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Old 7th June 2018, 10:17 AM   #1
Wowbagger
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How to Learn How People Learn

Anyone, in this here Forum, got any recommendations for books describing, in some scientifically studied detail, HOW the average, general human being learns things, while debunking some bad assumptions about education techniques that have failed over the years?

I saw once, a long time ago, a reference to such a book, on this very forum, (possibly going back to its JREF days). Searching for it is going to take a while, I suspect, because it wasn't even in a thread on that subject. If I recall, it was mentioned offhand in another type of discussion which I cannot recall too many details of.

Even if no one comes up with that specific book, any others along those lines would be fine.

One book I found tangently useful to this topic is "Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me)", by Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson, which covers cognitive dissonance. If you want someone to learn that their ideas are bad ones, it is better to find a way to rethink their ideas for their own reasons, rather than confronting their most cherished beliefs directly. Otherwise they'll only reaffirm those beliefs.

Anything more directly related to the science of education, however, would be most appreciated.
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Old 7th June 2018, 06:51 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Wowbagger View Post
Anything more directly related to the science of education, however, would be most appreciated.
Good question, big topic.

About 15 years ago I was looking for quantitative research about best practices for teaching adolescents English as a second language - something that tracked kids taught with different methods. For example, having an immersion-only group, a drill-only group, a combination and a control group. I didn't find much. I have since tried it with other topics.

Instead a lot of education "research" is theorists citing what other theorists have said. (They also sometimes cite themselves). John Dewey spent 2 weeks in the Soviet Union and came away with the idea that the Soviet system was superior. School wasn't even in session at the time. Piaget is often criticized for his assumptions and lack of replicability. The prose devolves into babble pretty quickly, often taking 50 pages to state the blindingly obvious, e.g., "different people learn in different ways." It's almost unreadable.

Malcolm Gladwell is far from scientific but he does base his writing on actual research that could provide a starting point.

It is such a huge topic that maybe it could be broken down somewhat? Operant conditioning is a big part of learning. For example kids who are not fluent with the multiplication tables are going to struggle. Meanwhile my 93-year-old mom, who has dementia, can immediately answer "what is 7 x 8?" Now consider a multiple-step problem where high school students are literally plugging single-digit arithmetic into a calculator. Learning "by rote" is criticized, but it has its place.

There's a guy named Zig Engelmann who horrifies a lot of teachers by having a scripted approach with a lot of chanting. But he does have quantitative research. Here's a start:

The Pet Goat approach
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Old 8th June 2018, 02:06 AM   #3
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Yeah, it is a big topic and I don’t know of any Brief History of Time-style treatment.

As mentioned above there are many theories with competing claims, from some of the big theories of behaviourism, cognitivism and constructionism.

It might be a good idea to start with those and look at some of the main theorists such as Piaget, Vygotsky, Bruner, etc...

I think it might also be useful to distinguish between declarative knowledge, which means what you know in the abstract and procedural knowledge which is related to skill learning.

There are some modern ideas about the importance of attention, motivation and self-efficacy which are usually considered to be important.

You will probably learn something about Blooms Taxonomy, which I should know but don’t.

And as you say, there are likely to be lots of pseudoscientific dead ends. My understanding is that learning styles (or at least tailoring classes for specific learning styles) is not supported by evidence. Also unsupported, at least in the way it is often used, is the idea of multiple intelligences. You will certainly hear teachers talking about these ideas as if they were real things though.

Maybe one thing we know is that lecture styles are poor delivery methods of education. Hands on, practical education seems to be more useful especially if it is skill-related.

I’m sure there is more but I cannot think of them right now.
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Old 8th June 2018, 05:42 AM   #4
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If you want to try to search through the forums for the post you were talking about, this is just a guess, but it sounds like something Anton might have brought up. As I recall he was an education researcher, or something like that.

Okay this is weird, I just did a search to see if I could find anything and he's not coming up at all. Am I misspelling his user name? Am I having some weird fake memory? He was a pretty prolific poster, but of course it's years back. You were around when he was though so I'm sure you'd remember him. Am I making this up?*

That aside, I'm reading Superforcasters right now which you might find at least tangentially related to the topic you're interested in.

