Speculative thought under threat

May I ask you a hypothetical question? OK, so a terrorist has planted a bomb that is due to explode and the only way of finding the location is if you torture the terrorist. Would you? Wait, before you answer, bear this in mind: Whatever you say may be taken down, stripped of context and used in evidence against you at some future date. You could be the person who is in favour of torturing terrorists. You could be the person who is in favour of letting innocent people die. Do you still want to answer the question?

People have been asking and answering hypothetical questions for at least as long as I can remember and probably far longer. They serve a useful purpose in enabling us to explore ideas and possibilities. And yet I wonder whether we are taking some of this space away in a social-media-fueled rush to condemn.

I had not intended to comment on the unedifying Andrew Sabisky affair – the UK government advisor who resigned after unpleasant past comments were highlighted on social media. Anything other than outright condemnation of this devil is unacceptable at the present stage of his baiting. We have now reached the absurd phase of guilt-by-association, with the Wellington Festival of Education and researchED conferences, at which he once gave some presumably innocuous talks, being called upon to distance themselves from him along with the Time Educational Supplement for which he has occasionally written. It must be pretty ugly being Sabisky right now.

But I am going to attempt something that Tom Chivers warned us against yesterday. I am going to attempt a ‘decoupling’. Futile as it may be to point this out, I am first going to highlight the fact that I do not agree with Sabisky on very much. From what I can make out, he is something of a genetic fatalist and I am more of an optimist. I certainly do not share his other reported views, with the caveat that I am not entirely certain about the accuracy of all of the reporting. Why?

Well, according to the BBC:

“Mr Sabisky… suggested to Schools Week in July 2016 that the benefits of a purported cognitive enhancer, which can prove fatal, are ‘probably worth a dead kid once a year’.”

And yet the journalist who Sabisky spoke to drew attention to the full context of the quote:

“‘From a societal perspective the benefits of giving everyone modafinil once a week are probably worth a dead kid once a year,’ he says, matter-of-factly.

I am aghast. But he reminds me there is a difference between the ideological and factual. He is personally uneasy about the ethics of many of the things he talks about and as a Christian – he married in church last year – he has moral views on the topics that may not be what people expect.”

In other words, Sabisky was looking at the issue from one perspective – a ruthlessly utilitarian argument about what might provide the greatest overall benefit to society – while being challenged morally by the conclusion that he draws from that perspective. It’s a little complex and in my opinion it is still pretty dark, but it is not exactly how the BBC reported it.

I am reminded of the Roger Scruton / New Statesman affair, only in the sense that a wide-ranging, often speculative, discussion was reduced to a series of the most prejudicial soundbites.

One of the wonders of the blogging age has been the ability for ordinary people to construct and share lengthy and often complex analyses with each other, unmediated and unfiltered. We have not had to appeal to journalists or editors in order to get our messages across. We can simply write what we think and if it’s interesting enough then people will read it. We have a new found freedom of expression. Yet there is a risk. However unlikely it is that many of us would ever express the kinds of views that Sabisky has expressed, I think we should learn one lesson from this episode – that there is no universal principle of charity in the media. There are journalists out there who are not minded to reveal the full context of a juicy quote.

And that’s a shame because heeding this lesson will caution us against drawing on the power of speculative thought.

Evidence is not the problem

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Dr Phil Lambert, national president of the Australian College of Educators, has penned a piece for the Sydney Morning Herald in which he cautions us about an apparent ‘obsession’ with evidence in education. In a sense, he doesn’t say very much. Lambert is careful to point out that, ‘it’s essential that policy and practice are based on solid evidence’. Good. And I think all of us would be against, ‘dogma masquerading under the rhetoric of “evidence-based” policy or practice’. Dogma is bad. Nobody is keen on dogma.

However, to mount a case against dogma, a preference for ‘silver bullets’ and so on, Lambert must believe they exist. Where they exist remains unclear although he does caution us to, ‘Steer clear of conferences where there is a striking similarity in the evidence being pitched in keynotes and workshops’. What conferences could he possibly be referring to? Whatever could this all mean? I’m scratching my head here.

What is clear is that he would like us to think more critically about evidence. According to Lambert’s brief summary, evidence was invented by the medical profession in the UK. Since then, it has grown to influence other fields of endeavour. While obviously not being against evidence in any way whatsoever – perish the thought – Lambert asks us to be cautious about ‘those spruiking evidence drawn from within their own echo chamber, such as those who repeatedly quote and promote each others’ work’. The absolute swines.

