Monday, September 27, 2021

Feynman - Don’t lecture and Feynman Technique

Richard Feynman, a Nobel Prize winning physicist, who was involved in the development of the atom bomb, also a pioneer in nanotechnology and quantum physics. His fame increased when he diagnosed the problem that led to the Challenger Space Shuttle disaster. He was regarded as a great science teacher and had a deep interest in teaching and learning, constantly reflecting on his own practices and institutional approaches. His lectures in physics are still best-sellers, yet he was deeply critical of the ‘lecture’ as a teaching method. On learning, he was strong on retrieval, simplification and the act of teaching to learn. 

Surely You’re Joking Mr. Feynman!

In his autobiography Surely You’re Joking Mr. Feynman! he writes cogently about his experience in teaching Physics to students in Brazil, where he stood up in front of the students and faculty (at their request) and said, ”The main purpose of my talk is to demonstrate to you that no science is being taught in Brazil”. His point was that the students were being taught to memorise techniques and formulae for passing exams, not understanding physics, “it’s not science, but memorising, in every circumstance”.

His scepticism about teaching methods of that time came from his time approving textbooks for schools in California, in 1964, which he found plainly wrong, using the wrong symbols or irrelevant.

Lectures on Physics

Although lecturing extensively and publishing his lectures, it is in the 'Preface' to his lectures, written long after they were delivered, that his reflections on his own work matured. When he arrived at Caltech he was dismayed to find that the students who arrived full of enthusiasm for physics were being bored into submission by ‘stultifying’ lectures. He tried his best, including 3 problem solving lectures in the first year, mixing things up, introducing advanced but interesting content earlier than usual. So what were his thoughts? 

First, ”one serious difficulty….there wasn’t any feedback from the students to the lecturer”. This, as a lover of the experimental method, was a “very serious difficulty”. He compares it to an experiment without any measurable output, a complete shot in the dark. And his general conclusions were clear, “My own point of view is pessimistic. I don’t think I did very well by the students….I think the system was a failure.” He quoted Gibbon, “The power of instruction is seldom of much efficacy except in those happy dispositions where it is almost superfluous.” In the end he admits that what is necessary is a more student-centred approach to learning physics through discussion and reflection, “It’s impossible to learn very much by sitting through a lecture”.

Feynman Technique

The Feynman Technique was built on the principles developed on his pedagogic writings. It is performative and takes the now popular and evidence-based concepts of cognitive effort and retrieval practice, to learn something. Without the process of recall and simplification, even teaching the content, you are never sure that you really know it. He believed that many teachers were fooling themselves into thinking they know their subject when they do not. As Bjork showed, it is easy to fall into the illusion of learning, thinking that because you’ve attended a lecture, read a book, watched a video,that you have learned the topic.

  1. Write down everything you think you know about the topic from the top of your head

  2. Teach it to someone much younger

  3. Identify the gaps and fill them out

  4. Simplify, clarify and use analogies

Learning this way is iterative, as you must go back to sources to fill in any gaps uncovered by your attempts to recall what you think you know. The act of writing, teaching, simplification and analogising, is a form of retrieval practice that increases understanding and retention.

Influence

His historical place as a Nobel Prize winning physicist is assured, yet his reputation has lived on in his approach to teaching and learning. It is often assumes that he was a fan of the lecture. Nothing could be further from the truth as he was keen to push retrieval and performative learning techniques that avoided the common trap of fooling yourself that you have learned something. One such technique is teaching someone who is much younger.

Bibliography

Feynman, R.P., 2018. " Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!": Adventures of a Curious Character. WW Norton & Company.

Feynman, R.P., Leighton, R.B. and Sands, M., 2011. The Feynman lectures on physics, Vol. I: The new millennium edition: mainly mechanics, radiation, and heat (Vol. 1). Basic books.

Feynman, R.P., Hey, T. and Allen, R.W., (1984) 2018. Feynman lectures on computation. CRC Press.


Saturday, September 25, 2021

Haidt (1963 - ) social intuitionism and campus culture

Jonathan Haidt is Professor of Ethical Leadership at  NYU Stern School Stern School of Business. His research and writing on the psychology of morality have taken him into cultural and political commentary on the nature of moral thinking, especially in political thinking as well as campus culture. His social intuitionalist position, expanded into a general Moral Foundations Theory, sees moral judgements as based on feeling and emotion, with reason coming later. As a centrist in politics he works to bridge political divides.