Sorry, that's all I've got right now.

*ETA And this is weird, when I do the search and start typing his name, I get to Anto and "Anton" comes up as a suggested user name to search for, but when I search it says no results were found...
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Old 8th June 2018, 07:17 AM   #5
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I brought it up, in part, because I think skeptics, in general, should study this type of thing a lot more. We're very good at separating the facts from the bunk, but we have an abysmal track record for convincing others to accept those facts and reject the bunk.

I think skeptics, in general, should learn HOW people learn.


...And, I am also gearing up to do a short presentation on the subject. It would be nice to get a few book recommendations to go along with it.
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Old 8th June 2018, 07:23 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Wowbagger View Post
I brought it up, in part, because I think skeptics, in general, should study this type of thing a lot more. We're very good at separating the facts from the bunk, but we have an abysmal track record for convincing others to accept those facts and reject the bunk.

I think skeptics, in general, should learn HOW people learn.


...And, I am also gearing up to do a short presentation on the subject. It would be nice to get a few book recommendations to go along with it.
I think that might be a slightly different issue.

However, there are a couple of useful terms here such as the backfire effect and reframing.
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"Evolution and Ethics" T.H. Huxley (1893)
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Old 8th June 2018, 09:18 AM   #7
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I have a good girlfriend (well, 73, that's a girl!) who has probably gotten annoyed with me for a variety of challenges I've put to her:

Who's "they" (as in "they say")?
Why do you think that?
What makes you believe that?

We ski together sometimes and she'll ask questions like, "When is it supposed to stop snowing?" (according to whom? I want to ask).

She'll preface her beliefs with, "It seems to me that ______."

She used to always say, "I shouldn't feel this tired" and my response was, "How tired should you feel?"

When I come home from vacations my companions have told me, "It was an intellectual challenge." Less than a ringing endorsement IMO.

"Don't be a dick" is probably good advice.

In my experience people like talking about themselves, and will play along to some extent, and my temptation is to feed them the conclusion. I think it's probably more effective to ask the questions but skip the lecture. Or go, "Hmmm."
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Old 8th June 2018, 11:03 AM   #8
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Here's an interesting article debunking the notion that people are either auditory, visual or kinesthetic learners. It's Business Outsider so I wouldn't necessarily trust the source, but she does provide links to actual studies that might be useful.

As a tutor, I frequently have students telling me that they are visual learners, that they have to see it on the whiteboard to understand it.
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Old 8th June 2018, 04:08 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Brainster View Post
Here's an interesting article debunking the notion that people are either auditory, visual or kinesthetic learners. It's Business Outsider so I wouldn't necessarily trust the source, but she does provide links to actual studies that might be useful.

As a tutor, I frequently have students telling me that they are visual learners, that they have to see it on the whiteboard to understand it.
Interesting article. I like to see things on a whiteboard too. In "Tools for Teaching" Fred Jones recommends putting a perfect example on the board, then leaving it there while kids work individually. He's talking about your typical classroom with 30 students. Give yourself huge boulevards to stride and work the room. If a kid is a "helpless hand-raiser," point at the board. Don't put your head down and try to do individual tutoring; you will lose the class. (I love being the extra body in the room that can tutor, but it's a luxury).

But his focus is teacher survival, not optimizing learning. There are all sorts of fads that come and go; "cooperative learning" is useful, kids "get in their groups." But for some students that's just a smokescreen; what they want to do is surf the Net and hang out with each other. Fantasies exist of the perfect math-learning software that will deliver a fruitful and flawless result.

I'd rather do math that way - it's a duel between me and the problem, and a motivated student could learn it from a robot - the teacher is more of a facilitator, a framing device (which is how I approached community college math). But trying it with 30 high school kids at a time, you'll get some slackers for sure.

More along the lines of Wowbagger's presentation - and I at first wrote "Wowburger," I have to see the name in writing several times before I internalize it - might be this Tomorrow Show interview with John Lennon. At the 24-26 minute mark there is an exchange where Lennon says (at minute 25), "You can't ************ the kids ... it's no good me saying dope is bad, don't do it ... you cannot tell people anything, they have to find out for themselves."