Next time I’m up at the UNSW I will ensure I hammer home the message that researchers should avoid citing the same old tired papers that are directly relevant to their research and should instead go wider and cite irrelevant papers from those outside their echo chambers. That’ll sort it. No problem.

But I cannot help wondering whether evidence really represents the kind of threat to education that Lambert implies.

Given that he is a senior education academic, I am not entirely clear what Lambert’s role has been in the international conversation about education over the years. Some education academics have done superb work that I cite repeatedly (wait… that’s a bad thing, right?). However, as a group, academics have generally let teachers down. They have not fully equipped teachers to think critically about education because so much knowledge has been held back. It wasn’t until the era of Twitter and blogging, when teachers could talk directly to researchers and other teachers across the world, that they began to point each other to papers debunking some of the sillier ideas they encountered. Why was ‘whole language’ allowed free rein for so long? Why were teachers not taught about Project Follow Through or explicit teaching? Why were teachers made to feel guilty about explaining concepts to our students instead of facilitating them in figuring these concepts out for themselves? Where were the education academics?

And where are they now in the era of Gonski 2.0 with its support for growth mindset theory and a doubling-down on generic thinking skills?

It is worth noting that evidence has something to say about all of these issues. Evidence debunks whole language. Evidence supports explicit teaching. And despite being the new thing we must all get to work on right away, growth mindset theory and generic thinking skills lack any solid evidence base. If someone is using evidence in a partial and invalid way, it should be the easiest thing in the world to point that out by citing, you’ve guessed it, other evidence. This would have the added bonus that we would all learn something from the exchange. By contrast, nonspecific exhortations to be sceptical about evidence seem counterproductive and likely, if widely adopted, to send us into some kind of debate-free dark age.

So evidence is not the problem. Unless, of course, it suits you to keep teachers in the dark.

A more enlightened approach to school behaviour?

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Our western societies are deeply ambivalent about teachers. Yes, there is a warm current flowing through the words of public figures. And we have a tendency to highlight the most inspirational members of the profession; the ones with martyr-like qualities. But most teachers are not martyrs. They are working to pay the mortgage while they dream of writing that novel or starting that business or just spending more time in the garden.

And that should be fine. Teaching should not be all-consuming if for no other reason than the supply of martyrs is limited and we’ve got a lot of positions to fill. But we don’t want to see it that way.

I sometimes wonder whether this is due to an empathy gap. We’ve all been students but few of us have been teachers. So we tend to see ourselves as the students. That’s the overriding societal perspective. That’s the phenomenon that accounts for the education professor who gleefully relates how naughty they were at school. And it’s the phenomenon that places ever more demands on teachers and schools without attending to any of the practical consequences.

When a nurse complains of unruly patients, we don’t say, “Oh, he just wants an easy life – he just wants compliance – perhaps he’s not really suited to nursing”. We take the complaint seriously because we can imagine ourselves as the nurse and we can picture how difficult that must be.

As teachers, above all else, we want practical suggestions. I know how to run a school, keep the learning on track and even help young people, over time, to make better choices about their behaviour. None of this is centred on blaming or pillorying students – which is quite counterproductive – but it does involve rules, procedures, positive reinforcement and negative consequences. And if you want me to keep the staff and students safe, the only way I know is to maintain the option of removing students from lessons and, in some cases, suspending or excluding students.

If any of this sits badly with you then that’s fine. I am willing to listen. I am prepared to accept that destructive behaviour has many causes and is not all about students rationally weighing up the options and choosing to behave unethically. Nevertheless, I can be in full possession of this enlightened understanding and still be faced with the same problems of running a school. So I ask: what exactly is it that you want teachers to do?

I get that you may not like some of the approaches we use, so please explain, in enough detail that we can picture what it would look like in a regular classroom on a regular day, what you do want us to do (and the word ‘classroom’ is important because the bulk of teacher time involves interacting with 20+ students at once). If there is evidence to support your suggested approach then great, we can analyse that. If not, we can still run it past our professional experience and test how plausible it is and what the likely consequences will be for all members of the class.

