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Monday, 8 March 2021

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You are here: Home > Online Articles > GORDON ELDRIDGE: LESSONS IN LEARNING



By Gordon Eldridge, TIE Columnist
When it comes to structuring curriculum for global citizenship, designing instruction and experiences around justice-oriented citizenship is what we should be striving for. So what might the elements of such a curriculum be? ..more
+ 2020
By Gordon Eldridge, TIE Columnist
In his continuing exploration of the thinking and practice behind global citizenship initiatives, Gordon Eldridge considers a study that examined the impact on students of a particular global citizenship curriculum in a private girls’ school in the United States. ..more
By Gordon Eldridge, TIE Columnist
As we make decisions about the kind of global citizens we hope our schools will produce, it is important to examine some of the beliefs and assumptions which underpin differing conceptions of what it means to be a global citizen. ..more
By Gordon Eldridge, TIE Columnist
Most of our schools include some conception of global citizenship in our guiding statements, perhaps a good umbrella for organizing a systematic approach to anti-racism and social justice. But what does research tell us about developing effective programs for global citizenship? ..more
By Gordon Eldridge, TIE Columnist
We all recognize the most common pattern of student talk: “listening to speak," or mentally preparing what they want to say rather than truly listening to understand. This kind of talk does not build shared understanding. So how can we get students to move beyond this? ..more
By Gordon Eldridge, TIE Columnist
Heidi Andrade’s research review of 76 recent empirical studies summarizes what we currently know and what we still need to learn about student self-assessment. Which activities are most beneficial to learning? And how can we maximize their benefits? ..more
+ 2019
By Gordon Eldridge, TIE Columnist
Human beings have a natural tendency to overlook evidence that conflicts with their current understanding--this is often referred to as “my side bias.” Could varying the instructional framing of an activity encourage students to actively consider information that conflicts with their own positions? ..more
By Gordon Eldridge, TIE Columnist
Collaborative group work has been shown to improve both learning and motivational outcomes. Deciding when to use collaborative learning structures is not always easy, however. A study conducted at the J.W. Goethe University of Frankfurt/Main may give some guidance. ..more
By Gordon Eldridge, TIE Columnist
Professional development programs that are focused on embedded practice, are of longer duration, build explicit skill sets, and are based on active learning may be more effective than those that don’t, but how often do we systematically apply these criteria when organizing or selecting PD opportunities? ..more
+ 2018
By Gordon Eldridge, TIE Columnist
A coalition of psychologists known as the Coalition for Psychology in Schools and Education sought to identify the top 20 principles that can be gleaned from the current behavioral research base. The journal Mind, Brain and Education reported these, along with some of the research foundations that support them and possible implications for the classroom. ..more
By Gordon Eldridge
One of the key themes I have returned to a number of times over the years in this column is the difficulty of deciding how much and what kind of guidance to provide students in order to optimize learning. It is quite possibly the quintessential question in education. ..more
By Gordon Eldridge
Some PE teachers I have spoken with advocate making the grade for PE largely about participation. That way students who do not yet have the skill set to get high grades in PE won’t get discouraged, or so the thinking goes. But will that really make a difference? ..more
By Gordon Eldridge, TIE Columnist
Knowledge of vocabulary is highly correlated with academic success. Students with larger vocabularies demonstrate higher levels of reading comprehension and perform better on many of the kinds of achievement valued in schools. But vocab instruction often stops in late elementary school. ..more
By Gordon Eldridge, TIE Columnist
Katherine Muenks of Indiana University and David Miele of Boston College have published a research synthesis examining what we currently know about the ways in which students connect notions of effort and ability. ..more
By Gordon Eldridge, TIE Columnist
It seems a no-brainer that we should be using more technology in the classroom in our technological age. Moreover, it seems logical that in a one-to-one environment, students will have more opportunity to further their technology skills. But what impact do these programs have on learning, beyond increasing these specific technology skills? ..more
+ 2017
By Gordon Eldridge, TIE Columnist
I have heard people say in recent years that there is no longer a need to retain facts, since they can be so easily and quickly looked up on the internet. While this may be true for superficial pieces of information, the retention of a well-selected fact base can still play a hugely important role in learning. ..more
By Gordon Eldridge, TIE Columnist
In one study, where more than 3,300 teachers were surveyed, researchers found that 46 percent of teachers reported that more than half of students entering kindergarten did not have the social and emotional skills deemed necessary for success in school. Researchers investigated class-wide interventions to support students in developing necessary social skills. ..more
By Gordon Eldridge, TIE Columnist
A previous article I reviewed here suggested that inventing a solution prepares students well for subsequent direct instruction. But was the positive learning effect due to the process of inventing the solution? Or was it simply that inventing the solution caused students to compare the cases more thoroughly and thus enabled them to notice the deeper structure of the concept? ..more
By Gordon Eldridge, TIE Columnist
Numerous studies across multiple domains have shown that the addition of graphics to a text can significantly improve comprehension and retention of information. One theory behind this improvement in learning is known as the Multimedia Principle. ..more