One more anecdote that is not what Wowbagger is looking for: I subbed in an art class that met off campus. For that day we could not use the usual room. There were no supplies of any kind! I started to nag some students who were video recording each other, then realized that they were actually making art. I didn't have to worry about an administrator walking in so I gave them search terms and had them look up pictures on their phones. If they did Google Image they got a look at art styles being satirized as well as the actual work - they needed to learn how to check for authenticity. In many cases phones are a distraction but if we really harnessed that potential - wowza!

ETA: In the style of Picasso, by Gary Larson

Last edited by Minoosh; 8th June 2018 at 04:27 PM. Reason: Because I love wiener dog art.
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Old 8th June 2018, 04:56 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Brainster View Post
It's Business Outsider so I wouldn't necessarily trust the source, but she does provide links to actual studies that might be useful.

As a tutor, I frequently have students telling me that they are visual learners, that they have to see it on the whiteboard to understand it.
I have more to say about this so ... it's fascinating to see theories being debunked ... but all of them may have some useful bits; it's just that people get so fixated on the theories and swear by them with little evidence.

In learning languages that have a phonetic alphabet, I have to see a word in writing. Otherwise I can't get my head around the syllables. Learning song lyrics can really help you retain vocabulary; the rhythm of the tune somehow sparks the memory. People do process things differently, but I think that just means a teacher or tutor ought to be using a variety of techniques - not that the student is locked into some kind of "learning style."

Songs are powerful for many people. "(Para bailar la bamba se necesita una poca de gracia" - I will probably always know what you call a Spanish sailor. There were some really interesting parts of Structured English Immersion training that my state required teachers to get. Some of it was based on reliable studies. There was some evidence that acting out a verb helped you retain the meaning. But a lot of it was Speak Very Clearly, Make Gestures and Use Common Sense. Does holding, smelling and tasting a manzana make you remember "manzana"? I'm not sure but it's a nice way to give a vocabulary lesson.

There are also so-called "sleeping dictionaries" - another way to build vocabulary!
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Old 8th June 2018, 05:43 PM   #11
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Have a look at "How we learn" by Benedict Carey. For a more rigorous approach I suppose you'd need cognitive science textbooks.
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Old 8th June 2018, 06:20 PM   #12
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I'm trying to find a study (and there have been multiple studies) done by the World Bank or the IMF in Africa. Basically, it turns out the best tutor for a third-grader is a fourth-grader. As far as I know this has been replicated in other studies, but I'm having a hard time finding the right key words to search for.

It was quite quantifiable; children with slightly older tutors did better than children who were tutored by a licensed educator.

I think I first read about it in The Economist, and I have cited such studies before on this forum. Sorry I can't find it right now, but it was definitely Africa. The implications were important in countries with many young children and a shortage of trained teachers.
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Old 8th June 2018, 06:34 PM   #13
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Wowbagger, have you looked at any of the work of Dan Kahan?

Here's a youtube lecture by him: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5fBkivqa78

He goes into the psychology of science communication.
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Old 8th June 2018, 07:44 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
I think that might be a slightly different issue.
Slightly different, yes. But, as a foundational skill for skeptics, I think knowledge of the general science of education is good to have. The more deeply we go, the stronger at this we all could be.

Originally Posted by Brainster View Post
Here's an interesting article debunking the notion that people are either auditory, visual or kinesthetic learners. It's Business Outsider so I wouldn't necessarily trust the source, but she does provide links to actual studies that might be useful.
Useful, perhaps, but I would eventually like to see more than articles in magazines.

Originally Posted by TX50 View Post
Have a look at "How we learn" by Benedict Carey. For a more rigorous approach I suppose you'd need cognitive science textbooks.
That looks like a good candidate!

(I was thinking this might possibly be the original book I was looking for, but its publish date is 2014, which I suspect makes it a tad too young. But, I could be wrong about that, too.)

