This reminds me of so many other untested beliefs. Parents and teachers have been of the opinion lately that students will understand math better using real-world objects to illustrate abstract concepts. Research now suggests this is wrong.
“The motivation behind this research was to examine a very widespread belief about the teaching of mathematics, namely that teaching students multiple concrete examples will benefit learning,” said Jennifer A. Kaminski, a research scientist at the Center for Cognitive Science at Ohio State. “It was really just that, a belief.”
Dr. Kaminski and her colleagues Vladimir M. Sloutsky and Andrew F. Heckler did something relatively rare in education research: they performed a randomized, controlled experiment. Their results appear in Friday’s issue of the journal Science.
I don’t have an axe to grind regarding how math gets taught. I’m just intrigued that they actually tested the theory. It reminds me of other theories that have clear and testable sociological implications. Wouldn’t it be nice if somebody actually did research to these to see if these are true:
But wait a moment: there already is research on that second one.
Do you have any other similar examples of ideas that need sociological research?
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