Archive for July 15, 2011

Explicit instruction prevents exploration — but will all students explore?

Interesting result: If you show students something that a novel toy will do, students will do that something, and are unlikely to explore and figure out other features of the toy. That makes sense — how much exploration do you do in your computer applications to figure out everything that they can do? I do believe that not doing explicit instruction is more likely to lead to exploration. But for all students? How many students will do how much exploration? If we don’t teach students anything, will they explore and learn everything?

I thought the bottomline of the report is a fair statement:

So what’s a teacher or parent to do? Schulz is quick to point out that the study is not an argument against instruction. “Things that you’re extremely unlikely to figure out on your own — how to read, how to do calculus, how to drive a car — it would make no sense to try to learn by exploration,” she says.

Rather, the study underscores the real-world trade-offs between education and exploration, and the importance of acknowledging what is unknown even while imparting what is known. Teachers should, where possible, offer the caveat that there may be more to learn.

via Don’t show, don’t tell? – MIT News Office.

July 15, 2011 at 7:42 am 5 comments

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July 2011

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