Amazon is also recommending "Make It Stick" by Peter C. Brown, et al. That might also be a good candidate to include in a reading list.

Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
Wowbagger, have you looked at any of the work of Dan Kahan?
Not yet, but I will, now. Thanks!
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Old 8th June 2018, 10:26 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
Oh man, I wuved "Wiener Dog Art"!
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Old 10th June 2018, 07:19 PM   #16
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A long time ago, a colleague told me about his wife's PhD in education...

She had told him that there were more than 50 "learning styles" that had been identified, and something like 6 "teaching styles" that were commonly practiced.

Hence, almost a guarantee that most students with struggle with the method being used to teach them.

I did best when given access to information (typically books) and left to my own devices.
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Old 11th June 2018, 12:07 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by novaphile View Post
A long time ago, a colleague told me about his wife's PhD in education...

She had told him that there were more than 50 "learning styles" that had been identified, and something like 6 "teaching styles" that were commonly practiced.

Hence, almost a guarantee that most students with struggle with the method being used to teach them.
Except that, IMO, that whole shtik sounds like made-up nonsense.

Originally Posted by novaphile View Post
I did best when given access to information (typically books) and left to my own devices.
Same here, for acquiring information and perspective. I also like finding knowledgeable people and asking questions as they occur to me. But for procedural knowledge there is no substitute for doing it. I can explain how to drive a car, but it's not the same.

A girlfriend of mind likes to have someone show her how to do things on her iPhone. I'm just the opposite - I hate having things like that explained to me. Give me the phone and I'll figure it out. So there is something to different learning and teaching styles, but my hunch is that combining methods makes a lesson stick better than trying to address 50 (yikes!) different learning styles.

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Old 11th June 2018, 12:11 PM   #18
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Another example, guided tours bore me to tears and I absorb very little ... but seeing, for example, a great artwork, I will begin to form my own questions, then more will come to me. That's not to say I never learn from such tours, but I tend to avoid them.

Except in Liverpool ... the Beatles tours were a lot of fun.
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Old 13th June 2018, 08:46 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by novaphile View Post
A long time ago, a colleague told me about his wife's PhD in education...

She had told him that there were more than 50 "learning styles" that had been identified, and something like 6 "teaching styles" that were commonly practiced.
A study in 2007 identified 71 different learning styles classification schemes.
Here's a linky: http://www.bris.ac.uk/education/peop...ns/mbe2007.pdf
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Old 13th June 2018, 12:34 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by TX50 View Post
A study in 2007 identified 71 different learning styles classification schemes.
Here's a linky: http://www.bris.ac.uk/education/peop...ns/mbe2007.pdf
I'm not finding anything in the linked article that says that. But it is a good indicator of what passes for research: 189 teachers filled out a questionnaire and 11 were interviewed "in-depth."
Quote:
"In all but one of the areas listed (curriculum content), the majority of participants rated the role of the brain as important or very important"
I'm think I'm actually gnashing my teeth.
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Old 13th June 2018, 03:29 PM   #21
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The brain is important for learning? What an insight!
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Old 13th June 2018, 04:40 PM   #22
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I once attended a fabulous lecture entitled something like, "Why do we teach in ways we know people do not learn?" I have been trying to Google the speaker and/or a book based on this lecture, but so far no success.

The idea was very simple: people learn best by being given some information with which to begin, then being given a situation to use that information to solve a problem. Ideally the problem is not easily or immediately solvable, but requires the student to think about it, to put together the information they already have in different ways and to add to it any information they discovered in examining their problem, to talk to other students and perhaps to get some hints from more experienced and knowledgeable person.

Imagine a new hire at an auto mechanic shop assigned a brake repair for the first time. The shop gives the hire a one page instruction sheet, which they read. They take off the wheel of the car, get part of the way through the repair, but discover that they are not certain which way the new pads should go in. They think about it based on what they already know about brakes. They re-read the instructions. They then ask a more experienced person, who doesn't just tell them the answer but instead gives them a good hint. They then put in the new pads and ask the experienced mechanic- "Is this right?" He confirms it is, but also tells them, "Although they didn't bother to write it down, use this tool to hold open the calipers: it really helps speed up the job. Try it yourself next time." Etc.

