Mike Crowley said:
many of us cling to the certainties of the way we were educated ourselves as “the right way” to do so. Any deviation from the tried and trusted can elicit nervousness and uncertainty, especially – and unsurprisingly – from parents. Our faith in the tried and the trusted is a little bit like holding onto the handrails in the deep end of a swimming pool. When schools suggest that the depth of experience is more vital than just skimming the surface, we are looked at sceptically. The same does not happen with other professions, of which we seem to be far more trusting. I went to my dentist recently in a lot of pain. He suspected my problem was sinusitis and pointed out that he had just invested in a hi-tech system that used a high resonance 3D imaging model to offer a visual understanding of the nature of pain itself. Did I resist this innovation? Question the use of this new technology? Ask if he knew what he was doing? Suggest that this is not what my dentist would have done in 1976? No, of course not. This only happens in schools.
Image credit: Dental xray machine, Diana Beideman
This is an enlightening point that is often missed by parents, teachers, and administrators who are skeptical of the value of newer methods of teaching.
However, I think a part of it is that we are at least superficially aware that new techniques and technology don’t enter our local dentist office until after they’ve been thoroughly vetted by researchers. We don’t have a similar confidence in the education research industry. There’s a sense that anyone using the “new ways” is somehow randomly experimenting on kids.
Another part of the skepticism comes from the fact that we have no expectation when we walk into the dentist’s office that we understand the medicine and the science behind the techniques. So when the dentist tries something new, we feel assured that she has done her homework and knows what she’s doing. We all think we understand school, and we have less confidence that politicians and administrators are doing all the homework to select the best and most effective “treatments” for learners.
[I am posting this comment on the original blog as well.]
Hi Scott and Gerald – I generally agree with your point-
“However, I think a part of it is that we are at least superficially aware that new techniques and technology don’t enter our local dentist office until after they’ve been thoroughly vetted by researchers.”- is not the case as often as you might think.
For example, I believe once a drug is originally approved for use say as an anti-depressant, a doctor can choose to use it to treat ADHD even though it was never specifically approved for that use … Botox for example is used to treat many things it has never been officially approved for. How did that happen? Is it because doctors and others found it seemed to help patients in others ways and since they weren’t using it in unapproved dosages they continued to do so? That’s not “vetted” in the usual way by researchers …. I might even say it is an innovation. There are non-drug treatments that come about the same way.