kitchen table math, the sequel: against "controlled" research

Thursday, February 22, 2007

against "controlled" research


spaced repetition:

Stone's argument, in Developmentalism: An Obscure but Pervasive Restriction on Educational Improvement, is that the holism and developmentalism of education school ideology mean that an educationist will be inclined to reject controlled scientific research for the very reason that it is controlled scientific research.

Control is exactly what the philosophy of Romanticism, which is the philosophy underlying educationism, rejects.

Controlled research means you've broken a classroom whole down into its component parts and you've studied how one part affects another part.

To a person whose intellectual roots lie in Romanticism, that is wrong.

Thus: the very premise of controlled research is incompatible with Romantic philosophy.

My two cents: Stone is probably right.

Given the nature of the developmentalist view, experimentally demonstrated teaching practices are bound to invite a great degree of skepticism. The object of experimental research is to demonstrate the impact of an independent variable as an agent of change. Contrary to such an objective, developmentalism requires that social, emotional, and cognitive change emerge, not as an effect induced by an external agent, but as an independent expression of the student. Thus experimentally tested methodologies are automatically considered suspect if not outrightly objectionable depending on which developmental limitations are presumed applicable. In effect, developmentalist doctrine discourages reliance on the most important and most credible research educators have at their disposal (Bloom, 1980 as cited in Gage & Berliner, 1992; Cook & Campbell, 1979)


This goes to the question of whether there is any "real" constructivism in the schools.

I can't possibly know how much "real" constructivism there is in the schools - "real" meaning "ideal type."

From where I sit there's obviously a huge amount of really existing constructivism in the schools.

But it's wrong to argue, as Jay Mathews describes the thesis of Labaree's book, that "education schools have about as much impact on what happens in U.S. classrooms as my beloved but woeful Washington Nationals are having this season on the pennant race."

Ed schools have managed to crush every effective teaching method and curriculum known to mankind.

That's impact.

5 comments:

rightwingprof said...

"Stone's argument, in Developmentalism: An Obscure but Pervasive Restriction on Educational Improvement, is that the holism and developmentalism of education school ideology mean that an educationist will be inclined to reject controlled scientific research for the very reason that it is controlled scientific research."

Indeed. They literally despise empiricism. Though it isn't really Romanticism. There's certainly an element of Romanticism, but postmodernism is more a resurrection of solipsism combined with nihilism. It's not so much that they object to empiricism because it violates Romantic holism, but because it violates their solipsism. Empiricism, you see, requires that there be an objective reality, that truth is testable, and therefore, not relative to one's perception.

That's what they hate.

Catherine Johnson said...

You're in a college, right?

I think we're looking at two different sociologies...

Here in K-12 ed school thinking seems to be plain old-fashioned Romanticism.

Certainly the folks running my school have deep belief in the absolute knowability - the incontroversial, shared knowability - of reality.

"He's a 3."

Catherine Johnson said...

I find myself often wanting to explain things like RELATIVISM and UNCERTAINTY.

In my modest way, of course.

Catherine Johnson said...

Of course the other thing that always gets you in the end is the way these various ideologies one-doesn't-like glom onto other ideologies one-doesn't-like and morph into big, fat, monster ideologies than can kill small animals with a single thought wave.

Catherine Johnson said...

I have proof!

K-12 people believe in data.