Unlike a lecture or just written instructions, that new hire will probably never forget how to do a brake job on that kind of car and will be much better at figuring out how to fix the brakes on a different kind of car.

It is an apprenticeship, and apprenticeships are among the very best way of learning something for life.

Schools and colleges still make some use of this type of approach: lab classes, most graduate training, some internships, etc. But by far most information in K to 12 and in BA/BS programs is given through lectures and books where the students are expected to simply absorb the information that is told to them. There is little or no chance to use it in a practical manner (trig problem sets after dinner are not the same thing as using trig to navigate a boat) and little or no time to be puzzled. Being puzzled at times is an essential part of an effective learning process because it makes people think harder. "Hey wait, this doesn't make sense! Let me think about it... Oh wait, yeah, if I also think about what I learned a week ago it starts to make sense. And what was that clue the TA gave us? Yeah, now I am beginning to understand it..." People don't learn well if they are never puzzled because then they are just trying to memorize information and not to use it.

The biggest practical problem with this type of approach is that it is far more expensive than simply having large lectures. It requires small class sizes and lots of teachers and TAs. It requires lab equipment or similar resources. Too expensive for most school systems and colleges. And ironically, in most educational systems today deliberately trying to puzzle students to make them think about the material will only get the students annoyed and the teacher bad evaluations. "What is this crap? Just tell me what I need to score high on the MCATs."
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Old 13th June 2018, 05:13 PM   #23
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This is tangentially related, but there's a new published report that, according to the press release, aims to solve the so-called "reading wars" between phonics and whole-of-language approaches to teaching children to read.

Essentially, it concludes that an approach that uses both methods works best.
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Old 13th June 2018, 11:25 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
I'm not finding anything in the linked article that says that.
Sorry, wrong link. It's this one:

http://www.bris.ac.uk/education/peop...ions/becta.pdf


The 2004 study they cite seems to be this one (non vidi):

Coffield, F., Moseley, D., Hall, E., and Ecclestone, K. (2004), 'Learning Styles and
Pedagogy in Post-16 Learning: A Systematic and Critical Review', (Report No.
041543). (London, Learning and Skills Research Centre).
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Old 14th June 2018, 03:47 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
This is tangentially related, but there's a new published report that, according to the press release, aims to solve the so-called "reading wars" between phonics and whole-of-language approaches to teaching children to read.

Essentially, it concludes that an approach that uses both methods works best.
What is amazing to me is that there ever was sides to this argument.
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Old 14th June 2018, 04:35 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
What is amazing to me is that there ever was sides to this argument.
When I was learning, I was taught phonics. When my children were at school, they were taught whole-language only, and we were explicitly told not to use phonics at home.

We did anyway.
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Old 15th June 2018, 01:44 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
When I was learning, I was taught phonics.
In my day, we were even Hooked on Phonics.
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Old 13th July 2018, 10:57 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by Wowbagger View Post
I brought it up, in part, because I think skeptics, in general, should study this type of thing a lot more. We're very good at separating the facts from the bunk, but we have an abysmal track record for convincing others to accept those facts and reject the bunk.

I think skeptics, in general, should learn HOW people learn.


...And, I am also gearing up to do a short presentation on the subject. It would be nice to get a few book recommendations to go along with it.
Understanding education is worth exploring in its own right, but it sounds like what you're describing isn't exactly about learning so much as persuading.

This is an old debate within skepticism, but I've always been on the side of persuading rather than teaching as a public outreach goal. The basis for this is that domain specific knowledge does not seem to be a great way to create skepticism, since skepticism is a generalized skill to apply to any and all knowledge domains.

Just a case in point: antivaxxers are typically a very 'science' educated bunch (compsci, engineering, nonbiological sciences such as physics, and surprisingly, nursing). What they're not is specifically educated in immunology, and secondly, they don't know how to apply the skeptical toolbox for evaluating technical claims outside their scope of competence. They know how to learn - many have spent hundreds of hours 'learning' that vaccines are toxic. We don't need to educate them, we need to change their minds.