Social intuitionism

In The Emotional Dog and its Rational Tail (2001) and The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion (2012), he develops his social intuitionist position, where feelings and emotions drive decisions and thinking, rather than reason. This developed into a wider Moral Foundations Theory, the claims that evolutionary and cultural legacies that have evolved, in different senses of the word, to solve problems of cooperation, as we plainly live in social groups and have for tens of millions of years. This has given us six innate moral foundations: care/harm, fairness/cheating, liberty/oppression, loyalty/betrayal, authority/subversion, and sanctity/degradation. Different political stances give each of these different emphases.

The Elephant and the Rider was a metaphor he used extensively in his The Happiness Hypothesis (2006) and elsewhere, to illustrate his social intuitionism. The Elephant is the quick, automatic, intuitive world of feelings and emotions, with the rider the slower conscious controller. This corresponds to Kahneman’s Systems 1 and 2 in Thinking Fast and Slow (2011). He uses this metaphor frequently to explain his social intuitionism in moral judgements showing that both the right and left tend to have emotional beliefs and values that they then rationalise afterwards.
He also helped devise the Disgust scale, an emotion that started as a biological protection of the mouth, then body and eventually moral concerns. Moral elevation is another phenomenon he identifies as a feeling associated with moral tales, producing oxytocin. 

The Coddling of the American Mind

With Greg Lukianoff, in The Coddling of the American Mind (2018) he explored the idea that young people are becoming less robust and autonomous and gripped by three sets of false beliefs:

  1. What doesn’t kill you makes you weaker. Taking Nicholas Taleb’s concept of ‘Antifragility’ he believes that in trying to help the young, we often do great harm, for example, through overprotective parenting. 

  2. Always trust your feelings. This is the idea that subjective, instinctive feelings can be bad guide. We counter these cognitive distortions in many ways, not least when they become extreme in proven Cognitive Behaviour therapy. 

  3. Life is a battle between good and evil. Based on psychological experiments going back to Tajfel and Eagleman, he shows that we are hardwired for tribalism, the ‘then and us’ mentality, which he sees as fuelling identity politics, replacing the politics of the common-good.

Six trends

Haidt sees six trends contributing to this increasingly fractious atmosphere and environment in Higher Education: 

1. The Polarization Cycle is the rising political polarisation seen on campuses since the 1980s, and more recently, since 2016, where faculty have been targeted and, in some cases, fired or pushed out of their institutions. 

2. Anxiety and Depression have been on the rise since 2011, especially among girls and young women, who may be more sensitive to social comparisons. As young people hit less developmental milestones, such as working in the real world, they find the overprotective culture of safetyism on campuses attractive. 

3. Paranoid Parenting has led to restrictive childhoods, with less unsupervised play and helicopter parenting. Middle-class parents, in particular, tend to be more prone to paranoid parenting and therefore produce students who cannot cope with, or turn, adversity into growth. 

4. The decline of free play since the 1980s has also led to an inability to deal with cooperation and dispute resolution. 

5. The Bureaucracy of Safetyism, with more campus bureaucracy and administrators, along with a view of students as customers who have to be pleased through the student experience, has led to moral dependence. 

6. Finally, in the ‘Quest for Justice’, social activism sees injustice as being caused by attitudes towards specific groups, and alternative discussions about the causes of injustice are negated and at times, censored.

Jonathon Haidt identifies ‘concept creep’ as one of the great ills of our age. The tendency to latch on to big words, wide ranging abstract nouns and stretch them like elastic to cover more and more things. He talks about the word ‘violence’ being used to cover much more than physical violence but also psychological violence, all sorts of offence. This he feels has infected campus culture to such a degree that ‘safe spaces’, ‘trigger warnings’ and ‘microaggressions’ have become tools of censorship.

Criticism

Haidt’s critics have come mainly from the left but also from those that see this form of thinking about morality and politics as opening up space for attacks on science itself. Despite plenty of evidence to show that academia, especially in the humanities is skewed to the left, he has been attacked for diminishing the status and relevance of recent attempts to make that system more equitable by quietening dissent and protest. That he sees young people predictably as lacking resilience may be at odds with their legitimate protests and no more than predictable generation bashing.

Influence

Haidt’s work has extended out of academia into mainstream publishing, with his work being seen as relevant to both the problems of political division and conflicts and campus culture. The Coddling of the American Mind is seen by many as a diagnostic text for the phenomena seen in Higher Education around social justice, although he regards much of this as wrong-headed and at odds with what the culture of student and academic freedom should be. What he has succeeded in doing is raising legitimate concerns about the purpose and environment in which tertiary learning should take place, based on a theory of moral psychology. He remains a significant and influential commentator on such issues.

Bibliography

Haidt, J. and Lukianoff, G., 2018. The coddling of the American mind: How good intentions and bad ideas are setting up a generation for failure. Penguin UK.

