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Gwinnett School of Math, Science & Tech No. 3 in…

Is Educational Research Going to the Birds?

Over the years, millions of tax dollars and time has been spent on educational research, but is it all worth it?

 

I have gotten to the place where I am sick of tax dollars being spent on worthless educational research and people being put on a pedestal for doing it. Fine, go ahead, add up your data, but don’t give me some ridiculous conclusion that was obvious before conducting the worthless research in the beginning.

Case-in-point: (And this is just one example, amongst too many) According to HealthDay News, a recent survey administered to 190 University of Pittsburgh students “found” that interference in students’ ability to learn and pay attention may be contributed to the students’ frequent amount of texting during classroom instruction.

The questionnaire asked students how much they learned during class and how much they texted or received text messages during class. The results of the questionnaire conveyed that students sent 2.4 texts and read 2.6 texts during a class period. Therefore, concluding with the obvious: children who text less got better grades and were able to pay more attention in class. 

One would guess that if texting is affecting student academic performance, cellphone usage should be banned from the classroom; however, principal author Fang-Yi Flora Wei, an assistant professor of broadcast communications at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, never once mentioned that as a resolution when she responded to the survey results with “Now we see that in-class texting partially interferes with a student's ability to pay attention, which prior studies show is necessary for effective cognitive learning.” Seriously, this is what prior studies have focused on.  

She went on to suggest that teachers should implement more interactive teaching strategies, which would be more effective than banning texting from the classroom. In essence, teachers need to outperform the activity of texting as the resolve. Need I say more? I will resist commenting on this part.

These “findings” appear in Communication Education, a print issue. No wonder effective education in America is almost unheard of amongst the millions of dollars spent on educational research.

In short, common/natural sense has become researched sense; everything affecting education is driven by numbers. Instructional time and money is wasted on senseless student surveys. This summarizes the huge education problem in a nutshell. Decision makers are operating like robots, modeling and creating a system of research dependent thinkers with many engaging in personal productive, yet pervasively nonproductive studies creating what they call “effective strategies” and forcing the muddle on good teachers who have their own effective abilities, causing them to escape the classroom.

Please don’t get me wrong. I do believe that research can be necessary, but that’s only when it’s necessary and makes sense. 

Vanzetta Evans (Editor) April 09, 2012 at 06:50 PM
I had a professor in college who makes a point about not texting in his class. The first day of class, he plants a decoy student who has a cell phone go off. He the confiscates the phone and then destroys it with a hammer. Problem solved!
Okay. It's so elementary. The professor didn't need to do or say thing else LOL!
Concerned April 10, 2012 at 04:55 PM
I love your reflection. This pretty much sums up our school system here in Gwinnett. In our efforts to be number one we are grasping at straws putting all the weight onto educators and expect them to bend and be flexible while sipping away at acid

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