What is the obsession with ‘new’ ideas in teaching?

The Hobbolog

I have written before about the tendency for people in education to fall foul of a ‘novelty bias’, drawn naturally towards new (often untested) ideas at the expense of more reliable, time-honoured ones. Until recently, I had only considered this from the perspective of those working in front-line education. This week, however, I had an interesting insight into another possible facet of this pervasive preference; the idea that a novelty bias within academic circles may lead to a research focus which is unnaturally skewed towards producing ‘novel applications’ for education, rather than simply constraining and explaining the methods and techniques we already have.

This week I attended a seminar given by Geoffrey Bowers, a prominent critic of the field of Educational Neuroscience. Bowers is an engaging speaker and, whilst I do not agree with a number of his conclusions regarding the field, I do have sympathy with a number of…

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