It probably sounds like a distinction without a difference, but what I'm getting at is that skepticism's rival is not raw ignorance - it's well-funded, organized, misinformation campaigns.
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Old 17th July 2018, 08:23 PM   #29
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Interesting thread. Two ideas going:

The OP is interested in persuading, I would agree with blutoski on that.

Unfortunatetly the rule there is that perceived self-interest motivates most people's beliefs. If you want to go to the grandfather of persuasion in the current public arena, then it's Edward Bernays. Whether you call it Public Relations or Propaganda or Manipulation - he's a major figure. Of course, one can go as far back as Machiavelli and The Prince, this subject being as old as time.

The irony here is that this area is dominated by emotional and psychological tools, the devil's tools, to achieve a "win" in pursuasion. It isn't a skeptic's idea of argument strictly by logic and reason. Skeptics are usually opposed to lying for Jesus.

In the second and also interesting line of thought: we ask how do people learn best when they are sorted by age, arranged in rows, and all taught together as a group by nincompoops at the low end of their college cohort.

Or maybe, as Giordano covered, if learning is the objective then we shouldn't even be doing anything remotely like 30:1 student-teacher ratios in these factories we call schools. But for a lot of kids, apprenticeships. Nearing 1:1 on some things, but most certainly a fraction of today's government school standard.

We aren't doing education in the majority of those government schools. We're doing warehousing. If we wanted to educate then we would do that instead. My local school is 17th percentile on the PISA, right in there with educational powerhouses like Oman and Mexico.

You asked a question Giordano - why do we use this prison-emulating model for "educating"? Historically, our government-school approach was modeled on the Prussian system where automatons are produced for the benefit of the State.

It is working exactly as intended.
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Old 27th July 2018, 01:33 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by blutoski View Post
Understanding education is worth exploring in its own right, but it sounds like what you're describing isn't exactly about learning so much as persuading.

This is an old debate within skepticism, but I've always been on the side of persuading rather than teaching as a public outreach goal. The basis for this is that domain specific knowledge does not seem to be a great way to create skepticism, since skepticism is a generalized skill to apply to any and all knowledge domains.

Just a case in point: antivaxxers are typically a very 'science' educated bunch (compsci, engineering, nonbiological sciences such as physics, and surprisingly, nursing). What they're not is specifically educated in immunology, and secondly, they don't know how to apply the skeptical toolbox for evaluating technical claims outside their scope of competence. They know how to learn - many have spent hundreds of hours 'learning' that vaccines are toxic. We don't need to educate them, we need to change their minds.

It probably sounds like a distinction without a difference, but what I'm getting at is that skepticism's rival is not raw ignorance - it's well-funded, organized, misinformation campaigns.

What I think is missing is that we tend to teach science as a way to find the right answer, when most of the time what you really want is a way to identify the best answer from competing possibilities.

Looking for the right answer in the right place generally won’t steer you wrong but it’s not fundamentally different process than looking in the wrong place. Teaching someone where to look for the right answer doesn’t necessarily help either because the other side is doing the exact same thing, so it becomes a question of who you believe.

Leaning how to question claims may not help and can even be counterproductive because scientific claims are never really the “right answer” they are just the best one and therefore could be the subject of legitimate questions. Most people who question established science actually think they are being skeptical and following the skeptics process of questioning claims.

Formal training in specific disciplines often teaches both of these so I don't think it's surprising they can be mislead when they are outside their field of expertise.
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Old 27th July 2018, 08:56 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by AlaskaBushPilot View Post
The irony here is that this area is dominated by emotional and psychological tools, the devil's tools, to achieve a "win" in pursuasion. It isn't a skeptic's idea of argument strictly by logic and reason. Skeptics are usually opposed to lying for Jesus.
We can use persuasion without lying about anything. Everything we say can be factually accurate; and NOT even anything like a half-truth, where an inconvenient fact is left out.

Complete and utter accuracy. The truth, as far as can be determined by the best science and reason has to offer, the full truth, and nothing but the truth.

