Swinging for the Fences

Education intervention researchers dream of swinging for the fences, which for them means making a difference in the lives of teachers and their students. Despite the complex challenges, intervention researchers engage in these worthy endeavors with the goals, hopes, and aspirations of improving the very nature of classroom instruction and learning.

A+ Students/C- Learners: Education’s Report Card

Today’s educational system is contributing to an undesirable and unanticipated problem—the production of many achievement-oriented, high-performing students who are, at best, mediocre learners. This is a bold and controversial claim that demands substantiation. beginning with what distinguishes good students from good learners.

Feminist Pedagogy in the Classroom

One way to integrate critical thinking into classrooms is through feminist teaching. But, what is feminist teaching? How can educators use feminist teaching as a means to bring critical thinking to classrooms?

Individual Students, Literacy Research, and Policy

When our theories, research, and teaching promote effective literacy learning in the classroom for each individual student, we succeed as a discipline dedicated to improving education.

Social-Emotional Teaching via Email

Increasingly, teachers are communicating with their student electronically—and this is an often overlooked medium for sharing social-emotional information and modelling how successful professionals communicate. Emotionally supportive e-mails may improve teacher-student relationships, which ultimately promote academic achievement.

Inspiring Critical Thinking in Classrooms

What does critical thinking in the classroom actually look like? According to Browne & Freeman, educators can elicit critical thinking by incorporating certain design characteristics in their classes, including 1) frequent evaluative questions, 2) the encouragement of active learning, and 3) creating developmental tension.

What Should We Be Teaching Students?

Imagine a student learning to solve mathematical problems or learning to write an essay in a history class. With time and practice, they are likely to improve—but what are they actually learning? What should we be teaching them? These questions are fundamental to those areas of educational psychology concerned with cognitive processes and instructional design.

War: What Is It Good For?

Researchers in the educational sciences seem to spend more time fighting paradigm wars than developing better education. It’s time we beat our pens (or word processors) into ploughshares, and see education—and the sciences that try to describe and even predict it—as a true ecological system where different paradigms ‘work’ at different levels for different things.

Can TV Promote Kids’ Social-Emotional Skills?

As a parent or educator, you’ve heard it before: violent TV creates violent children. But what about TV shows that depict social and emotional skills, such as getting along with others, solving problems, or managing big feelings?

Fine Motor Skills and Academic Achievement

Many people are surprised to learn that fine motor skills are a robust predictor of achievement. There are several explanations for this: common neuronal wiring, experience-dependent learning, and the direct classroom benefit. Intervention work suggests that the association is causal and may be a way to promote school readiness, particularly for disadvantaged children.

Emergence: It’s Not Just for The Birds!

How can a little randomness and improvisation in the classroom lead to meaningful student learning? In this article we discuss the principle of emergence and how teachers can use it to facilitate student engagement.

Gaining Assent from Young Research Participants

Children have their own plans, and your research project may not be on the agenda! So how do you ethically and efficiently gain assent from a young child? Drawing on our collective experiences conducting research in educational settings and serving on a University IRB, we review ethical concerns and provide some helpful strategies.

“What Do I Need Science For? I’m Going Into Fashion!"

Encouraging student interest and achievement in science, technology, engineering, and math (together known as “STEM”) is increasingly important. However, students are often not interested in STEM because they do not recognize the personal relevance of concepts involved.

Socratic Teacher Questioning in Science Classrooms

In traditional settings, teachers ask students closed-ended questions that require simple answers. However, using this method does not allow for much dialogue about the subject at hand; students are taught that there is a right and wrong answer, but often do not think critically about why an answer is right or wrong.

Making a Conference Work for You

Why is going to a conference so important? Well, most of your potential employers are going to be there. Other people that want the same jobs as you are going to be there. Future collaborators are going to be there. That being said, it’s not just about showing up. Nobody is taking attendance, and you need to make the most of your time.

Reading, Writing, and a Lifetime of Achievement

Basic academic skills can be taught. Not all students learn at the same rate (any more than children learn swimming or cycling skills at the same rate), but almost all can master these skills. And, once learned, swimming, cycling, reading, and computing are skills that can be used throughout life.

On Universal Preschool

Today, only the most financially fortunate of families can pay for private, high-quality preschool; a fraction of less fortunate children attend publicly funded programs of varied quality. What are they missing out on?

“Reading Is for Girls”

Recent research reports that female students have just about caught up to their male counterparts in the domains of math and science. This is wonderful news. What isn’t so wonderful, however, is that male students are unquestionably struggling in school—particularly in subjects that involve literacy.

Retention: “It’s Just What We’ve Always Done"

Recent estimates report that 5 to 10 percent of students are retained every year. This translates to roughly 2.4 million students in our current school system having experienced retention at some point in their education. While the statistics alone may seem troubling, what is even more worrisome is the lack of research supporting this practice.

Interpreting Language in Classrooms

She was excited about finding her first job, but it wasn’t long before the young teacher called her mentor in a panic. She’d been assigned to a class with a majority of immigrant children who spoke Khmer—a language she had no knowledge of nor experience with.

Developing Belief Systems About Education: It Takes a Village

School districts around the country are starting to look ahead as we approach the start of a new academic year. Each school year, of course, brings a unique set of both concerns and opportunity.

The Era of the “Megaclass?”

It’s almost a dream: providing free, accessible, high-quality education to people around the world. And yet, Sebastian Thrun—Google vice president and Stanford lecturer—may be on his way to making the dream a reality.

What Are Students Really Learning?

Recently, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) released the results of a study which measured scientific understanding at the 4th, 8th, and 12th grade levels. And, while many were able to note simple facts about what they were witnessing, few truly demonstrated understanding of the material.

A Public View of Success or Failure

Over the past few days, several news outlets have reported the results of the latest Gallup poll with an emphasis on heightened dissatisfaction among those reviewing our country’s education. But how should we interpret this dissatisfaction, and how can we use it?

There’s No Holding NYC Back

In NYC, the Department of Education will soon vote on whether to ease the requirements of promoting students from one grade to the next. But, Dr. Andrew Biemiller (University of Toronto) notes that he has “long thought that we need to allow for different rates of learning, rather than allow for large differences in mastery of basic academic skills.”

The Price of Education

With U.S. education statistics continuing to underwhelm policy makers, parents, and tax payers alike, a great deal of pressure has been placed on today’s instructors to find innovative and consistent means of improving student performance.

Grading Educators: Is There an Answer?

The question of identifying instructors as “proficient” or “underachieving” is one which undeniably carries with it a wealth of concerns, despite its importance to fostering efficient schools. We took the question to members of the American Psychological Association, Division 15 (Educational Psychology).

What They Didn’t Teach Us

There’s an alarming trend among entry-level educators in our country: dropping out. This decline in new teacher retainment has been observed with a number of different statistics.

Show Me the Data: Building a Better Education

Influxes of data have redefined almost every industry, so why aren't we applying these "smart" technologies to education? Ellen Mandinach discusses the benefits and challenges faced by educators as they integrate data-based approaches to their instruction.

An End to Teacher Tenure?

An especially hot issue in education has become the question of teacher tenure. In North Carolina, Phil Berger (Senate leader) has even recently announced a plan to remove traditional teacher tenure and move to merit-based pay. Who wins, and who loses based on this shift?