Pseudo intervention and the power of placebo

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…it is the peculiar and perpetual error of the human understanding to be more moved and excited by affirmatives than by negatives…

Francis Bacon

Today’s post has been contributed by a reader who has asked to remain anonymous who got in touch after reading my blog explaining why I’d abandoned the SOLO taxonomy. Whilst this post isn’t directly related to SOLO, it does address the need to provide compelling evidence when we start getting excited about a particular style or approach to teaching. Increasingly I’ve become convinced that one way to increase students’ attainment might be to harness some sort of permanent Hawthorne Effect by telling them that they are the focus of a series of cutting-edge interventions. One problem with this theory was that I couldn’t see how I might come up with endless new strategies to perpetrate. Surely, I reasoned, a condition for producing a Hawthorne Effect must be that the teacher would have to be convinced of the efficacy of the intervention? Well, maybe not. Read on…

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