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The focus in this chapter is on general characteristics of learning environments that need to be examined in light of new developments in the science of learning; Chapter 7 provides specific examples of instruction in the areas of mathematics, science, and history—examples that make the arguments in the present chapter more concrete.We begin our discussion of learning environments by revisiting a point made in Chapter 1—that the learning goals for schools have undergone major changes during the past century.
It was not until the mid to late 1800s that writing began to be taught on a mass level in most European countries, and school children began to be asked to compose their own written texts.
Even then, writing instruction was largely aimed at giving children the capacity to closely imitate very simple text forms.
On this page you will find four examples of how the essay could have been written.
In this chapter we discuss implications of new knowledge about learning for the design of learning environments, especially schools.
through experimentation and observation (e.g., Lehrer and Schauble, 1996a, b; Linn, 1992, 1994; Schwab, 1978).
Society envisions graduates of school systems who can identify and solve problems and make contributions to society throughout their lifetime—who display the qualities of “adaptive expertise” discussed in Chapter 3.
This approach attempted to sort the raw materials (the children) so that they could be treated somewhat as an assembly line.
Teachers were viewed as workers whose job was to carry out directives from their superiors—the efficiency experts of schooling (administrators and researchers).
The emulation of factory efficiency fostered the development of standardized tests for measurement of the “product,” of clerical work by teachers to keep records of costs and progress (often at the expense of teaching), and of “management” of teaching by central district authorities who had little knowledge of educational practice or philosophy (Callahan, 1962).
In short, the factory model affected the design of curriculum, instruction, and assessment in schools.