I don't see any issue, yet, with being emotionally and psychologically persuasive, as long as the facts are THAT accurate, AND the person really will likely be better off with that newfound knowledge, while doing so. It's only evil, I think, if you lie or are out to scam people.

What does everyone else think?
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Old 2nd August 2018, 06:49 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by Wowbagger View Post
We can use persuasion without lying about anything. Everything we say can be factually accurate; and NOT even anything like a half-truth, where an inconvenient fact is left out.

Complete and utter accuracy. The truth, as far as can be determined by the best science and reason has to offer, the full truth, and nothing but the truth.

I don't see any issue, yet, with being emotionally and psychologically persuasive, as long as the facts are THAT accurate, AND the person really will likely be better off with that newfound knowledge, while doing so. It's only evil, I think, if you lie or are out to scam people.

What does everyone else think?
There's no ethical issue with what you suggest. The debates within skepticism are about execution.

The topic, really, isn't education so much as what's called Rhetoric. The philosophical subspecialty that focuses on persuasion.
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Old 2nd August 2018, 01:15 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by blutoski View Post
The topic, really, isn't education so much as what's called Rhetoric. The philosophical subspecialty that focuses on persuasion.
It's both, in a way. I believe there is a secret to good rhetoric somewhere in the science of education.

Know how people typically learn and don't learn stuff, in general, goes a long way towards persuasion.


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Old 5th August 2018, 05:06 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by Wowbagger View Post
We can use persuasion without lying about anything. Everything we say can be factually accurate; and NOT even anything like a half-truth, where an inconvenient fact is left out.

Complete and utter accuracy. The truth, as far as can be determined by the best science and reason has to offer, the full truth, and nothing but the truth.

I don't see any issue, yet, with being emotionally and psychologically persuasive, as long as the facts are THAT accurate, AND the person really will likely be better off with that newfound knowledge, while doing so. It's only evil, I think, if you lie or are out to scam people.

What does everyone else think?
Were I to give an example to aspire to, it would be Stefan Molyneux. His training is in Philosophy.
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Old 5th August 2018, 09:32 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Wowbagger View Post
It's both, in a way. I believe there is a secret to good rhetoric somewhere in the science of education.
I guess that's why I recommended Molyneux. Because he argues from moral philosophy.

He is absolutely opposed to sophism, as it sounds like you are.

Quote:
Know how people typically learn and don't learn stuff, in general, goes a long way towards persuasion.
Well again there is a difference between teaching methods, like the Socratic method of questioning vs. the Prussian system of producing automatons...

and there is as blutosky mentioned "rhetoric" which is not about educating the next generation. It is more about debating opposing ideas.
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Old 9th August 2018, 01:52 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by AlaskaBushPilot View Post
I guess that's why I recommended Molyneux. Because he argues from moral philosophy.

He is absolutely opposed to sophism, as it sounds like you are.
Hopefully everybody would be, but observation is that it's a continuum. We have what some psychologists call a natural 'internal lawyer' that derives pleasure from winning arguments, even if the process means abandoning a quest for truth.



Originally Posted by AlaskaBushPilot View Post
Well again there is a difference between teaching methods, like the Socratic method of questioning vs. the Prussian system of producing automatons...

and there is as blutosky mentioned "rhetoric" which is not about educating the next generation. It is more about debating opposing ideas.
I don't see a complete distinction between those, because a lot of educating the next generation is about debating opposing ideas. This is part of the function of institutionalized education, as it's intended to create the next generation of citizens. There's a motive to compensate for what's being taught at home. Kids from hardcore Creationist families get exposure to evolution, kids who think books are for queers get to read Shakespeare, girls who were told math is hard learn they're perfectly capable of doing calculus, that sort of thing.

This is the passage in the OP that got me to thinking Wowbagger may be asking about rhetoric:

Quote:
If you want someone to learn that their ideas are bad ones, it is better to find a way to rethink their ideas for their own reasons, rather than confronting their most cherished beliefs directly. Otherwise they'll only reaffirm those beliefs.
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