And there’s one other thing that bothers me about this discussion. Society at large tends to be a little judgemental. It punishes people in both official and unofficial ways. Speeding motorists get tickets. Violent attacks draw criminal charges. People lose their jobs due to sexual harassment. Politicians who use public funds to seek political advantage find themselves subject to media scrutiny and demotion.

If we always treat destructive behaviour in the classroom as a form of communication or the result of some unknown trauma or undiagnosed disorder, how do we prepare our students for a world in which they will be blamed?

Interview with John Walker of Sounds-Write on the teaching of morphology

1. Can you briefly describe Sounds-Write and its relationship to the evidence reported by the US National Reading Panel 2000.

Sounds-Write is a linguistic phonics program for educational professionals teaching reading and spelling all the way through from the first moment children enter school until the secondary years.

The program gives primacy to the speech sounds speakers of English use to communicate, which is why, although it is a genuinely systematic, synthetic phonics approach, it is grounded in speech sounds. Humans everywhere in the world learn to speak their own language without having to be taught. Speaking and listening is biologically primary and so grounding a phonics program in the sounds that children hear and understand makes the approach a perfect starting point.

What is not biologically primary is learning a writing script. Writing has only been around for the past five thousand years: it is a human invention and human inventions need to be taught explicitly, one step at a time. As one expert on the world’s writing systems explains, ‘no infant illiterate absorbs its own script along with its language: writing must be studied’ (Peter T. Daniels, ‘The Study of Writing Systems’ in Daniels, P.T. and Bright, W. (1996), The World’s Writing Systems, CUP, p.2)

Although the US National Reading Panel Report (NRP) doesn’t specify the detail of a high-quality phonics program, it does make no bones about the central ingredients, all of which are contained in the Sounds-Write program.

Sounds-Write begins by teaching single syllable CVC words through the medium of word building, word reading and phoneme manipulation, all of which are privileged in the NRP. As the single letter spellings of all the common speech sounds are taught, complexity is introduced a bit at a time, and from CVC words, children are taught how to segment, blend and manipulate phonemes in structurally more complex words at the level of CVCC, CCVC and CCVCC, before moving on to the basic consonant digraphs. At the heart of this is the explicit teaching of phoneme awareness (PA), always in the context of words and spelling. As the NRP states, ‘PA instruction does not qualify as phonics instruction when it teaches children to manipulate sounds in speech, but it does qualify when it teaches children to segment or blend phonemes with letters’.

At this point, all children are also beginning to understand clearly and in the concrete context of real words the concept that sounds can be spelt with one or two letters. We also strongly recommend that children are given huge amounts of practice through activities such as word building and reading, dictation and reading decodable books that conform to the order in which sound-spelling correspondences are taught in the program.

From there, Sounds-Write takes children in Years 1 and 2 systematically through the remaining 140 or so common spellings. Having thoroughly absorbed the idea that sounds can be spelt in more than one way, our program teaches children how to read and write polysyllabic words, once again with the orientation of simple to more complex.

2. How and when does sounds-write teaches morphology and etymology.

As I have explained in a recent blog post, it is very easy indeed to teach inflections, such as -s, -ing, and -ed. It’s easy because children come into school using these grammatical forms naturally in their spoken language and many simple combining, inflectional morphemes are spelt with one or two-letter spelling.

There needs to be a clear scope and sequence for teaching phonics, developing vocabulary and for teaching morphology and etymology. What this implies is that teachers need to have very good subject knowledge and to have a clear idea of how all of these areas of the curriculum are inter-meshed and the order in which they are best taught.

Thus, once the teacher is satisfied that it is appropriate to introduce the idea of bound morphemes to young children and that this introduction won’t overload them with too much information, simple inflections can be discussed.

Derivational morphemes are a slightly different kettle of fish in that they alter meaning. Simple derivational morphemes, like un-, dis-, anti- and suffixes such as -or, -al, can be introduced quite quickly once the teaching of polysyllabic words has begun. Afterwards, greater complexity can be added and more complex prefixes and suffixes, such as the different ways of spelling the suffix ‘-shun’, can be discussed along with their meanings and, if teachers have the subject knowledge, the linguistic derivations of the affixes.

3. I have recently been investigating structured word inquiry (SWI). Proponents of SWI seem to be of the view that phonics programmes completely ignore morphology and etymology and point to a lack of research into morphology and etymology by reading researchers as evidence. How do you respond?

