Weekly Roundup 1-13-13

School: Seattle high school teachers refuse to give a mandated standardized test known as the MAP (Measure of Academy Progress). In a long and detailed letter, the teachers list a number of reasons why they are protesting the test. Some of the reasons are that it takes away from instruction time, is used inappropriately to evaluate teachers, tests content not aligned with Common Core standards, and results in computer labs being dominated for weeks by test takers, thus rendering them unavailable to other students.

Psychology: A Nobel prize-winning physics professor says that arguing with others is the best way to learn. Carl Weiman says that having students debate physics concepts with one another leads to more effective learning than a simple lecture format.

Scholarship: A new study shows that social disapproval is more effective than monetary fines in changing peoples’ behavior. Through a controlled experiment, researchers showed that over the long term people are much more likely to contribute to – and cooperate with – group efforts and less likely to “freeload” when social norms are clearly delineated.

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3 thoughts on “Weekly Roundup 1-13-13

  1. Good point, David. I learned statistics so much better when I had to teach the weekly lab as a TA. Another way to learn about a topic, I might add, is to blog about it 🙂

  2. To the psychology bit, I would say, “True.” But I’d also point out that another surefire way to learn (after you have an understanding of the material) is to teach. Believe it or not, I actually learned more, when I was teaching than I ever did in school. It becomes a sort “trial by fire” kind of thing. Your brain has to resolve student’s questions before they ask them – in a sense. Concepts you had memorized, or understood in a purely theoretical way, become much clearer when you have to explain them in simplest terms to a student.

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