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a (possible) story: individual differences, learning, & education

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Presentation on theme: "a (possible) story: individual differences, learning, & education"— Presentation transcript:

1 a (possible) story: individual differences, learning, & education
Or, TEP115-inspired research hypotheses

2 Achievement gaps: a starting point
No child left behind: black/white, rich/poor gap Want all students scoring proficiency by 2014 What factors contribute to how a child is doing at school? What does this tell us about the way we learn ; about how our minds work ? Also.. The role of the school– is it the only thing? What does this mean for us as teachers? TALKING SPECIFICALLY ABOUT THE GAP IN HIGH/LOW SES --- and,, specifically, one aspect of it. This is a sort of outline – Supposed to tlak about individual differences, This is how they fit into my interests . This is definitely a sided story, This is not all the information, it’s,, from a couple books im reading right --- in fact,, it’s,, quite a (cognitive science questions) These two questions on the bottom are

3 Individual differences thoughts
How does ch. 12 approach individual differences? Gender diffs, Ethnic diffs : are these the best ways to approach individual differences? Are there *really* differences between two populations? Are our chosen populations (e.g. “ethnicity”) really (relevantly?) (causally?) related to the differences we see? Cognitive deficit views Contextual views Cultural “how could how much money a family has, or the colour of their skin influence how well that child learns to read?” Social class vs. income & race This question confuses social class with two of its characteristics: income , and, in the US, race. (ie, in the US, both race and income are characteristic of – are statistically more probable of --certain social classes) (in many countries, income is characteristic of social class, but not race).. SOCIAL CLASS IS NOT A MECHANISM… we want something deeper than this,, if we want to understand, if we want to change anything. What , more precisely, is going on ?

4 Rothstein Class and schools: using social, economic, and educational reform to close the black-white achievement gap (2004). Some SES-related factors Personality & Childrearing** Health care Housing (in)stability Cultural factors Values ; parent participation Historical biases: culture of underachievement My interest: child-care factors which might lead to more or less confident/exploratory children, and how this relates to school performance Which of these factors does ch. 12 bring up? --from a “cognitive” perspective. What does cognitive mean here? Health care: vision twice as bad in low income; failure to diagnose Housing: if kids have to move schools, lose out. Kids in classes where lots of kids move lose out (b/c teacher has to cater to new kids to catch them up) HDA: Black communities– not equal hiring practices mean that having an education has not always helped in any way– so there is a culture of underachievement which stems from mistrust in education’s worth Cultural factors: e.g. some cultures, want to respect teacher (not ask questions, engage with, e.g.) some other things: fear that english not good enough , don’t want to appear stupid *How much TV they watch*-- this is an important one: what are those kids doing when they’re not watching tv ? Someone is probably taking care of them (in the high-income way– exploratory)

5 A family of concepts Secure/anxious attachment relationships
Who’s learned about these before ? Exploration Pro-activity Confidence (?) Do you see any relationship between these? How about, a possible connection to learning, to success in school? My ideas/ interests really revolve around the relationship of these concepts to Learning, to doing well in school, in thinking “deeply”, understanding. This is going to tie all of the things that I’m talking about in the lecture today together, So, I wanted to give it in the beginning as a sort of structure for the rest of the lecture. You should try to tie it with what im saying. Even though I’m talking about SES– what I’m really concentrating on is really concerned with these. (to next slide) What relationships? attachment and confidence are sort of opposites: if you’re anxiously attached, it’s something like, not being sure enough of your-self (in some particular surroundings) to do something– maybe, in particular, to explore, to be pro-active. An attached individual Confident, exploratory : Try out new things— Pro-active :

6 Bowlby: attachment Focused on “long term affects of different patterns of attachment of infants and young children to their caregivers” How does the child approach its local environment? Is it interested? Is it frightened? Is it approaching or retreating? Secure vs. anxious attachment Supportive responsiveness of caregiver Again, what could this have to do with learning? Does attachment relate to school performance… WHY? Exploration Pro-activity Confidence (?) Secure attachment corresponds to a situation in which in the child’s early stages (like, how early?) Is “readily availiable, sensitive to the child’s signals, & lovingly responsive when the child seeks protection and/or comfort and/or assistance” In a situation of secure-attachment , an infant more boldly explores the world, confident that support when needed will be availiable from others. Anxious attachment corresponds to inconsistency in/ lack of supportive responses . A child in this environment

7 Individual differences in EA & individual differences at school: links
Predictive value of early attachment ratings “Strange situation” test : measuring EA Arend, Gove & Sroufe (1979): in/secure attachment predicts how yr olds will tackle (detail) (another slide? ) Predicts school performance (controlling for IQ) Predicts curiosity and exploratory-ness as rated by teachers Say a bit about the minnesota study : This is a huge longitudinal study that just came out This is a cool study because they have the ability to look at so many variables (thus, try to control for so many things, they can look for interactions between so Many things ) – means, they have a very rich space of information from which to draw. They can really provide us with the full complexity (this is complex !) of this picture of Development.