Haidt, J., 2012. The righteous mind: Why good people are divided by politics and religion. Vintage.

Haidt, J., 2006. The happiness hypothesis: Putting ancient wisdom and philosophy to the test of modern science. Random House.

Haidt, J., 2001. The emotional dog and its rational tail: a social intuitionist approach to moral judgment. Psychological review, 108(4), p.814.

Kahneman, D., 2011. Thinking, fast and slow. Macmillan.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Ibn Tufayl (1106-1185) – Natural learning

 

Although a critic of Al-Ghazzali, Ibn Tufayl follows through in this tradition of educational enlightenment in another part of the Muslim world, modern Spain, in Granada. This was a period of intense intellectual activity in this part of the Muslim world. He wrote a work of fiction The living one, son of the vigilant, which was widely admired across Europe for centuries, even by Leibniz. It possibly provided the impetus for Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe. In this neo-Platonic text, a boy is brought up in a natural environment, echoing Rousseau’s novel Emile.

 

The point is that we can gain knowledge of this world, and ultimately the divine, through our own efforts and learning. Even religion is seen to be the result of natural human feeling, observation and reflection, separate from scripture and revelations.


He also makes a distinction between logical or reasoned learning, and other learning which can be expressed and shared through language and intuition, that can only be shown obliquely through metaphors, allegories and stories. Although in the Neo-Platonist tradition, his views on education are synthesised with the Aristotelian view of empirical inquiry.


Al-Ghazzali (1058-1111) - Moral purpose

Al-Ghazzalis was a renowned Muslim scholar, in an age where education, knowledge and scientific endeavour were greatly valued, encouraged and practiced in the Muslim world. Born in Iran, he taught theology and philosophy in that great centre of learning, Baghdad. Familiar with Christian scholars and Greek texts from Plato, Aristotle and others, he remains one of the most influential Muslim thinkers and scholars.

Reason and religion

With a deep interest in rationalism and logic, subsumed within a religious context, in The Rescuer from Loss he reveals his own process of reflection and education but it is in The Revival of Religious Sciences that he lays out a systematic account of how to live one’s life, including the role of teaching and learning. Education is to be valued, a religious imperative. But far from being a religious dogmatist, he promotes the role of reason, critical thought and self-examination. This is far from the narrow, dogmatic role of teaching and learning in some areas of extreme Islam. 

Teaching & learning

The teacher must be sensitive to the differences among learners. Dialogue and listening are important skills, as teachers must see learners as humans with real needs in terms of morals and purpose. The pedagogy of punishment is not the point. The teacher must therefore be a model for behaviour and show the virtues of humility and honesty. To learn is not to learn by rote or by copying texts. Religiousons compliance is still the goal but education is about teaching the young to play a moral and purposeful role in society.


 

200 learning theorists... 2500 years of learning theory... from Greeks to Geeks!

These were written as quick, readable introductions to the many theorists who have shaped the world of learning. For Greeks to Geeks! Note that this is a personal selection, not a definitive list.


ORIGINS

FULL PODCAST  Greeks to Geeks bit.ly/32D2LSf

GREEKS
Socrates bit.ly/2FQz0hH

Plato bit.ly/386Cd96

Aristotle bit.ly/2tdGUzi

Greek mathematicians; (Pythagoras, Euclid, Archimedes) bit.ly/38hEL46

 

RELIGIOUS LEADERS

Confucious bit.ly/2R4NMI3

Buddha bit.ly/2Pen4vz

Jesus bit.ly/2NGPOMv

Mohammed bit.ly/2RrIEN6

 

RELIGIOUS EDUCATORS

St Augustine bit.ly/2Gm22q1

Al-Ghazzali bit.ly/3kN3yGI

Ibn Tufayl bit.ly/3m5UtYU

Ignatius bit.ly/2v7D76V

Luther bit.ly/2GcJvMH

Calvin bit.ly/2Ro2MRJ

Erasmus bit.ly/3HmSc5e

 

GRAND NARRATIVES

ENLIGHTENMENT


FULL PODCAST bit.ly/3oy80ec


Locke bit.ly/2tDzFAR

Rousseau bit.ly/37rHEzq

Smith bit.ly/2RvBM2F

Wollstonecraft bit.ly/2tTi4Vq

Edgeworths (2) bit.ly/2S1FM9Y


UTILITARIANS

Bentham bit.ly/3okvNi2

Mill bit.ly/3CYxBRG

Seligman bit.ly/2DVc3fw


EVOLUTIONISTS

Darwin bit.ly/3F7lL9W

Baldwin bit.ly/3FchSAs

Geary bit.ly/330821Z

 

