EconTalk — Doug Lemov

On: Teaching

Episode: N/A

Date: December 9, 2013

Background: School administrator and author.

Key Subjects:

  • Better teachers.
    • Teaching is a performance profession involving complex behavioral tasks.
    • Requires practice.
      • Automate things you don’t want to think about “during the game”.
        • Get better at the core task.
      • Free up cognitive processing capacity to worry about other things.
  • Better students.
    • “At bats” (again, practice).
      • Repetition: learning requires repetition.
      • Variation: variety of contexts -> broader understanding and application of concepts.
      • Example: wordplay (using a word often and in different circumstances) enhances vocabulary enhances reading (understanding the differences and nuances).
    • Education is feedback.
      • Check for understanding: what students know and don’t know.
        • “It’s not whether you taught it, it’s whether they learnt it”.
      • Normalize errors: getting it wrong is the normal state of learning.
      • Make errors more visible.
        • Examples: cold calling (broader class engagement), call and response (high energy back and forth).
  • Making teachers better.
    • Three areas of competence.
      • Teaching techniques.
      • Managing a class room.
      • Subject-specific knowledge (may be hardest to train).
    • Observe, provide feedback, evaluate, etc.
  • Better learning: importance of writing.
    • Writing: use specific word and syntax, capture what an idea is and what it isn’t, complexity.

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