Friday, April 2, 2010

Re: "How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience and School"

Some blog followers might be interested in a recent post of the above title. The abstract reads:


ABSTRACT - GS Candy of the Math-Teach list wrote: "I've now read through quite sizable portions of . . . . . How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience and School. . . . .[[Branford et al. (2000)]] . . . . I believe most of the book's findings and recommendations do not square with the philosophy of the Robert Hansen-Wayne Bishop school of thought regarding the teaching or learning of math. The book will serve as an excellent model for the effective teaching and learning of math - or of any other discipline, for that matter . . . . . I shall be using it as a primary reference for all my own work."

Bransford et al. (2000) have to this to say about behaviorism: "A limitation of early behaviorism stemmed from its focus on observable stimulus conditions and the behaviors associated with those conditions. This orientation made it difficult to study such phenomena as understanding, reasoning, and thinking-phenomena that are of paramount importance for education. Over time, radical behaviorism. . . . . gave way to a more moderate form of behaviorism. . . . that preserved the scientific rigor of using behavior as data, but also allowed hypotheses about internal 'mental' states when these became necessary to explain various phenomena. . . . In the late 1950s, the complexity of understanding humans and their environments became increasingly apparent, and a new field emerged - cognitive science. From its inception, cognitive science approached learning from a multidisciplinary perspective that included anthropology, linguistics, philosophy, developmental psychology, computer science, neuroscience, and several branches of psychology. . . . . . New experimental tools, methodologies, and ways of postulating theories made it possible for scientists to begin serious study of mental functioning: to test their theories rather than simply speculate about thinking and learning and, in recent years, to develop insights into the importance of the social and cultural contexts of learning. The introduction of rigorous qualitative research methodologies have provided perspectives on learning that complement and enrich the experimental research traditions."

What's behaviorism got to do with math education? I used to think that math warrior Wayne Bishop's "Mathematically Correct" school of "direct instruction," was a manifestation of behaviorism. But lately I've come to realize that "Precision Teaching," an exemplar of one school of behaviorism, may not be all bad - more than can be said for "Mathematically Correct."

Math-Teach subscribers, who, like Chandy, think Bransford et al. might "serve as an excellent model for the effective teaching and learning of math" might consider subscribing to PhysLrnR, where "Bransford" is more commonly mentioned than on Math-Teach.


To access the complete 17 kB post please click on .

REFERENCES [Tiny URL’s courtesy .]

Bransford, J.D., A.L. Brown, R.R. Cocking, eds. 2000. How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience and School. Nat. Acad. Press; the entire book (with a search engine) is online at !

Hake, R.R. 2010. "Re: How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience and School," online at the OPEN! AERA-L archives at . Post of 1 Apr 2010 20:38:44-0700 to AERA-L, Math-Teach, and Net-Gold. The abstract and a link to the complete post are being distributed to various discussion lists.

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