EducationNext just published an article that highlights the efficacy of lectures over class-based problem-solving time. From the article:
Contrary to contemporary pedagogical thinking, we find that students score higher on standardized tests in the subject in which their teachers spent more time on lecture-style presentations than in the subject in which the teacher devoted more time to problem-solving activities. For both math and science, a shift of 10 percentage points of time from problem solving to lecture-style presentations (e.g., increasing the share of time spent lecturing from 20 to 30 percent) is associated with an increase in student test scores of 1 percent of a standard deviation. Another way to state the same finding is that students learn less in the classes in which their teachers spend more time on in-class problem solving.
The researchers looked at eighth grade students. According the the paper, the results are statistically robust.
These findings contradict recent discussions I have had on campus – and my own gut feel – about the value of active-learning strategies. I would appreciate colleagues weighing in. Am I missing something or making a false comparison? Do we have other studies? What is our own experience? To borrow from my esteemed colleague, what do we think and know and what can we prove?
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Here's a short interesting piece offering a dissenting viewpoint based on a study from Canada, Don. Thoughts?http://bit.ly/kguaPlJohn Hader