November 30, 2018

Inducing Self-Explanation: a Meta-Analysis

Kiran Bisra, Qing Liu, John C. Nesbit, Farimah Salimi, & Philip H. Winne

Abstract: Self-explanation is a process by which learners generate inferences about causal connections or conceptual relationships. A meta-analysis was conducted on research that investigated learning outcomes for participants who received self-explanation prompts while studying or solving problems. Our systematic search of relevant bibliographic databases identified 69 effect sizes (from 64 research reports) which met certain inclusion criteria. The overall weighted mean effect size using a random effects model was g = .55.

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November 25, 2018

Reducing Violence in Non-controlling Ways: A Change Program Based on Self Determination Theory

This paper presents and examines the first school change program focusing on violence and caring based on self-determination theory (Deci & Ryan,2012). The program aimed at promoting teachers’ capacity to cope with violence and enhance caring without becoming more controlling.Comparisons of the effects of a 22-month-long program in three intervention schools and three control schools indicated that the program (a) reduced violent student behavior and controlling teacher behavior and (b) enhanced caring student behavior and active teacher response to violence. The results suggest that exposure to self-determination theory (SDT) concepts may promote a firm, yet non-controlling, teacher response to violence. More generally, the results highlight the potential for incorporating SDT ideas in violence reduction programs. Read full article here.

May 23, 2018

Critique of Pinker's Enlightenment Now

Here is an interesting critique of Steven Pinker's book Enlightenment Now by Jeremy Lent. Lent writes: "I agree with much of what Pinker has to say" but also "I believe it’s crucially important to take Pinker to task for some dangerously erroneous arguments he makes" and: "It’s precisely because of the validity of much of Pinker’s narrative that the flaws in his argument are so dangerous."

Steven Pinker’s Ideas About Progress Are Fatally Flawed. These Eight Graphs Show Why. 
It’s time to reclaim the mantle of “Progress” for progressives. By falsely tethering the concept of progress to free market economics and centrist values, Steven Pinker has tried to appropriate a great idea for which he has no rightful claim. In Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress, published earlier this year, Steven Pinker argues that the human race has never had it so good as a result of values he attributes to the European Enlightenment of the 18th century. He berates those who focus on what is wrong with the world’s current condition as pessimists who only help to incite regressive reactionaries. Instead, he glorifies the dominant neoliberal, technocratic approach to solving the world’s problems as the only one that has worked in the past and will continue to lead humanity on its current triumphant path.

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