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How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School
Evaluations be conducted of the effectiveness of those learning opportunities in changing understanding and conceptions of practice.
The outcome of this research would include both a description of common preconceptions about learning and tested techniques for working with those preconceptions that could be incorporated into the curricula of schools of education and professional development programs.
13. Conduct discipline-specific research on the level and type of education required for teaching that discipline in elementary, middle, and high school. This volume makes clear that to teach effectively in any discipline, the teacher must link the information being taught to the key organizing principles of the discipline. To achieve this, the teacher must be provided with the discipline-specific training that allows for deep understanding of those principles. This type of teaching is not now a consistent feature of teacher training programs.
It is recommended that discipline-specific research be conducted on the amount and type of training in content knowledge that teachers need for various levels of schooling (elementary, middle, high) in order to teach for understanding. The challenge in providing such training is to equip the future teacher with both content knowledge and an understanding of the thinking of children in the subject area at different developmental stages. Each is a critical component for effective teaching in a subject area. In light of this dual requirement, is content knowledge best obtained in disciplinary courses that also service majors in the discipline, or in courses in schools of education, or in jointly sponsored courses that emphasize effective teaching of the content of the discipline? When content and teaching methods are taught separately, are teachers able to bridge the two? When they are done together, is adequate attention given to the disciplinary content?
It is further recommended that the discipline-specific research teams evaluate existing tools for assessing teachers’ content knowledge and knowledge of discipline-specific developmental trajectories and make recommendations regarding their adequacy.
Develop Tools for Effective Communication of the Principles of Learning to Teacher Education
14. Examine the efficacy of professional development activities. Much of what constitutes the typical approach to formal teacher professional development is antithetical to what promotes teacher learning.
Research studies are needed to determine the efficacy of various types of professional development activities, including pre-service and in-service seminars, workshops, and summer institutes. Studies should include profes-