By Gordon Eldridge, TIE Columnist
There is a great deal of evidence to suggest that the process of argumentation can lead to deeper understanding. It is not necessarily the case, however, that all students are ready to engage in this kind of argumentation. ..more
+ 2016
By Gordon Eldridge, TIE Columnist
Researchers such as Wiley and Voss have found that having students write arguments can be a very effective learning strategy. Sampson and Clark, however, found that over and above the benefits accruing to students who write arguments, students who also engage in collaborative argumentation display further learning benefits. ..more
By Gordon Eldridge, TIE Columnist
There is a large body of research indicating that if we can help our students achieve such connected understanding, they are both more likely to retain information and more likely to be able to transfer their understanding to new contexts. Concept mapping can help. ..more
By Gordon Eldridge, TIE Columnist
There has been a lot of discussion in recent years about Assessment for Learning (AfL) and how it differs from Assessment of Learning (AoL), but what do we mean by learning, and what do we mean by the assessment that is likely to support that definition of learning? ..more
By Gordon Eldridge, TIE Columnist
A recent study by a team of researchers in the United States points to the potential usefulness of having multiple models between which we continually move back and forth, engaging with the genuine complexity of the learning process so that we can apply the best model to a particular context. ..more
By Gordon Eldridge, TIE Columnist
While it may seem obvious that if we want a student to achieve a particular learning outcome, setting that outcome as a goal would logically support them in achieving it. Yet research into the acquisition of writing revision skills suggests that the situation is not so straightforward. ..more
+ 2015
By Gordon Eldridge, TIE Columnist
If a school is not clear on what it wants from the education it offers students, then not only will there be a lack of consistency across classrooms, but students will get a mixed message as to what is valued. ..more
By Gordon Eldridge, TIE Columnist
A 1997 study of college faculty in California found that 89 percent of instructors felt that teaching critical thinking was important, but only 9 percent of them felt they were actually teaching the skills on a regular basis ..more
By Gordon Eldridge, TIE Columnist
We would probably all acknowledge that consistently receiving low grades could lower intrinsic motivation to continue persevering with similar tasks, but do high grades increase motivation? Gordon Eldridge considers the research. ..more
By Gordon Eldridge, TIE Columnist
Children are natural observers, but everyday observation is significantly different from the kind of observation skills necessary for success in science. What does it mean to observe within a disciplinary context? ..more
By Gordon Eldridge, TIE Columnist
In order to become successful inquirers, students need to be able to set a broad goal for the inquiry, select and sequence the sub-goals that will lead to that goal, and then map the strategies they will use during the inquiry onto the sub-goals. ..more
By Gordon Eldridge, TIE Columnist
Supporting students in closing the gap between current performance and a goal state is at the heart of formative assessment. While the teacher’s role in this process might include suggesting strategies students can use to close that gap, research shows that this is not always effective. ..more
By Gordon Eldridge
The use of the internet as a learning tool has grown exponentially over the past decade or so, but the research on the benefits of internet use shows mixed results. ..more
By Gordon Eldridge, TIE Columnist
"Expert knowledge is organized around important concepts." This is one of the differences between how experts and novices perform tasks within a given field. Understanding these differences can help us more effectively guide novices towards expertise. ..more
By Gordon Eldridge, TIE Columnist
Research suggests that young learners who are struggling with reading can make significant gains with interventions such as Reading Recovery. The evidence as to whether these gains are sustained over time, however, is more equivocal. ..more
By Gordon Eldridge, TIE Columnist
Collaborative work has become a routine feature of classrooms and while there is evidence that the talk encouraged by collaboration can further the learning of all involved, setting up a group task in a way that fosters successful collaboration is far from easy. One important consideration is how to group the students. ..more
By Gordon Eldridge, TIE Columnist
There is a lot of evidence to suggest that challenge is an important component of motivation. It is quite possible that the higher level of challenge contributes to higher motivation and therefore greater learning. Some of the basic skills are actually better learned when they are applied in conjunction with more advanced content in more complex contexts. ..more
By Gordon Eldridge, TIE Columnist
Theories abound about how human memory functions, but sometimes the theories are too abstract for us to be able to see their relevance in the day-to-day world of the classroom. Our knowledge in this area is growing rapidly however, and some recent contributions from researchers at Miami University and the University of Texas at Arlington have some obvious implications for learning and teaching. ..more
By Gordon Eldridge, TIE Columnist
The Internet has become an invaluable source of information for learners and teachers, and some of the features that make it such a useful source of information can also serve to support the learning of vocabulary. However, it is also a place where learners can become easily distracted and lose sight of the goal they are working towards. ..more
By Gordon Eldridge, TIE Columnist
Somewhere between five and 17 percent of children do not become fluent readers. Researchers at the University of Cambridge believe it may be possible to improve reading performance by teaching students to better perceive rhythm. ..more
