Critical ThinkingCross-post

Intuition and Domain Knowledge

Can you guess what the graphs at the right show? I’ll give you a couple of hints: (1) each graph measures performance on a different task, (2) one pair of bars in each graph—left or right—represents participants who used their intuition on the task, while the other pair of bars …

Critical ThinkingCross-postEducation

Letting Go of Free Will

The most popular conception of free will—a notion that lies mostly unexamined until it becomes necessary to defend it—is that there is something inside our minds (a “ghost in the machine“) that, as Steven Pinker says, “reads the TV screen of the senses and pushes buttons and pulls levers of …

Critical ThinkingCross-postEducationPedagogy

Telling Vs. No Telling

So, with that in mind, let’s move on to just one of the dichotomies in education, that of “telling” vs. “no telling,” and I hope the reader will forgive my leaving Clarke’s paper behind. I recommend it to you for its international perspective on what we discuss below. “Reports of …

Critical ThinkingHigher Education

Should colleges and universities require students to take courses on diversity?

Here at UCLA, we faculty voted some months ago to add a “diversity” course requirement for graduation.  Such a course could be taken from any number of departments on campus, as long as the course substantially addressed issues of diversity in cultures (everything from literature to religion), human populations, behaviors …

Critical ThinkingCross-postEducationUncategorized

Sophisticated Educators, Please Stand Up

People have been talking about false dichotomies in math education forever, it seems. And so have I (as long as you think of seven years ago as “forever”). And so has Professor David Clarke! His paper, titled Using International Research to Contest Prevalent Oppositional Dichotomies, was published in 2006, and …

Critical ThinkingEducationPrimary EducationScience

Tackling Science Project Turmoil

Science Fairs can sometimes get a bad rap. As a recent viral image illustrates, these school projects are often met with dread by students, families, and yes – even teachers. But I’d like to propose that science projects – done properly – are a valuable tool in teaching children how …

Woman in front of mirror with towel on her head.
Critical ThinkingEducationPedagogy

Teaching Topless

I’d like to share a really nice presentation below by Valerie Otero, professor of science education, and Edd Taylor, assistant professor of math education, both with the University of Colorado at Boulder. And then I’ll bother you with some thoughts about it.   The unifying theme here is the pyramid …

A row of cups that look like faces.
Critical ThinkingEducationPedagogy

You Cannot Not Have Conceptual Understanding

In education, we seem to take some delight in shoveling a confused mix of folksy connotations into sciencey-shelled words and phrases. Some of my colleagues would call the result edujargon, though I think that word allows us to feel too smug about our own obtuseness—as though the problem is that …

Critical ThinkingPrimary Education

About those viral Common Core problems

If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably seen one of those viral posts on social media presenting a (seemingly) ridiculous common core math problem, and possibly even a frustrated parent responding with some kind of exasperated takedown. Like this one. (Also pictured) It is super tempting, especially for those of …

Critical ThinkingCultureEducationScience

Communicating science

This morning, the main site’s quickies had a link to how science stories are often illustrated with some attention grabbers that misrepresent the actual content of the study being described.  This reminded me of an incident when a new faculty member in our Communication department was introducing herself to the …