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An educator cannot effectively implement teaching methods unless _________ and __________.
- 1. ... they know how children learn.
- 2. ... they know what they're trying to accomplish.
What are data?
- Data are the evidence and observations gathered by scientists using the scientific method. Datas test theories.
- Data can also require us to modify or discard a theory
What is a theory?
- Theory is an explanation of the facts or data. It attempts to explain WHY the world is the way it is. Theories explain data.
- A theory is a model of a part of the universe.
- Every theory begins with assumptions.
- Personal experience is not evidence.
- (usually not objective)
- Personal success is not evidence.
- (what worked for you may not work for everyone)
- Expert testimony is not evidence.
- People say or claim things but do not test them.
- (This includes principals, supervisors, and professors)
- Do not be overwhelmed by fancy jargon - good scientists present evidence in ways that can be understood.
- What seems to make "sense" is not evidence.
- Scientists rely on evidence.
- What makes sense to one may not to another.
- Different people have different ideas about common sense.
- The general acceptance of an idea is not evidence.
- Yes, 50,000,000 people can be wrong about something.
- (Earth is flat?)
- The proper use of logic is imperative in the scientific method.
- If we make mistakes in logic, we may reach bad conclusions despite good data.
- Saying the same thing in different words and pretending we have explained something.
- "That man is balding because he is losing his hair."
- They do not explain anything.
- Does not equal causality.
- "People who speak English are, on average, wealthier than other people. Therefore learning to speak English will make you rich.
- Be careful with assuming direction of causality.
- Good data is not enough.
- Proper logic is important when drawing conclusions.
- An error in logic can cause us to reach incorrect conclusions.
- Errors in logic are called logical fallacies.
Logical Fallacy examples
- "When it rains all the sidewalks get wet. Therefore, if a sidewalk is wet, it must have rained."
- "People who are damaged in a certain area of their brains lose the ability to read. Therefore, if someone has trouble learning how to read, his brain is damaged."
- "The new program isn't perfect. Therefore we should use the old program."
These begin theories that lead to a different basic understanding of the "nature" of people.
For each theory, ask:
- What educational goals are most consistent with the theory?
- What ed. methodologies are most consistent with the theory?
- How does the theory define achievement? (IMPORTANT)
- What are the factors that contribute to acheivement?
- What are the factors that contribute to a lack of acheivement?
Comparison to the norm
- Each child's performance on various skills is tested.
- A child's IQ is determined by comparing the number of answers correct to the average number for their age.
IQ score calculation
- IQ = (100)(MA/CA)
- This has been abandoned and is now being calculated using standardized scores.
- The reason behind this being that they're looking for attainment of normal distribution (bell curve).
Normal distribution is used for:
- Calculating IQs and percentiles
- These scores lead to labels such as "retarded" and "learning disabled"
What is a major consideration for determining what questions will be on an IQ test?
Considering whether or not that question will contribute to achieving a normal distribution of answers on the test.
Retardation on IQ Tests
- Retardation is not a measure of reasoning ability or problem solving.
- Retardation is a statistical construct (having more than two standard deviations below average)
- A learning disability is determined by subtracting a person's score on a standardized achievement test from her/his IQ score
Means accuracy - if the score on a test is accurate, than the test is reliable. There can be little doubt that IQ tests are reliable.
If the test measures what it claims to be measuring, then the test is valid. Many people have grave doubts as to whether IQ tests are valid measures of ability.
IQ Sub-tests: "Verbal" measures what?
Information, similarities, arithmetic, vocabulary, and comprehension
IQ Sub-tests: "Performance IQ" measures what?
Picture completion, picture arrangement, block design, object assembly, coding
The truth about IQ tests:
- They are tests of achievement of various "school-type" tasks.
- They attempt to assess the quantitative number of correct answers a child gives compared to the norm for their age.
Newer IQ sub-tests include:
Block design, similarities, digit span, picture concepts, coding, vocabulary, letter-number sequencing, matrix reasoning, symbol search, picture completion, cancellation, information, arithmetic, comprehension, and word reasoning.
The new IQ scoring system:
IQ advocates are now using "factor analysis" and claim they have a theory when, in fact, they do not have a true theory based on an understanding of learning and development.
Looks for similar scoring patterns across the various tests and then attempts to discern a "mental ability" that is demonstrated by these similar answers. This is the reason for new tests and the elimination of old tests from the calculation of overall IQ.
