Clinical Practice in Education: Panacea, Placebo or Suppository

kevenbartle's Blog

Preamble

Having written more than one blogpost criticising the use of medical language and metaphors in education, I rather find myself on the back foot with the title of this post and its content. Let me deal with that straight away.

My concerns about Big Research in the form of Randomised Control Trials (taken from the medical world, applied to the educational sphere, championed by Dr. Ben Goldacre), is that they “are used widely for showing causal relations in health and social care because their study design is the only one that is able to control for unknown or unmeasured confounders”. There is nothing wrong with this in and of itself, but the notion of causality in education is one that I struggle with.

What, for example, causes the underachievement of a small group of students with seemingly every advantage in the world and how might we go about intervening?…

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About teachingbattleground

I teach
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