Major Findings from Educational Psychology

A sort of greatest hits one-line summaries from educationalists like   Dewey, Bereiter, Piaget, Egan, Vygotsky and more. Sorry for the lack of context, will try to expand on some of these in the future. Another way to say it is that these are the things I believe.

New knowledge must be connected to old knowledge, and then applied.

Humans are social in nature and learn best interactively.

The mind has a developmental imperative that cannot be ignored.

Education should be all about individual development, not societal selection.

The purpose of school is to help young people live in the present and prepare them for the future.

Learning that ignores the emotions and the society of learners is not true learning.

True education possesses a rhythm that is composed of two beats: freedom and discipline. Both are needed.

School should give students an array of authentic, powerful, cultural and cognitive tools.

Schools now have contradictory goals: academic excellence, individual development, and socialization.

Students should work on real problems that encourage them to figure out the world they live in.

Educators need a far more sophisticated model of understanding and knowledge.

Thinking, productive, strenuous, creative thought, must be at the heart of instruction.

What Schools Should and Shouldn’t Do

Although a considerable degree of uniformity in what is taught and how it is taught is both necessary and good, our children do not give up all of their intellectual or human rights when they enter the formal school system. Learners should always be respected as unique individuals who deserve some measure of autonomy. The intellectual, aesthetic, emotional and social fulfillment of every child must absolutely be held as a core responsibility of everyone involved in the educational enterprise. As J. Zaccharias wrote, “Children come to school different and it is our job to make them more different.” This can absolutely be accomplished while at the same time ensuring that our schools provide a challenging, high-quality and coherent curriculum that will provide a focusing and integrating force in society. To press this point, schools should be about human development and not selection. It is regrettably true that a truly equal, democratic society in which all students have received the same life chances doesn’t exist and perhaps never shall. Yet I strongly feel it should be our goal as a society to attempt to at least ameliorate existing inequalities. Schools should never exacerbate social and economic divides. Look at the current situation across the nation and ask yourself if we are on the right path.

 

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