7 thoughts on “ResearchED Sydney – My Slides

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  3. On slide 23 you seemed to have ignored that Piagetian programs have an effect size of 1.28. It is my sense that a program named Piagetian would be most tightly aligned with Piaget’s learning theory, constructivism. While “inquiry-based” and “problem-based” learning may be under-theorized efforts to get kids to be more active & to avoid explicit instruction, all the while the fundamental theory about learning has not shifted to a constructivist perspective.

    • That slide is based upon John Hattie’s analysis. On page 244 of Visible Learning (2009), he presents a table of effect sizes for ‘teacher as activator’ versus ‘teacher as facilitator’. He does not mention Piagetian Programs in this table.

      On page 43 of Visible Learning he describes Piagetian Programs under ‘contribution from the student’. The effect size that you quote seems to be based upon a correlation between performance on tests of Piagetian stage and tests of English and reading. I am not sure that it relates to a specific teaching method. Ultimately, we would need to ask Hattie why he does not include this in his table.

      To be honest, I am now quite sceptical about comparing effect sizes in this way.


      • Thanks for the reply. I too am skeptical about the “truth” of the results. However, I am inclined to suspect there is some worthwhile hints that his work suggests.

        I am a Maths Educator trained in the Piagetian / Radical Constructivist view on how children learn, mathematical ways of thinking in particular. I am one of those quick to jump and say Constructivism prescribes no teaching techniques. I am quite dubious of almost all teaching that is described as constructivist, discovery, inquiry, project or problem-based. My arguments seem to differ some from yours however. First, I think the goals of school education conflict with a notion of human learning/development that pursues a path toward intellectual and moral autonomy combined with social interdependency. The (logico-)mathematical mind is often hampered toward this goal as a result of school mathematics.

        So when discussions of effectiveness of teaching strategies get brought up, I first ask what is the learning goal and what are the measures we agree would measure this. Behaviorists (information processors, etc.) tend to seek measures that are performance oriented. Constructivists tend to seek measures that reflect knowing/knowledge/understanding in a way distinct from performance. Yes, performance is easier to measure than knowing. But performance, for me, is antithetical to the goals of education–autonomy.

        I know you rail against educationalists — which you might categorize me to be one. But maybe my comments above provide a small amount of insight into constructivism as a learning theory, and what might be valued by the constructivist as intentional efforts at “educating.”

      • I am aware of the difference between constructivism as a theory of learning (or set of related theories) and constructivism as an implied set of teaching strategies. I am thinking of adding a note to this blog that I can point people towards when this comes up. The fact is, many people *do* seem to draw specific teaching strategies from constructivism; PBL, Inquiry etc. It is the usefulness of these strategies that I argue against.

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