[Squeakland] Panel discussion: Can the American Mind be Opened?

David Corking lists at dcorking.com
Fri Nov 23 17:29:26 PST 2007

It was not my intention earlier in this thread to challenge the work
of Viewpoints.  Instead I wanted to get a foothold into understanding
how the powerful 'progressive' and 'back to basics' movements could be
rationally compared with alternatives.

Thank you for taking my question as a provocation - it is very
illuminating to read the work of Rose, Kay et al justified from this

I need to confess now that I have read 'Mindstorms' but not yet
'Powerful Ideas' - does the book address whether or not there is a
'Hawthorne effect' in the trials?  In other words, could simply the
intensive attention of all involved, coupled with the novelty,
willingness to persevere for the second and third year, and the
involvement of real subject matter experts, have been sufficient in
itself to produce a fluency result that is well above acceptable
threshold?  Is it provable(*) that the student creation of computer
models, for example, is a necessary condition of learning 'real math'

* By 'provable', I mean: "could a future experiment be designed to
prove my assertion, or, even better, could a reasoned argument prove
my assertion?"

Further, but perhaps drifting off topic for squeakland, is it provable
that 'back to basics' and 'progressivism' are equally as inadequate?
Or is the poor performance of public education in  some countries a
consequence, not of the learning theory nor curriculum, but caused by
the 'received wisdom' not being applied properly, or even some
external factors, such as low resources, attitudes to authority, or
the currently fashionable complaint of students' learning styles not
being catered for?


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