MARXISTS

Marx bit.ly/315AxKF

Gramsci bit.ly/2REFkj6

Althusser bit.ly/2UihsUe


PSYCHOANALYSTS

Freud bit.ly/37gsMTS

Erikson bit.ly/3FeZ6rl

Rogers bit.ly/37dup4z


GERMAN IDEALISTS

Kant bit.ly/3wIBsk9

Herbart bit.ly/30rdE8w

Hegel bit.ly/3qGvkYO


SCIENTIFIC NARRATIVES

SOCIAL CONSTRUCTIVISTS

Piaget bit.ly/2vRLT9J

Vygotsky bit.ly/2SlHymF

Bruner bit.ly/2OB4r4o

Donaldson bit.ly/39eMvo1

Wittrock bit.ly/3EQW2Sp


BEHAVIOURISTS

FULL PODCAST bit.ly/3iUnINE


Pavlov bit.ly/2V2cbQV

Thorndike bit.ly/3bRXuWP

Watson bit.ly/3hpJs33

Skinner bit.ly/39Rlw2f

Tolman bit.ly/3CqImwE

Bandura bit.ly/32frFTg


COGNITIVE MEMORY

FULL PODCAST bit.ly/3oUxOBK


Ebbinghaus bit.ly/2VvoxkX

Miller bit.ly/37OaB85

Atkinson & Shiffrin bit.ly/37SEKTK

Baddeley bit.ly/37WfFHq

Tulving bit.ly/2VmFKNw

Sweller bit.ly/2I7Pt2t

 

PRAGMATISTS & PRACTICE

FULL PODCAST bit.ly/3aAK5mk


James bit.ly/2T2GntN

Dewey bit.ly/37Z35ra

Ericsson bit.ly/2PBrvR3

Bjorks (2) bit.ly/2PA9UZZ

Karpicke & Roediger bit.ly/3uPhumZ


ASSESSORS

FULL PODCAST bit.ly/3IX2A3C


Galton bit.ly/3FQ1eWv

Binet & Simon bit.ly/3oiYavg

Burt bit.ly/3HbqxnL

Eysenck bit.ly/2wXYA35

Gardner bit.ly/2ILjO73

Myers-Briggs bit.ly/2IRcnve

Goleman bit.ly/3cUHML7


EVALUATION

Schleicher bit.ly/2vZxQPV

Kirkpatrick bit.ly/2UdDyWf


INSTRUCTIONALISTS

FULL PODCAST bit.ly/3FEdYk8

Taylor bit.ly/2Qmi6g4

Mager bit.ly/38gyGVl

Bloom bit.ly/32QB3NL

Gagne bit.ly/38iITR0

Merrill bit.ly/2wtTyeo


SOCIAL/TEAM LEARNING

Belbin bit.ly/3bvfi9h

Salas  bit.ly/2xymumo

Wenger bit.ly/2QRy2HY

Stodd bit.ly/2QLNdCy

Harris bit.ly/2SjwVSr

 

LEARNING STYLES

Bandler bit.ly/3bsMQpf

Fleming bit.ly/2vv6Uau

Honey & Mumford bit.ly/39pKEgB

Kolb bit.ly/2uWWi3R

 

MORALISTS  

FULL PODCAST  bit.ly/3qgdQC8


Maslow bit.ly/2TAzb8z

Kohlberg bit.ly/2wOWEK8

Clarks (2) bit.ly/3xupR75

Martin bit.ly/38F18jN

McLuhan bit.ly/2IGJamx

Postman bit.ly/33g9Kg0

 

EDUCATION

SCHOOLS

Humboldt bit.ly/2OQzyZS

Montessori bit.ly/38s6CiM

Steiner bit.ly/2uMqkaj

Neill bit.ly/2SSEv5A

Colbert bit.ly/2wgY4wO

Burt bit.ly/39FAHLU


EDUCATIONALISTS

White  bit.ly/2QnE0QM

Knowles bit.ly/2WouoZV

Eisner bit.ly/38YfjAJ

Robinson bit.ly/3bbxhRK

Hirsche bit.ly/2WuICZe

 