8 Why do we see these correlations?
What are possible links? What is going on? “[links] indirect”: “Having a secure attachment relationship .. likely does not change your “math brain” ” (Sroufe et. al, 2005, p. 187) Sroufe et al. “the central outcomes .. Are a basic sense of social connection, positive expectations concerning self and others, and the capacity for self-regulation” (p.164) Can we make any stronger hypotheses?

9 Stronger hypotheses The role of curiosity, exploration, pro-activity in doing well in school : pro-active learning Maybe this is the relevant link between secure early attachment and later success

10 Aside: But what could curiosity, exploration & pro-activity have to do with school performance ??
Japanese-US differences in teaching Japanese kids have higher scores: before they learn about a concept, teachers want kids to struggle through problems Schwartz & Moore Kids score highest in “compare -> lecture” conditions What are the similarities in these approaches? What does this have to do with (something like) pro-active learning ? Here, you are forcing kids to participate with the material, to try out various ways of looking at it– but also, to practice figuring out which ways of looking at it are useful to solve a particular task. Maybe “deep” understanding (one which will allow for you to solve new, slightly different problems) is,, more about– being able to get a feel for what works and what doesn’t , given a certain problem. (learning implicit meta-cognition) Also, see the active-ness of listening to a lecture Hearing the lecture afterwards is more useful: they have practiced; they know what is relevant. Have a prior understanding of what is going to be important, and why.

11 Pro-activity & school : hypotheses
In situations where students are active/engaged with material: they perform better when tested. So, exploratory children, ones who are interested in alternative-testing; kids who, try out different ways of looking at a problem kids who “explore”-- do they have a better chance of general school-success? (a hypothesis) Maybe this kind of confidence is a factor in why certain students are not doing well in school. The problem is asking you ; how to decide whether a certain factor is relevant. Here: you’re learning how to try out different things, how to * explore* , test out, Decide yes or no about , different alternatives. What else do you need? Not to be scared to try out different things, different ways Of looking at something. Different patterns of relevance.

12 Why are we talking about this again?
Data show that SES is the highest predictor for early attachment ratings. Second highest is .. So, this is an individual difference that SES plays a role in constructing.

13 Other (non-attachment) factors affecting individual pro-activity
Rothstein: how parents talk to their kids Low SES parents: “we’re getting off here” High SES parents: embed directives in questions: “oh, look, is this our stop? “ Again, how might this be related to what we’ve just said about the importance of pro-activity? Directives stiffle exploration; stiffle search for alternative possibilities, for alternative interpretations, alternative lay-outs of the relevant parameters. (next page) What sorts of things might cause these differences?

14 Directives vs. open-ended instructions
Ball-game study (find reference) Part one: Two groups of college students, both taught how to play a novel game First group was given instructions as follows: “This is how you throw the ball” Second group heard “This is one way you might throw the ball” Part two: Change rules a little bit – what happens? Second group much better at playing the second game Presenting information in a way that is malleable allows for students to (mess around with it) Interact with it better , To transfer takes the ability (the invitation? ) to explore alternative possibilities for the way that you’re doing things. Transfer (from ability to play the first game to ability to play a related game) happens better when the first game is presented in a more open-ended way.

15 Extensions What about things like, learning language (growing vocabulary)? Learning how to read?? We see SES differences here, quite early Are there any possible links to pro-active learning in these kind of learning tasks? Babies who are in the Secure-attachment infants: more confident, make more links, try more things. Maybe this word stands for this? Maybe it stands for that? Will switch easier between interpretations, given bad datas. More experimental, specifically, more exploratory in their alternatives. More willing to put themselves out on a limb. Trying out new possibilities for alternatives. (more sensitive to things not working out?? – I don’t know. Maybe ,, insecure babies are.. ?? Responsiveness to the world– you don’t want to be too sensitive– that might hurt, too (see, insec babies) . So, maybe,, the secure babies are more confident– (less responsive) – but,, at a good balance of responsivity. And,, mm,, because,, language isnt about, learning word-meaning relationships. All the way through it’s about this experimental, dialogue-ical, being able to construct and vy between multiple readings , being sensitive to things that narrow your rnage of possible interpretations. In language, in (all sorts of tasks !)

16 Summing up The role of the school– is it the only thing?
What do effects of SES mean? Rothstein: we need social, economic, & educational reform to close the gap What does this mean for us as teachers? Involvement in reforms ! Awareness of the issues ! Teaching for exploration

17 Some books I’m drawing from
Rothstein, R. (2004). Class and schools: using social, economic, and educational reform to close the black-white acheivement gap. Economic policy institute. Bowlby, J. (1988). A secure base: parent-child attachment and healthy human development. Basic Books. Sroufe et al. (2005). The development of the person: The Minnesota story of risk and adaptation from birth to adulthood. Guilford Press. At the end? At the beginning?

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