Although it may be the case that some phonics programs don’t go as far as teaching morphology and etymology, both aspects are carefully sequenced within Sounds-Write from K to Y6. Both have an important place within a literacy program but the idea of introducing prefixes and suffixes, never mind talking about etymology, before children can decode is absurd. [As Friedrich Engels never said, ‘Have these gentlemen every taught a class of young children?’] Once children have been given a basic grounding in their knowledge of the code, are building ever more fluent skills (to automaticity), and have acquired a better conceptual understanding of how the code works in order to read, write and understand with greater accuracy what they are reading and writing, the teaching of morphology and etymology can run seamlessly in parallel.

4. SWI apparently teaches morphology and etymology from the very start of reading instruction. Can you expand a little more on why you find this ‘absurd’ and why you chose a different approach?

The English alphabet code was written to represent the individual sounds in the language, one at a time from left to right across the page and from simple to more complex over time. The English writing system is, arguably, the most complex alphabetical writing system in existence and it takes at least three years to learn if it taught systematically. It was not written to represent multi-sound units, such as, for instance, onsets and rimes. Teaching morphemes from the start is no different from teaching a part-word or whole language strategy and will result in large numbers of children failing to learn to read. In fact, it is putting the morphological cart before the syllabic horse.

Even later when children’s knowledge and skills are much greater, it makes no sense to introduce a word like ‘orthodontist’ by teaching it first as ‘ortho-’ ‘don’ ‘-tist’. What young children are able to do is to separate syllables in words, very often before they even start school. Without knowing the meaning of the word, young children can clap the syllables in ‘orthodontist’ as or | tho | don | tist. This ability comes naturally because first language speakers of English are able to identify syllables in polysyllabic words without having to be taught.

In fact, I often find that children are better at syllabifying polysyllabic words than some teachers, precisely because the teachers are over-influenced by spelling, whereas children are listening for what they hear in speech. Ask a class of children to clap the syllables in ‘orthodontist’ and they’ll almost certainly give you ‘or’ ‘tho’ ‘don’ ‘tist’. Once that’s done and any problems with spellings in the word have been ironed out, attention can be turned to the morphology of the word. Elements of morphology can quickly be related to other words, such as ‘orthography’, ‘orthodoxy’, and ‘orthopaedics’.

If, as they claim, SWI advocates also teach phonics, what they are reduced to is a version of analytic phonics – teaching sound-spelling correspondences only in the context of teaching the morphemes they deem worthy of introducing, which is likely to be random and extremely unsystematic.

5. How do you respond to the claim made by proponents of SWI that the primary function of the English spelling system is to represent meaning?

The answer to this is straightforward. Of course, the aim of teaching phonics is to enable children to establish meaning. If the word or words they are reading are established in their spoken repertoires, they should have no difficulty reading provided they are able to decode. If children are unable to decode, they won’t get out of the traps in the first place and the emphasis should always be on this as a first step.

The truth is that no successful writing system has ever been based on meaning. Where they have, they have quickly been abandoned as unworkable and unlearnable. What has replaced earlier attempts has been writing systems based on the sound structure of the particular language. In the case of English and because of the complexity of the syllable structure of the language – it has been estimated that there sixteen syllable types, not counting plurals, and that there are 55,000 legal syllables and this is to say nothing of the 70+ combinations of legal adjacent consonants – the writing system is an alphabetic one based on the individual sounds of the language, of which there are forty-four. It is these forty-four or so sounds in English which provide us with a firm basis from which to teach.

Positive evidence supporting the phonics screening check

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Over on the DDOLL network, Jennifer Chew has shared a new piece of research on the impact of the phonics screening check in England. The study by researchers at the University of Oxford was published in July of last year, but I was previously unaware of it. The study is not an experiment, it is a longitudinal analysis.

In England, children first sit the phonics screening check Year 1. This consists of them reading 40 real words and pseudo-words. The pseudo-words are presented as the names of alien characters and their pronunciation follows the typical correspondences found between letters and sounds in English. Children read the 40 words aloud to their teacher and a child who successfully reads 32 or more of the words is deemed to have passed the check. Students who fail the check then sit it for a second time in Year 2.

The purpose of the check is to assess whether students have learnt the most common letter-sound correspondences in English under the assumption that this is an important basis for further reading development. The reason for using the alien names is so that it is impossible for children to simply have memorised all the words as sight words.

