On the Definition of Learning

This week @ShakinthatChalk tweeted the following poll: https://twitter.com/ShakinthatChalk/status/1374832563940888584?s=20 It is quite clear to me that the pupil in question had learnt the topic but had then forgotten it. The only way I could conceive that they hadn't was if they had fluked the test, but surely that possibility was excluded by the fact that they'd… Continue reading On the Definition of Learning

Talking Trees and Talking Humans: why human cognition is not a natural information processing system

John and Susan Sweller argue that Human Cognition is a Natural Information Processing System.[1] I have many problems with this view, but in this post, I want to highlight a particular mistake in their thinking: the conflation of one-way powers with two-way powers.  Firstly, I shall use the idea that trees talk to each other to explain the distinction between the… Continue reading Talking Trees and Talking Humans: why human cognition is not a natural information processing system

Schema re-conceptualised: A response to Tom Sherrington

Tom Sherrington wrote an interesting blog in which he expressed his frustration about people criticising the model of learning he uses - specifically the concept of schema - on the grounds that ‘there is more to learning than that’ or that it ‘reduces learning to memorisation’. He wrote that he was annoyed that people criticise… Continue reading Schema re-conceptualised: A response to Tom Sherrington

Why emotion shouldn’t be banished from debate

There is a pretty revolting trend in current debates of trying to use appeals to logic, reason, common sense, and other similar concepts to excuse evil. Here’s a classic example from Paul Embery: https://twitter.com/PaulEmbery/status/1292935438383095808?s=20 Here Embury is trading on the apparently common assumption that emotions or appeals to morality have no place in arguments, presumably… Continue reading Why emotion shouldn’t be banished from debate

Why Doug Lemov’s argument in favour of exams is confused

The cancellation of exams this year has prompted some people to dream of an education system without standardised testing. Some have responded by posting this by Doug Lemov. His argument runs something like this: Given that there is a scarcity of places at the top universities (i.e. not everyone can go to Oxbridge), there must… Continue reading Why Doug Lemov’s argument in favour of exams is confused

What the UK government could learn from some time in the classroom

The paucity of talent in UK politics is such that the press laud any display of even the most basic professional skill as if it were the work of a genius. ‘Wow! “Dom” Cummings is such a genius with the way he gets his stories in the paper, his political messaging and his targeted advertising!’… Continue reading What the UK government could learn from some time in the classroom

Some brief notes on Hinge Certainties

1. The following notes were written for my sixth-formers after the concept came up in class discussion. They are a very brief summary of some of the key ideas in Danièle Moyal-Sharrock’s study of Wittgenstein’s On Certainty, (entitled Understanding Wittgenstein’s On Certainty). I've posted them here following a discussion on twitter concerning Wittgenstein and the temptations… Continue reading Some brief notes on Hinge Certainties