Teaching and Learning: Lost in a Buzzword Wasteland

Murphy, James

ET

Chew, S. L., & Cerbin, W. J. (2017, December 5). Teaching and learning: Lost in a buzzword wasteland. Retrieved May 12, 2018, from https://www.insidehighered.com/views/2017/12/05/need-theory-learning-opinion

This article takes a critical look at trends in education and relates that innovation successes are largely attributable to teacher excitement. After the teacher is no longer excited, the innovation may turn out to be no better than the previous trend. Despite increased research in pedagogy, concrete, evidence-based improvement in results remains elusive. The authors attribute this to a “Lack of a comprehensive, empirically validated model of how students learn.” The authors then propose how educators could start down the path to developing this model. They also claim that students have individual differences that call for tailored teaching and learning, rather than a one size fits all approach. They also list many cognitive factors that should be addressed in teaching and learning theory. They conclude the article by positing that there is not one best teaching method, but that there are best teaching methods appropriate to different situations.

I thought this was a very interesting article as it proposes major theoretical changes, supported by evidence-based practices, in the field of pedagogy. It is an ambitious proposal, but one that has merit. I think anyone who has explained the same concept very differently to two different students can appreciate what the authors are trying to articulate. The challenge, of course, is that a classroom teacher cannot always do this for 20+ students.