Response to “Gas Station without Pumps”

After reading Keith Devlin’s rant on thinking vs. remembering, I found an interesting blog entitled Gas station without pumps which I found on another class member’s blog. Below is my reply:

I agree that the best pedagogy begins with a good “hook” as well–it is important to create student buy-in before we ask them to digest a bunch of facts. I disagree, however, that teaching students to memorize the processes to arriving at an answer is a bad idea. I haven’t read Lemov’s book although it is on my list. I am familiar with his work because the instructional model used at the school where I teach is partly based on his reccomendations. This is the first time that I have taught using direct instruction, and I have found it very interesting to hear the many arguments both against and for this style of teaching. I think a lot of it has to do with the setting in which a teacher finds him/herself. Many schools that advocate for such models are found in urban areas where many students arrive in 7th grade, for example, performing on a 3rd grade level. How else can we get these students to progress if we don’t focus on skills, skills, skills? Is there a better way?

What do you think of this debate that seems to be central to education reform today?

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