Teaching Old Teachers New Tricks

teaching an old dog new tricks

teaching an old dog
new tricks
originally uploaded
by Trevor D..

Eide Neurolearning has a new post about Old Dogs and New Tricks. They explain some memory research comparing how young and old participants were able to remember word lists. Essentially, their memory was fairly comparable unless there were extra distractors in the list that had not previously been mentioned. The older participants had more experience and prior memories of these distractor words and that made it harder for them to filter the extraneous words.

They don’t present this as only bad for older adults; they talk about balance in approach from both older and younger.

If you’re older, may be it’s a good idea think about letting go of some of old knowledge or tricks if you really want to learn something new. And if you’re younger, it may be wise not to pursue new tricks so singlemindedly that you fail to consider what you already know.

As Will Richardson put it in his Skype quote yesterday: Steep unlearning curve ahead.

I think when we are trying to help old teachers adapt to new technology, we have to keep in mind that they’ve seen so many educational fads come and go. If we want this change to “stick,” we have to help them see that this change is different from previous fads. We also have to help them unlearn the traditional methods and power structures. Will’s list of things to unlearn is a good place to start, and he says it better than I do. Read his post and see what I’m talking about.

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