Schools for Thought

Schools for Thought

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If we want to improve educational opportunities and outcomes for all children, wemust start applying what we know about mental functioning -- how children think, learn, and rememberin our schools. We must apply cognitive science in the classroom. Schools for Thoughtprovides a straightforward, general introduction to cognitive research and illustrates itsimportance for educational change. Using classroom examples, Bruer shows howapplying cognitive research can dramatically improve students' transitions from lower-level roteskills to advanced proficiency in reading, writing, mathematics, and science. Cognitive research, hepoints out, is also beginning to suggest how we might better motivate students, design moreeffective tools for assessing them, and improve the training of teachers. He concludes with achapter on how effective school reform demands that we expand our understanding of teaching andlearning and that we think about education in new ways. Debates and discussions about the reform ofAmerican education suffer from a lack of appreciation of the complexity of learning and from a lackof understanding about the knowledge base that is available for the improvement of educationalpractice. Politicians, business leaders, and even many school superintendents, principals, andteachers think that educational problems can be solved by changing school management structures orby creating a market in educational services. Bruer argues that improvement depends instead onchanging student-teacher interactions. It is these changes, guided by cognitive research, that willcreate more effective classroom environments. A BradfordBookWhen Beck and McKeown asked the same question of 37 sixth- graders who had studied American history, 60 percent gave no information about the cause of ... The sixth-gradersa#39; performance suggested that their fifth-grade history instruction had been highly ineffective. ... What were the 13 original colonies? ... In that structure, the nodes in boldface represent information contained in the test questions.

Title:Schools for Thought
Author:John T. Bruer
Publisher:MIT Press - 1993


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