I think there is also an issue of each of these methods of instruction in terms
of different disciplines. In psychological science "direct inquiry" can lead
people hopelessly astray, especially if they begin with incorrect constructions
on which to base their future decision making.
As we all know, misconceptions about psychological science abound. When I've
asked a group of students which is more true: "Birds of a feather flock
together", or "Opposites attact" and have them work in small groups, students
are far more likely to begin with describing relationships where people who are
seemily different on the surface have successful relationships--(1)
unfortunately they don't go beneath the surface to deeper issues of basic core
values. (2) they are drawn to those very dramatic examples, exceptional
examples, rather than all the mundane examples that would favor the other
position. (3) So this whole idea of "discovery learning" often ends up being a
discussion in small groups about students' anecdotal experiences and is a
horrible technique. At best, giving them access to a computer *might* lead them
to some good readings; but given time constraints they could never digets the
literature quickly enough in a class period--and who can devote more time than
In other disciplines there may be better quality evidence than anecdote, but,
unfortunately, for most students of psychology, especially at the introductory
level, they use their previous life's experiences as evidence. Sigh.
Indeed, I believe we should be very careful when talking about applying
pedagogical techniques across disciplines. My colleague and I have an article
under review in ToP (since last April--apparently they are having editorial
problems????) that direct instruction is the best way to alleviate
Which perhaps us back to the issue of operational definitions for these
Annette Kujawski Taylor, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychology
University of San Diego
5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA 92110
---- Original message ----
>Date: Sat, 27 Oct 2007 19:25:41 -0700
>From: Richard Hake <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
>Subject: [tips] Failure of Constructivist, Discovery, Problem-Based,
>Experiential, and Inquiry-Based Teaching?
>Thus the *interpretation* of Klahr and Nigam (2004) that "direct
>instruction" (as defined by KN) is superior to "discovery learning"
>(as defined by KN), while consistent with KN's research, appears to
>be a misinterpretation to physics education researchers (PER's) if
>they use the PER definition of "direct instruction," and are unaware
>of the KN definitions of "direct instruction" and "discovery
>learning." Thus there appears to be a communication failure involving
>different meanings for these terms.
>Consistent with the above, Klahr & Li (2005), disturbed by the
>misinterpretations of Klahr and Nigam (2004) in the media, wrote [my
>insert at ". . . . .[insert]. . . . "; my CAPS; see that article for
>references other than Hake (2005)]:
>Indeed, IT IS SURPRISING THAT WHEN
>EDUCATION RESEARCHERS AND SCIENCE EDUCATORS JOIN IN HEATED DEBATES
>ABOUT DISCOVERY LEARNING, DIRECT INSTRUCTION, INQUIRY, HANDS-ON, OR
>MINDS-ON, THEY USUALLY ABANDON ONE OF THE FOUNDATIONS OF SCIENCE-THE
>OPERATIONAL DEFINITION. . . . [even despite the antipositivist
>vigilantes (Phillips, 2000)]. . . . The field of science cannot
>advance without clear, unambiguous, operationally defined, and
>replicable procedures. Education science is no exception."