Proximal versus distal

Filling the pail

It can be hard to cut through education research because there is such a great volume of it, most of which is not very helpful. So it’s useful to have some heuristics to fall back on. I have a few that I can recommend.

Firstly, I would ignore anything excessively jargon laden or that mentions French philosophers in its abstract. Such papers are unlikely to offer much to a practising teacher. I’ve picked my way through a number of them now and if there is a point to them, it tends to be quite trivial.

If the paper involves an experiment then take a look at the methods section. Surprisingly often this will have a great big hole in it. For instance, the control and experimental groups might be different.

However, I’m starting to think that there is something even more important to look for. Any intervention should have a…

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