The latest research and theories from evolutionary psychology, neurobiology and cognitive science demonstrate the various ways that humans have evolved over time to be extremely effective learners. John Abbott discusses what current research from various fields can tell us about how the adolescent brain works and how educators can work with adolescent learners to maximize their potential.
If young people are to be equipped effectively to meet the challenges of the 21st century it is surely prudent to seek out the very best understandings from current scientific research into the nature of how humans learn before considering further reform of the current system.
This article by John Abbott and Terence Ryan appeared in the Spring, 1999 issue of Education Canada.
This paper describes aspects of the current context of education policy in Canada, selected trends in the integration of information and communications technologies (ICT) for learning in the kindergarten to grade 12 education systems and offers observations about emerging visions of effective ICT integration. The ideas presented represent a synthesis of information reviewed in research reports, policy papers, selected seminars and surveys.
(Source: Canadian Education Association)
Rather than thinking of the brain as a computer, cognitive scientists now utilize a far more flexible, biological analogy, where the brain is seen as a unique, ever-changing organism that grows and reshapes itself in response to use. In this article, John Abbott and Terence Ryan discuss how emerging brain research that supports constructivist learning collides head-on with many of our institutional arrangements for learning.
The article first appeared in the November 1999 issue of Educational Leadership.
What Did You Do in School Today?: Transforming Canadian Classrooms Through Social, Academic and Intellectual Engagement
Through What did you do in school today?: Transforming Classrooms through Social, Academic and Intellectual Engagement, the Canadian Education Association, in partnership with the Canadian Council on Learning and school districts across Canada, are bringing life to the idea of student engagement in the classroom, and exploring its powerful relationship with adolescent learning, student achievement, and effective teaching.
A first look at the initiative’s results are presented in the initiative’s first national report – What did you do in school today?: Transforming Classrooms through Social, Academic and Intellectual Engagement, written by J. Douglas Willms, Sharon Friesen and Penny Milton, along with two supporting documents,Exploring the Concept of Student Engagement and its Implications for Teaching and Learning in Canada by Jodene Dunleavy and Penny Milton, and Teaching Effectiveness: A Framework and Rubric, by Sharon Friesen.
Human beings are communal by nature and living together – in communities – is our most common and most natural state of life. John Abbott discusses the fact that communities must be created and sustained by the conscious intentions and actions of their members, and that we must attend to health and vitality of our communities in order to thrive – and to learn! – as a species.
About this paper
This paper was written for the first International Baccalaureate Organization Worldwide Electronic Conference in 2004, which had the theme of “Enriching Communities”. John Abbott, as a contributor/leader, noted that the theme suggested that “right now, many people fear that communities are not what they once were, or indeed might be in the future, and that somehow they have to be enriched.” He contributed four papers to the conference; with We Are a Small Group Species being the first in the series.
“Every kid is different. Why force each mind to fit the same timetable?” asks this article written by a British Columbia teacher. If individuals learn in a variety of styles and on different schedules, who benefits from the formal rigidity of current school timetable? And if we know that learning is not confined to the classroom, couldn’t we ‘do’ school differently? Nick Smith, a veteran teacher, discusses the current ‘factory education model’ in contrast to mastery learning, self-directed studies, a continuous progress model, and other innovative ideas being put into practice at alternative B.C. high schools.
A New Wave of Evidence: The Impact of School, Family and Community Connections on Student Achievement
The new research synthesis produced by SEDL’s National Center for Family and Community Connections with Schools examines the impact of different family and community connections on student achievement.
Authors Anne Henderson and Karen Mapp reviewed more than 50 research studies published since 1995 to compile A New Wave of Evidence.
The synthesis shows that for parent involvement to have an impact on achievement, schools must link parent activities to student learning goals and be respectful of difference among families. Schools that succeed in engaging families from very diverse backgrounds:
* Focus on building trusting collaborative relationship among teachers, families, and community members * Recognize, respect, and address families’ needs, as well as their differences * Embrace a philosophy of partnership where power and responsibility are shared.