TEACHING

Engelmann bit.ly/2xdzRYZ

Rosenshine  bit.ly/2U9jXb6

Marzano bit.ly/2TWtiWe

Hattie bit.ly/2Ur0DF7

Willingham bit.ly/3aehVfp

Black & Wiliam bit.ly/2UtMMOp

Dweck bit.ly/33LfVIQ


CRITICAL NARRATIVES

CONTINENTAL THEORISTS

Heidegger bit.ly/2Z4j749

Habermas bit.ly/3b2d2Xn

Foucault bit.ly/3nPfOrN

Lyotard bit.ly/3zuJHjG

Derrida bit.ly/3EuLzwm

Baudrillard bit.ly/3CvSaEx


CRITICAL PEDAGOGUES

Freire bit.ly/3b73udS

Giroux bit.ly/3ArFcr4

Butler bit.ly/3kvehFx


CRITICS OF SCHOOLS

Illich bit.ly/2yacZKs

Gatto bit.ly/34zStPx

Holt bit.ly/3zzkHrp


CRITICS OF HIGHER EDUCATION

Feynman bit.ly/3CWf1Kd

Chomsky bit.ly/2trDhpj

Mazur bit.ly/3d68wd6

Bloom bit.ly/301w7IK

Thiel bit.ly/2Kbr7G2

Haidt bit.ly/3F0lBAY


VOCATIONALISTS

Schank bit.ly/3b7irMA

Caplan bit.ly/2RzanMM

Sandel bit.ly/3EUBd9o

Goodhart bit.ly/3AODUqF


AFFECTIVE LEARNING

Krathwohl bit.ly/3mKKwlj

Damasio & Immordino‐Yang bit.ly/3pYPnRK
Kahneman & Tversky bit.ly/3mNNVQ9
Shackleton-Jones bit.ly/3qcaaS0


INFORMAL LEARNING

Csikszentmihalyi bit.ly/2IpTXBA

Marsick bit.ly/3zTtvs6

Gery bit.ly/2Ws0qGP

Cross bit.ly/32Vxsh6


WORKFLOW LEARNING

Wallace bit.ly/3k9r4fY

Clark bit.ly/3oqI1pj

Mosher & Goddfredson bit.ly/3mDn1ZT

Thaler & Sunstein bit.ly/3wvb7G2

Jennings bit.ly/3D5M9ir


AI LEARNING

Kandel bit.ly/3oiiYDo

Hebb bit.ly/3kq3z2A

McCulloch & Pitts bit.ly/3kn6Fo8

Rosenblatt bit.ly/31PZmih

Rumelhart & Hinton bit.ly/3bXU3zd

Hassabis bit.ly/3qrYgmT


EXTENDED MIND

Strickgold & Walker bit.ly/3HHB1LN

Clark & Chalmers bit.ly/3CcuvbW

Musk bit.ly/3cfE2o5


ONLINE NARRATIVES

FULL PODCAST bit.ly/3mMYgeH

LEARNING THEORY & TECHNOLOGY

Papert bit.ly/3c1oH8J

Mayer bit.ly/34oKmF6

Clark bit.ly/3FbxgfR

Nass & Reeves bit.ly/39UTXoo


ONLINE DESIGN

Norman bit.ly/2RBJ8Bk

Nielsen bit.ly/3bggI7K

Krug bit.ly/3Fh1tdu


ONLINE TECHNOLOGISTS

Berners-Lee bit.ly/2wE9Cep

Gates bit.ly/2WS3hXj

Page & Brin bit.ly/39B26hA

Jobs bit.ly/3bFx8Go

Chen & Hurley bit.ly/348ZOVV


MOOCs

Sperling bit.ly/3zlVbG6

Khan bit.ly/2wXohBw

Downes & Siemens bit.ly/2VjcvJT

Thrun bit.ly/3mcyakm

Ng & Koller bit.ly/3e5B8SA


GAMIFICATION

Huizinga bit.ly/3wqrZh5

Gee bit.ly/3ENDO3W

Prensky bit.ly/2RoMyHr


ONLINE DELIVERY

Pressey bit.ly/3pf3L7Y

Wales bit.ly/34at66s

Dougiamas bit.ly/2UXOJTq

Mitra bit.ly/2Rf37pc

Luis von Ahn bit.ly/3hst7uw


INTERNET AS KNOWLEDGE

Bush bit.ly/3CEkYuP

Engelbert bit.ly/32ed6mZ

201



ARTICLE Why your LMS is a Zombie, Why you need Curation and AI in Learning bit.ly/3mMD48y


PODCAST AI is the New UI apple.co/3qF8oas

PODCAST AI, Data and Optimism apple.co/3qF8oas

PODCAST Enhancing learning experiences using AI bit.ly/3FJGdNR
PODCAST The History of Learning and the Learning of History apple.co/3sMjXQ2


VIDEO How AI Changes the Learning Game https://bit.ly/3402lWk 

VIDEO Artificial Intelligence for Learning bit.ly/3HlaOlm

VIDEO Don't lecture me! bit.ly/3HmLOtT

VIDEO TED Talk More pedagogic change in 10 years than last 1000 years bit.ly/3quRxqU






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