Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Choice matters

Research-driven school reform. That's what many are calling for.

Shouldn't schools follow practices that are backed-up by research showing what works best?

Erika A. Patall, an assistant professor of educational psychology at the University of Texas at Austin conducted a study of high school students in 14 different schools. In one group students were assigned work by their teachers. In the other group they studied the same material but were given choices of what work to do. "For example, students in a science class may choose to write a research report or conduct and explain an experiment in front of the class."

Dr. Patall's conclusion? "When students were given choices, they reported feeling more interested in their homework, felt more confident about their homework and they scored higher on their unit tests."

What's not to like about this?

"One of the other things that became very evident was teachers found this study kind of an imposition," Dr. Patall said. "They're not inclined to do this sort of thing, because it's more work for them."

Once again educational research confirms Montessori practice as best practice.

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