I am an educational reformer – because I truly believe education is broken. Unfortunately, the current philosophies for moving education forward are founded in traditional education. Traditional education, with roots in social constructionist philosophies, tell us that reality is a social construct, and so there is no such thing as an objective truth. As a scientist who has spent his life looking for ever closer approximations of reality, I have trouble understanding this approach to life.
I believe that there is a reality separate from whatever it is that we make up in our heads. Reality is objective and constant. How people learn is a part of that reality and the research/evidence base around the subject is enormous.
However, the current educational philosophies (social constructionism) abjure using hard evidence to guide teaching practices.
A teacher that is satisfied with their teaching is a poor teacher. Teachers are always looking for ways to improve and ways to reach their students better. Ways to increase understanding. Ways to generate interest and excitement in learning. Better ways to teach.
Unfortunately, the world of education focuses almost entirely on just that – better ways to TEACH.
What is missing is any real understanding of how their students actually learn.
Over the years, I have amassed a wealth of blog posts (numbering in the thousands) from senior level university students who had to produce short (around 500 words), weekly blog posts giving me evidence about how people learn, and how this applies to the world of formal education. This year, I have (finally) been gathering them together in one place, categorising, and indexing them so that they are useful (I am about 1/4 done). They are a treasure trove of insights and evidence.
I have been involved in continued professional development for years and years, and since discussions are the number one method of fostering understanding, I have decided that this horde of information should be used to help, anyone really, to understand how people learn, and how we can harness that knowledge and understanding to improve how learning can be done in a formal setting (education). I am going to host discussion groups that would like to look at what the evidence says about how people learn and what that means in real life.
Have a look at what I have proposed here, and if you are interested, let me know.