Problems with factor analysis:
Even though IQ advocates concede that the overall IQ score means nothing, it is still calculated because without it the concept of Learning Disabilities would disappear.
Assumptions made by IQ tests
- 1. Age is a valid criterion for measuring intelligence
- 2. People have a standard environment
- 3. Performence is a sufficient measure of intelligence
- 4. Scholastic validity
- 5. IQ measures are sufficiently complete
- 6. All the sub-tests measure the same understanding
- 7. The test taking abilities of people are equal
The result of low IQs:
- "Labeling game":
- L.D., Retarded, Slow learner, etc.
- All of these labels are a result of scores on IQ and other standardiezed tests, not of measures of thinking or neurological testing.
Circular explanations in learning disorders:
Kafka says "Just because your doctor has a name for your condition doesn't mean he knows what it is."
The problem with labeling someone "L.D."
We are given circular explanations and unsubstantiated contentions about genetic damage in order to explain why the child cannot learn what we are teaching.
Circular terms to describe L.D. people
- Dyslexia: "trouble reading disease" ... WHY?
- Dyscalculia: "trouble calculating disease" .... WHY?
- Dysgraphia: "trouble writing disease" .... WHY?
What do standardized intelligence tests do?
They measure SYMPTOMS, they do not tell us WHY they are performing how they are. They are NOT DIAGNOSTIC.
a cause (in our case a cause for the learning disability)
Low test scores imply:
- a failure for the child.
- We maintain that something MUST be wrong with the student (despite having evidence)
What assumptions are made when blaming the child for their learning disability?
- 1. There is a perfect system to teach all normal children.
- 2. We have perfect knowledge of this system.
- 3. We always implement this system perfectly.
- Therefore: any child who does not learn must be abnormal.
- BUT, if any of the 3 above premises is not true, then it is not valid.
What should the purpose of schools be?
How can we educate children?
By knowing how they think, develop, and learn
Why is age not a valid measure of intelligence standard?
Because there are variations in the speed at which normal children learn and develop. This makes IQ tests invalid.
How does the IQ test assume a standard environment?
Because many of the questions test learned knowledge In order for the tests to be measurements of innate ability, they have to assume that everyone had equal exposure to the items on the test. How do we know whether each child has had exposure?
How do IQ tests assume scholastic validity?
Because the material on the test are assumed to be important.
How do IQ tests assume performance sufficiency?
Because getting the correct answer is the only way to provide evidence to intelligence. HOW we get to the answers may be a more crucial element of intelligence.
How do IQ tests assume a completeness of the test?
Because they claim to measure everything that goes into intelligence. In actuality they do not measure things like music, art, social skills, decision making abilities, etc.
How is averaging IQ test scores stupid?
Because you're averaging apples and oranges. The test measures multiple things like vocabulary, math, puzzles, designs, and averages them. That's just dumb.
What does the IQ test assume about test taking abilities?
That all test taking abilities are equal. In reality some people are good at taking tests, or better than others. Some people suck at it.
What is Reinforcement Theory?
The view that all mental concepts are irrelevant.
an environemntal stimulus that increases a behavior
an environmental stimulus that decreases behavior
Decreasing or eliminating a behavior by failing to reinforce it
What are naturally emitted behaviors?
Behaviors that the environment around you creates.
Education with the goal being to effect changes in the learner's behavior. Mental constructs have no place in a behaviorist classroom. "Think", "Know", "Learn" are bad words, objectives should be in behaviral terms only.
Size of reinforcement (Behaviorism)
- Increasing the size of the reinforcement increases likelihood that the person will engage in the behavior.
- (Do my dishes for $50? Do my dishes for $0.50?)
Reinforcement is provided every time the person does the desired behavior
Problems of continuous reinforcement (behaviorism)
- 1. It is not practical
- 2. Very fast extinction occurs when reinforcement stops.
Objectives of a Behavioral classroom
- 1. Identify the behavioral objective
- 2. Find the reinforcements that will increase the desired behavior.
Problems in Behavioral Theory
- 1. There is no one to set the goals.
- 2. The term reinforcement does not mean anything in terms of practical information.
