Myth Five – We should teach transferable skills

The Wing to Heaven

This blog post summarises chapter 5 of my book Seven Myths about Education. It will be published on March 5th 2014 by Routledge. To read the introduction to this sequence of posts, click hereClick here to preorder if you are in the UK, and here if you are in the US.

In this chapter I look at the work of Guy Claxton, Chris Quigley and the RSA Opening Minds Curriculum. They all promote the idea that there are generic skills which it’s possible to teach in the abstract. By teaching pupils such generic skills they will then have them available to transfer to whatever new content they wish. Of course, if this were true it would be a very efficient way of proceeding, but unfortunately it isn’t. Skills are tied to domain knowledge. If you can analyse a poem, it doesn’t mean you can analyse a quadratic…

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