By Gordon Eldridge, TIE Columnist
Gordon Eldridge discusses the Total Physical Response approach to language teaching--strengthened by an increasing body of research evidence--according to which enacting language physically can improve memory and aid recall. ..more
+ 2014
By Gordon Eldridge, TIE Columnist
To make the best use of the information they find on the Internet, students need to develop skills related to evaluating and synthesizing information across multiple sources. But what exactly do these skills look like in the context of Internet research? ..more
By Gordon Eldridge, TIE Columnist
Gordon Eldridge considers the importance of classroom culture discusses a study conducted by Rebecca Givens Rolland of Harvard University investigating certain aspects of classroom culture and their impact on student achievement. ..more
By Gordon Eldridge, TIE Columnist
How much “direction” to give students is one of the quintessential questions of our profession. A clear learning purpose is an important foundation for effective learning. But what does this mean in the context of early childhood classrooms, where many feel play is one of the cornerstone pedagogies supporting learning? ..more
By Gordon Eldridge, TIE Columnist
The amount of potentially important content is increasing exponentially in every subject area. While “coverage” does not equate with learning, many feel the need to “touch on” everything they consider to be important. A 10-year study tracking significant curriculum change at Michigan State strongly suggests that this is counterproductive. ..more
By Gordon Eldridge, TIE Columnist
A known driver of later mathematics and science learning, block play may also underpin spatial language and concepts, according to the National Research Council’s 2006 report. ..more
By Gordon Eldridge, TIE Columnist
Researchers studying a balanced literacy approach sought to test an assumption: that English Language Learners (ELLs) would also benefit from strategies that are effective in helping native speakers with reading comprehension. The results were hardly straightforward. ..more
By Gordon Eldridge, TIE Columnist
Most programs for English Language Learners (ELLs) recommend daily oral language instruction, at least until students have reached a threshold level of proficiency in English. What structures best support us in providing this? ..more
By Gordon Eldridge, TIE Columnist
A group of researchers from the University of Colorado argue that inquiry-based learning and direct instruction do not form a dichotomy. We should be considering a continuum, which varies across a number of different dimensions. ..more
By Gordon Eldridge, TIE Columnist
Columnist Gordon Eldridge presents a new but growing field of research in “neuroeducation,” bridging the gap between the results of neuroscientific research in the laboratory and its potential application in the classroom. ..more
By Gordon Eldridge, TIE Columnist
At what age is it best to introduce a second language? What kinds of pedagogy best support language learning? What kind of teachers should we be hiring to teach language? TIE columnist Gordon Eldridge examines the research. ..more
By Gordon Eldridge, TIE Columnist
We have learned a tremendous amount about the human brain and how it functions over the past couple of decades. Ready-to-use classroom applications of neuroscience remain limited, however. ..more
By Gordon Eldridge, TIE Columnist
Students are expected to answer questions about "big ideas" in our classrooms; new research identifies techniques that will help them select relevant information and effectively organize it, prompting deeper understanding. ..more
by Gordon Eldridge, TIE Columnist
A common misconception about inquiry is that it never involves explicit teaching. Truly purposeful inquiry is far more complex than this. ..more
By Gordon Eldridge, TIE Columnist
Tasks requiring a student to construct a mental model of a situation are more likely to promote deeper understanding than tasks that can be performed with a more superficial representation of the information. ..more
By Gordon Eldridge, TIE Columnist
Do you need some clarity here? Fear not, there is indeed some research into what constitutes effective inquiry, and how and when its methods can be productively employed. ..more
By Gordon Eldridge, TIE Columnist
Do you believe all children can learn to think independently? Do you want a viable alternative to traditional, didactic mathematics? If yes, here are some additions to the mathematics teacher’s toolkit. ..more
By Gordon Eldridge, TIE Columnist
Assessment can be a powerful tool to encourage and support students; it can also have a decidedly detrimental effect. What are some of the factors that determine whether our assessment practices will be a help or a hindrance? ..more
By Gordon Eldridge, TIE Columnist
In wrestling with the problem of student misconceptions in the classroom, it is essential that we intentionally activate student prior understanding about a concept in some way, prior to the introduction of complex, new ideas. ..more
By Gordon Eldridge, TIE Columnist
If a procession of Harvard graduates cannot explain earth's seasons, is there hope for your youngsters? Yes, but you'll need to test their "knowledge framework" first. ..more
By Gordon Eldridge, TIE Columnist
We sometimes attempt to minimize the role of language in assessments by making accommodations for ELL students. But do they really work? And are they valid? ..more
By Gordon Eldridge, TIE Columnist
Algebra is often an area where many of our students do not succeed to the degree that we might hope. Focusing strategies on developing conceptual understanding, rather than just procedural mastery, is critical to student success. ..more
By Gordon Eldridge, TIE Columnist
Second language learners in our classrooms can often present us with challenges. Yet these challenges can sometimes blind us to the potential advantages that bilingual learners bring with them. ..more
+ 2010
By Gordon Eldridge, TIE Columnist
Most of our international school parents are keen to support their children’s achievement, and often ask us what they can do at home to best help their children learn. What types of parent involvement "work"? ..more

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