a (possible) story: individual differences, learning, & education Or, TEP115-inspired research hypotheses
Achievement gaps: a starting point • No child left behind: black/white, rich/poor gap • Want all students scoring proficiency by 2014 • What factors contribute to how a child is doing at school? • What does this tell us about the way we learn ; about how our minds work ? • Also.. • The role of the school– is it the only thing? • What does this mean for us as teachers?
Individual differences thoughts • How does ch. 12 approach individual differences? • Gender diffs, Ethnic diffs : are these the best ways to approach individual differences? • Are there *really* differences between two populations? • Are our chosen populations (e.g. “ethnicity”) really (relevantly?) (causally?) related to the differences we see? • Cognitive deficit views • Contextual views • Cultural • “how could how much money a family has, or the colour of their skin influence how well that child learns to read?” • Social class vs. income & race
Rothstein • Class and schools: using social, economic, and educational reform to close the black-white achievement gap (2004). • Some SES-related factors • Personality & Childrearing** • Health care • Housing (in)stability • Cultural factors • Values ; parent participation • Historical biases: culture of underachievement • My interest: child-care factors which might lead to more or less confident/exploratory children, and how this relates to school performance • Which of these factors does ch. 12 bring up?
A family of concepts • Secure/anxious attachment relationships • Who’s learned about these before ? • Exploration • Pro-activity • Confidence (?) • Do you see any relationship between these? • How about, a possible connection to learning, to success in school?
Bowlby: attachment • Focused on “long term affects of different patterns of attachment of infants and young children to their caregivers” • How does the child approach its local environment? Is it interested? Is it frightened? Is it approaching or retreating? • Secure vs. anxious attachment • Supportive responsiveness of caregiver • Again, what could this have to do with learning? • Does attachment relate to school performance… • WHY? • Exploration • Pro-activity • Confidence (?)
Individual differences in EA & individual differences at school: links • Predictive value of early attachment ratings • “Strange situation” test : measuring EA • Arend, Gove & Sroufe (1979): in/secure attachment predicts how 4.5-6 yr olds will tackle (detail) (another slide? ) • Predicts school performance (controlling for IQ) • Predicts curiosity and exploratory-ness as rated by teachers
Why do we see these correlations? • What are possible links? What is going on? • “[links] indirect”: “Having a secure attachment relationship .. likely does not change your “math brain” ” (Sroufe et. al, 2005, p. 187) • Sroufe et al. “the central outcomes .. Are a basic sense of social connection, positive expectations concerning self and others, and the capacity for self-regulation” (p.164) • Can we make any stronger hypotheses?
Stronger hypotheses • The role of curiosity, exploration, pro-activity in doing well in school : • pro-active learning • Maybe this is the relevant link between secure early attachment and later success
Aside: But what could curiosity, exploration & pro-activity have to do with school performance ?? • Japanese-US differences in teaching • Japanese kids have higher scores: before they learn about a concept, teachers want kids to struggle through problems • Schwartz & Moore • Kids score highest in “compare -> lecture” conditions • What are the similarities in these approaches? What does this have to do with (something like) pro-active learning ?
Pro-activity & school : hypotheses • In situations where students are active/engaged with material: they perform better when tested. • So, exploratory children, ones who are interested in alternative-testing; kids who, try out different ways of looking at a problem kids who “explore”-- do they have a better chance of general school-success? (a hypothesis) • Maybe this kind of confidence is a factor in why certain students are not doing well in school.
Why are we talking about this again? • Data show that SES is the highest predictor for early attachment ratings. • Second highest is .. • So, this is an individual difference that SES plays a role in constructing.
Other (non-attachment) factors affecting individual pro-activity • Rothstein: how parents talk to their kids • Low SES parents: “we’re getting off here” • High SES parents: embed directives in questions: “oh, look, is this our stop? “ • Again, how might this be related to what we’ve just said about the importance of pro-activity?
Ball-game study (find reference) Part one: Two groups of college students, both taught how to play a novel game First group was given instructions as follows: “This is how you throw the ball” Second group heard “This is one way you might throw the ball” Part two: Change rules a little bit – what happens? Second group much better at playing the second game Directives vs. open-ended instructions
Extensions • What about things like, learning language (growing vocabulary)? Learning how to read?? • We see SES differences here, quite early • Are there any possible links to pro-active learning in these kind of learning tasks?
Summing up • The role of the school– is it the only thing? • What do effects of SES mean? • Rothstein: we need social, economic, & educational reform to close the gap • What does this mean for us as teachers? • Involvement in reforms ! Awareness of the issues ! • Teaching for exploration
Some books I’m drawing from • Rothstein, R. (2004). Class and schools: using social, economic, and educational reform to close the black-white acheivement gap. Economic policy institute. • Bowlby, J. (1988). A secure base: parent-child attachment and healthy human development. Basic Books. • Sroufe et al. (2005). The development of the person: The Minnesota story of risk and adaptation from birth to adulthood. Guilford Press.