Letter to NPR’s Ari Shapiro and producers of their “individualized learning” podcast

From: Erich Martel
Sent: Sunday, November 25, 2018
To: ‘mediarelations@npr.org’

Dear Ari Shapiro and Individualized Learning (and Project Based Learning) Podcast Producers,

I want to make three points re “Individualized Learning” and all claims pertaining to education:

1) Always look for independent research.

Putting Students on the Path to Learning: The Case for Fully Guided Instruction:  http://www.aft.org/pdfs/americaneducator/spring2012/Clark.pdf

Why minimal guidance during instruction does not work: An analysis of the failure of constructivist, discovery, problem-based, experiential, and inquiry-based teaching

http://www.cogtech.usc.edu/publications/kirschner_Sweller_Clark.pdf

http://www.bie.org/object/document/a_review_of_research_on_project_based_lea
rning

Google neuroscientist Dan Willingham (UVA) and look at his series of articles, “Ask the cognitive scientist” in the quarterly American Educator: https://www.aft.org/ae/author-index#quicktabs-authors=4   (scroll down to Willingham)

2) Beware of educational programs described in euphemistic, feel-good language

A good example is “individualized learning”; it’s isolated computer driven learning. You should never employ a euphemism without explaining what it means in unvarnished, objective terms. Look up E.D. Hirsch’s jargon generator.

3) I was shocked to hear Chan and Zuckerberg quoted as education experts.

You have no reason to trust what they say about their facebook empire. There is even less reason to trust them on the subject of education:

See: Dale Russakoff, “The Prize: Who’s In Charge of America’s Schools?” which describes Zuckerberg’s $100M failed initiative in the Newark NJ public schools.

You already know a great deal about facebook’s role in the 2016 elections. The UK Parliament has just discovered even more evidence of Z’s irresponsibility:
https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/nov/24/mps-seize-cache-facebook-
internal-papers

I like NPR and many of its programs. I am, however, sick of hearing foundation ads on NPR that make claims (Walton, Edutopia, etc., etc.) that are not supported by independent research.

Erich Martel, Retired Washington, DC high school history teacher (1969-2011)

This entry was posted in Censorship, constructivism, Curriculum & Instruction, Education journalism, Education policy, Erich Martel, information suppression, K-12, research ethics. Bookmark the permalink.

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