Sunday, July 20, 2008

Freethinking, valid statistics and improper research

Citation is the bane of free thought. An article is judged as likely truth or mistruth by the amount of items in a reference list.

We unconsciously imbue our students with this ball and chain when teaching referencing and citation. The freewheeling thought required of creation and inspiration gets buried in the need for regurgitated, "critical" evidence and reference based research. This whole blog has spurred the need for recycling concepts and using other's posts to lend credence to ideas. If you're here, it's to hear what I think based on my experience and disagree or agree with it. After all my view might change 14 minutes from now with a point made by you!

The action research movement and the original OBE movement has been encouraged through the "I must be right because I can quote 15 other people that agree with me." It's complete and utter nonsense. We should not disregard tried and true methods because a group of people say it is wrong and those using them don't scream their obvious effectiveness. Nor should we disregard a notion based on anecdotal evidence even though it sounds right but we can find no evidence that anyone has documented to support it.

While we're at it I resent the need to write boring, uninspiring articles lacking emotion. We need to encourage children to write with the passion they are born with rather than bleed it out of them with needless detail and bland academic articles.

As educators and professionals we need to use proper and valid statistical methods on real samples (applied mathematics!!) to question what we know and evaluate new ideas with an open mind as experimental concepts before we implement them to a wider student community. I enjoy research and experimentation (being a research and development manager in my not too distant past) but dislike change without proper consideration (in the same way I dislike bad implementation of IT). Education too often has used our students as guinea pigs instead of treating children with the same care as say new pharmaceuticals or an algorithm in a defence contract computer program.

Introducing poorly prepared bland children to society is equal to a crime of introducing a dangerous drug to the masses or creating a flawed computer programme that controls nuclear missiles. One student can change the world. Let's create children that can conquer that world and not just document then sleep through it.

1 comment:

  1. mmmm
    the 'narrrow eyes' of a student prepared for a particular 'outcome' task...
    totally unprepared for another context... 'free thinking'... 'thinking? (Too dangerous... you might make a mistake... )
    the student may score highly on the designated 'Task'... but OH dear ... a different task and the student falls way down on the outcome assessment grid...

    keep up the 'thinking' there are a lot of teachers, parents, citizens and students who see the 'width' and 'breadth' of learning...


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