The researchers compared three groups of children. The first group passed the check in Year 1. The second group failed the check in Year 1 but passed it in Year 2. The third group failed it on both occasions. Importantly, the researchers were able to compare students in the fail-pass group with students in the fail-fail group who had equivalent scores on the first check.

They found that students in the fail-pass group outperformed students in the fail-fail group even when controlling for performance on the first check. This was apparent both on the “Key Stage 1” standardised reading assessment sat one year after the check and on the international PIRLS reading assessment sat four years after the check. Of particular interest is that both of these assessments only indirectly assess phonics knowledge – they are mainly assessments of reading comprehension. As might perhaps be expected, children who passed the check the first time tended to outperform both the fail-pass and the fail-fail groups.

So the results show a clear association between a growth in phonics knowledge and later reading comprehension.

Of course, anyone who is sufficiently motivated to drive a bulldozer through these findings is able to do so. It is a correlation rather than the result of a randomised controlled trial. Students in the fail-pass group may be systematically different to students in the fail-fail group despite having the same baseline score and it could be this other factor, or a combination of other factors, that accounts for the difference in reading comprehension.

But a policy such as the phonics check cannot easily form part of a randomised controlled trial, so correlations are about as good as you are going to get. Add this to the swathes of other evidence for the importance of phonics knowledge and the question arises: If you are still not convinced, then what exactly would convince you?

The cause of Finland’s educational decline

Simplicio: We should look to Finland for ideas about how to improve our education system – their PISA results are amazing!

Sagredo: But I thought their PISA results were in a significant, long-term decline?

Simplicio: Standardised test results are not everything!

In the early days of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) Finland’s performance was an outlier, ranking top or near top on assessments of reading, mathematics and science. The first test in 2000 set the benchmark of 500 as an average scaled score. Finland performed around half a standard deviation better which is massive. Somewhat inevitably, this prompted a mass pilgrimage of educationalists from across the world who visited Finland, stared long and hard into its magic mirror and saw exactly what they wanted to see. Much of this was misguided or based on the assumption that whatever Finland was doing now, or planned to do in the future, was somehow a cause of its past success.

However, since the mid 2000s, Finland’s PISA results have been in significant decline. This is a key, indisputable fact. And in many ways, it is more significant than any particular ranking in any given year. Why? Education systems vary greatly in terms of their size, demographics and even such factors as the orthography of the language of instruction (more later). When we compare Finland’s performance with, say, Australia, we cannot be sure that it is any particular education policy that has caused the difference because it could be a combination of any of these other factors. However, when we compare Finland with itself over time, we can perhaps make stronger inferences because these other factors are likely to be a little more stable.

So Finland’s dramatic decline provides an opportunity for learning. What initially appears to be bad news – because we all wish Finland’s students the very best for their education – could be good news in the sense that it potentially provides relatively rare evidence about the impact of educational policies at scale.

First of all, however, we need to be able to see it. Just last week, The Conversation, an outlet that is supposed to, “Inform public debate with knowledge-based journalism that is responsible, ethical and supported by evidence,” published an anachronistically breathless piece about Finland. The author, a Canadian education professor, visited Finland, toured schools and spoke to students. He writes of Finland’s PISA success but does not mention its decline and we are invited to believe that a progressivist inquiry learning approach known as ‘phenomenon-based learning’ is somehow associated with Finland’s success, despite it only being around since 2017. It’s all to do with John Dewey or something, even though the Finnish teacher he spoke to didn’t think so.

There is a colourful vignette:

“On my trip, during a visit to a third-grade classroom, all the students were engaged with a particular phenomenon: How would we respond to a loss of electricity? Children were chopping wood, deciding how to divide resources and making paper airplanes.”

Exactly how making paper airplanes would compensate for a loss of electricity is for the reader to contemplate.

Yet as Canadian professors fail to grasp the real issue, there are signs that the Finnish people are asking the right questions. There are moves to replace the apparently vague assessment criteria introduced in 2014 with a new numbering system that is standardised across schools from the fourth grade onwards. Yes, Finnish students do sit assessments, despite what you may have heard.

And in this piece, Finnish teachers and academics discuss the factors that may have contributed to the country’s decline, one of which could be the very same phenomenon-based learning that so impressed our Canadian professor. One proposal for improvement is to have longer school days.

