Quality education

Impact on the quality of education

Do we really believe that every child can succeed? How does a view that a child’s potential is limited affects our ability to reach that child and hinder his or her development and academic success? The largely unexplored, and in some cases erroneous, beliefs held by many mainstream teachers have led to ineffective and even harmful teaching practice. How we view students and learn affects what we teach, how we teach it, and ultimately student learning. Some teachers design the curriculum as if diversity does not exist. They ignore or are not aware of how their students’ backgrounds or contexts shape their learning styles and influence their achievement.

We prefer observation over traditional pre- and post-test research and surveys as the best way to gather information about people. Observation allows one to discern the number and types of variables that affect learning in a given context. For example, observing infants and young children has shown that they can process information at a more complex and abstract level than other forms of research have previously shown them.

A second misconception held by many educators is that intelligence is a fixed, identifiable, and measurable entity. First, not even psychometric experts can agree on a common definition or theory of intelligence. Neither the tools nor the measurement procedures used by IQ experts can produce accurate scientific results.

Moreover, a mental measure of intelligence is by no means a prerequisite for current success in school. No set of data shows that any use of traditional IQ or mental measurement is associated with correct teaching and learning. Therefore, measuring IQ is a ritual that makes no sense from a professional point of view, a ritual that has unnecessary harmful consequences, and leads to the weakening of professional thought and action in a negative way, causing professionals to ignore successful strategies and methods in education. It is a ritual that shapes the student’s self-image in a negative way.

Some educators make the mistake of thinking that intelligence is a fixed and immutable entity. This view is based on the belief that an individual’s IQ is a fixed quantity that cannot grow. Those who hold this misconception do not take time to nurture the learner because they do not believe that such nurturing can have any effect on learning. Thus, teachers spend more time focusing on measuring abilities and on standardized test scores than on developing curricula that help students grow. This practice can lead to an over-reliance on test scores as indicators of future success. While some teachers use test scores such as the SAT and ACT to predict student success, these tests only show the degree to which students have been exposed to the material on the tests.

The third misconception is society’s doubt about the ability of all children to succeed. This misconception about student ability has led many to wonder if schools can improve learning. However, there are many schools that succeed regardless of what IQ tests and public opinions might predict. Some schools have developed a strict and demanding curriculum. The school day is longer than in other schools, and students are expected to work hard to succeed. Since opening, these schools have achieved student achievement gains of more than 48 percent on standardized tests. Teachers in these schools did not focus on what the IQ tests indicated or its context about students’ success. We must stop examining why students and schools fail and instead examine how to work within each context to maximize success.

We are particularly interested in how educational researchers confuse political and professional issues. Teachers waste time developing standards against which they measure students, when they should be nurturing student development. Conflating politics with professionalism can also mislead education researchers when assigning career motives to people who actually have a political agenda.

Does teaching really make a difference to student learning? The cognitive system represents the lowest level of learning. This is the level at which most classroom instruction occurs in the form of declarative or procedural knowledge. Declarative knowledge is information that is internalized and understood – eg, memorizing historical dates. On the other hand, procedural knowledge can be described as skills or processes that students master – for example, using the process of scientific inquiry.

In most classrooms today, the teaching of science, geography, and history is heavily weighted by declarative knowledge. Mathematics education is half didactic and half procedural. Language arts instruction includes three-quarters of procedural knowledge and one-quarter of declarative knowledge.

The next level in the hierarchy of human learning is metacognitive. At a metacognitive level, students reflect on their learning. They set goals for their learning, assess the resources they need, determine their learning strategies and monitor their progress. Another broad area of ​​the metacognitive system is the learner’s tendency toward learning. Does the learner persevere, seek clarity, and push their limits?

At the top of the hierarchy is the subjective system where learners consider how their beliefs affect their learning. Belief systems have a strong influence on what students learn. It is the students’ level of emotional engagement with their learning that determines its impact. Learners’ beliefs about themselves, others, and the world, as well as their personal effectiveness, interact as they set goals for their learning.

If teachers know how to dramatically increase learning, then why do students in so many classrooms in the country show such poor performance? There are many reasons, including the lack of a solid philosophical foundation for incorporating innovations. Another, is the lack of public support for change.

Teachers must make informed choices about learning goals and then design lessons to elicit that learning. In many classrooms, teachers themselves are not clear about the student learning they are looking for, so they may not use the most effective instructional strategies. Indeed, it is often difficult to say what kind of knowledge is needed. Research shows that teaching vocabulary through pictures and vague definitions has the greatest impact on learning. However, how do most teachers approach teaching vocabulary? By having students memorize the definitions and use of words in sentences. Similarly, the use of stories is the best strategy for teaching information that is factual or that involves sequences of time or cause and effect. However, most teachers instead ask the students to memorize the dates.

The meta-analysis reveals that in terms of the learning hierarchy, if students do not believe they can learn or that learning is important to them, no effective and long-term learning strategies will result. Teachers must be aware of not only the learning objectives and corresponding best instructional strategies, but also how to influence students’ beliefs about their learning. Only then will effective instructional strategies lead to significantly greater learning.

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