclusive. 11 Mar
- Rhee: “Is there a less controversial way to do controversial things? I don’t know the answer to that.” 11 Mar
- Rhee: “Chris Christie? I love him. He’s a Republican and I’m a Democrat. It’s not obvious we’d get along so well.” Seriously? 11 Mar
- Rhee: “I worry about people going into the job with longevity as one of the goals. I’m not a big believer in longevity.” 11 Mar
- GSB student: “Did you really eat a bee?” Rhee: “I did eat a bee.” Way to pitch her a fastball, Chuck. 11 Mar
- These moguls were the most out of place contingent at the Rhee Q&A. Good luck finding the executive washroom, fellas. yfrog.com/gzz8vdcj 11 Mar
Michelle Rhee followed me on Twitter the next day. So look out, right?
Favorite Winter Quarter Papers
- Brown. Physical science and an assessment of the in-service workshop as an effective means of influencing the teacher verbal role behavior of guided discovery/inquiry. (1972)
- Engaging schools: Fostering high school students’ motivation to learn. The National Academies Press (2003) pp. 31-59
- Gee. Good video games and good learning. Phi Kappa Phi Forum (2005) vol. 85 (2) pp. 33
- Glazerman et al. Evaluating teachers: The important role of value-added. (2010) pp. 1-13
- Nash. Fostering moral conversations in the college classroom. Journal on Excellence in College Teaching (1996) vol. 7 (1) pp. 83-106
- Wineburg. Crazy for history. Journal of American History (2004) vol. 90 (4) pp. 1401-1414
I spent a few weeks of my winter quarter trying to make sense of the PBL / anti-PBL scrum of 06/07. Those papers are below, in chronological order, with a closing paper pitched specifically at math educators.
- Kirschner et al. Why minimal guidance during instruction does not work: An analysis of the failure of constructivist, discovery, problem-based, experiential, and inquiry-based teaching. Educational Psychologist (2006) vol. 41 (2) pp. 75-86
- Hmelo-Silver et al. Scaffolding and achievement in problem-based and inquiry learning: A response to Kirschner, Sweller, and Clark (2006). Educational Psychologist (2007) vol. 42 (2) pp. 99-107
- Kuhn. Is direct instruction an answer to the right question?. Educational Psychologist (2007) vol. 42 (2) pp. 109-113
- Schmidt et al. Problem-based learning is compatible with human cognitive architecture: Commentary on Kirschner, Sweller, and Clark (2006). Educational Psychologist (2007) vol. 42 (2) pp. 91-97
- Sweller et al. Why minimally guided teaching techniques do not work: A reply to commentaries. Educational Psychologist (2007) vol. 42 (2) pp. 115-121
- Sweller et al. Teaching general problem-solving skills is not a substitute for, or a viable addition to, teaching mathematics. Journal of the American Mathematical Society (2010) vol. 57 (10) pp. 1303-1304
Spring Speaking & Workshops