Fixed Ratio Characteristics (behaviorism)
- 1. Steady rate of work (positive)
- 2. Fast rate of extinction (negative)
Variable ratio Characteristics (behaviorism)
- 1. A steady rate of work (positive)
- 2. Slow rate of extinction (positive)
Fixed interval characteristics (Behaviorism)
- 1. A slow, unsteady rate of work (negative)
- 2. A fast rate of extinction (negative)
Variable interval characteristics (behaviorism)
- 1. Steady rate of work (positive)
- 2. Slow rate of extinction (positive)
Self-excluding fallacy (Behaviorism)
- There is nobody to decide upon the behavioral objects.
- There is no one to analyze the data.
- There is no one who has the free will to shape others.
The person using the theory of behaviorism must:
- decide upon behavioral objectives.
- analyze data.
- be the active shaper of the passive students who are being shaped.
Fallacies to Behaviorism:
The person dictating the behaviorist principles is assumed to not be effected by the psychology itself.
- A behavior that naturally occurs frequently has a high probability of reinforcing a behavior that naturally occurs less frequently.
- Basically using something a pupil likes to do as a reward for doing something they don't like to do.
Social Learning Theory
- Learning that occurs within a social context
- Reinforcement plays a role in learning but is not entirely responsible (like behaviorism..)
- Cognitive processes play a crucuial role in learning
- People learn through observation
- Learning can occur without a change in behavior
- Human development reflects an interaction among an active person, behavior, and environment
- Modeling AND
- Vicarious learning (reinforcement and punishment)
Modeling (Social learning theory)
Learning through observation. The importance of modeling is that it teaches new behaviors.
Vicarious experience (Social learning theory)
People's abilities and belief in their ability are influenced by watching others succeed or fail.
Children's feelings about their abilities are a better predictor of success than are their actual abilities.
Problems with Social Learning Theory
- The circularity of the term reinforcement is even worse for Bandura than it is for Skinner.
- When naturally occurring behaviors are reinforced, they tend to be extinguished if reinforcement is withdrawn.
- 1. People are active
- 2. We develop by learning; learning explains development.
- 3. People change through reinforcements and punishments. (modeling)
- 4. Reinforcements and punishments motivate people. Motivation is external (...questionable!)
- 5. Behavior is important - Bandura emphasizes modifying behavior, modeling behavior, and evaluating students.
- 6. Thinking is also important - thoughts strongly influence behavior. Memories and emotions are the results of past experiences are a crucial component of the behaviors a person displays.
- 7. UNLIKE BEHAVIORISTS, Bandura puts a great deal of emphasis on emotions. This is mostly seen in the importance he places on self efficacy as a fundamental determinant of learning.
Modeling (Social Learning Theory)
- The proces of learning by watching and repeating a behavior.
- This explains the learning of complex behavior in one or few trials.
- This process implies cognition since we must remember what we saw and then repeat it.
The observer must attend to the relevant characteistics of the model.
The observer must encode verbal and/or visual representations of the model.
Motor reproduction (modeling)
The observer must be physically able to reproduce the behavior of the model
The observer must want to perform the observed behavior
Types of models
- Live - A real person in the presence of the observer
- Symbolic - An "image" of a real person or character
- Verbal - Written instructions or descriptions of how to act
Characteristics of Effective Models
Competence, Prestige/Power, Gender-appropriate behavior, Relevance, Identification with the model
Vicarious reinforcement and punishment
The learner watches the consequences of behaviors engaged in by others. This influences her/his behavior in the future. Thus, cognitive processes are implied since we remember and decide how to act. And, behavior is not the same as learning since the person can decide not to engage in a certain behavior or not to learn in the future.
Vygotsky's Language-learning Theory
Learning language facilitates development. It allows children to receive ideas, culture, and thinking from those around them. Vygotsky believes thinking reflects language (while Piaget believed language reflects thinking)
Zone of Proximal Development
- The level of achievement that includes tasks that the child cannot accomplish alone but can acheive when assisted by a competent adult (or peer).
- Tasks below the zone the child can already accomplish with no help. Thus giving the child this kind of task involves no new learning. Tasks above the zone cannot be accomplished even with help. (this is like Goldilocks)
The role of the teacher in Zone of Proximal Develoment
provide activities within this "goldilocks" zone of development.
- It is a verb.
- It means that students receive help that enables them to complete tasks that they cannot complete independently.
- Cooperative learning.
Types of scaffolding
- Thinking aloud
- Asking questions
- Cueing (mnuemonic devices)
Vygotsky thinks educators should be trying to achieve:
- Fit goals within the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD)
- Use the techniques for scaffolding