One additional point made in the article actually passed me by in the intial buzz of PISA results: The 2018 Pisa survey results showed Finland has the widest gender gap in reading among the 79 countries that participated in the assessment. This should be a subject of interest to reading researchers. Has this gap widened over time? If so, what policies are associated with this? For reading researchers, Finland is an interesting case because it has a particularly transparent orthography i.e. there is a very clear and consistent relationship between the written letter of Finnish and the spoken sounds they represent. That helps us whittle-down the possible causes of the gender gap.

Anarchic minds

“It can be argued that there is no conceivable central executive, apart from long-term memory, in the human cognitive system. Nevertheless, central executives are postulated in cognitive theories, with Baddeley’s (1992) working memory theory providing the best example. We argue that an independent central executive dissociated from knowledge held in long-term memory results in an infinite regress of central executives. If knowledge held in long-term memory does not have the attributes normally attributed to a central executive, we are immediately faced with the question of how a knowledge-independent central executive determines its actions. We require another central executive governing the first central executive that in turn requires a third central executive, etc. The problem is eliminated by assuming that knowledge in long-term memory acts as a de facto central executive…”

John Sweller, Paul Ayres and Slava Kalyuga (2011). Cognitive Load Theory

In any discussion of cognitive science, it is important to remember that it is the experiments that are real and any mental structures or processes that we suggest to account for the results of these experiments are just models, ripe for replacement as new evidence becomes available. It is particularly important to remember that the models we propose will colour the way we think about the evidence.

A good example of this issue is the difference between Baddeley’s model of working memory, which contains something called a ‘central executive’ which performs such functions as directing and inhibiting attention, and research into ‘executive functions‘ which typically include working memory, control of attention and behaviour, and cognitive flexibility. Both of these models cannot be true at the same time. Working memory cannot logically be both part of something and also be a construct that includes that same something. Nevertheless, both of these models assume that there are ‘domain general cognitive skills that exert top-down control over attention and behaviour‘. It is this assumption that, to some extent at least, cognitive load theory challenges.

For instance, if you start believing that executive functions are general purpose then the possibility arises that if you train these executive functions then this will lead to general gains in performance. This is the thinking behind working memory training. Typically, subjects are given a task to complete that draws heavily on working memory – which is essentially the ability to manipulate new information. The more tasks they complete, the better the performance, leading some to suggest that working memory has been improved. Unfortunately, the improved performance tends to be limited to the task used in training or very similar ones and does not lead to a general boost.

An alternative explanation is that working memory is not trainable and that what is happening during working memory training is that subjects are developing schemas in long-term memory that relate to the specific training task. It is the development of these schemas that boost performance, but they are task-specific and that is why no general improvement occurs.

We can be drawn into similar arguments about the other executive functions such as the ability to direct or inhibit attention. Perhaps some of this is innate in a way that is similar to working memory capacity. Indeed, perhaps the two are linked. However, just like working memory, we should not assume that simply because we model these as general capacities, training will deliver general improvements. Again, it is possible that training leads to the development of task-specific schemas that improve performance on the training task but do not deliver a boost on unrelated tasks that supposedly depend upon the same executive functions.

A new study by British researchers sheds some light on this question. Unusually for an education study, it is a preregistered randomised controlled trial. Preregistration is a bonus because it means that researchers have to declare what they will consider as positive or negative evidence in advance, removing the possibility of mining the data once they have the results to see if they can find a way of analysing it that supports their hypotheses.

The researchers trained three- and four-year-olds on a variety of working memory and ‘inhibitory control’ tasks. The latter required them to ignore a stimulus that pointed in the wrong direction and so is relevant to the control of attention. They then investigated whether this training would lead to improved maths performance and improvements in other executive functions.

They found that executive functions did correlate with maths performance and could be a cause of children from lower socio-economic background performing less well in maths. However, they found that while the children in the experimental group improved on the training tasks, there was no improvement in other measures of executive function and no improvement in mathematics. It seems that if executive functions are indeed general, they cannot be generally improved by training.

Cognitive load theory takes an unusual stance on executive functions. It gives working memory capacity – our raw processing power – primacy and even doubts the existence of a central executive coordinating the other executive functions, suggesting instead that they are a function of schema-building in long-term memory. You may not agree with this unusual view, but at least the model appears to be broadly consistent with the data.