Comparison of Medical Science and Cognitive Science

Share Cognitive Science Implications for Teaching Mathematics
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We all benefit from, expect, and endorse medical science, why not cognitive science?

Medicine practiced in doctor’s offices and in hospitals is determined by medical scientists, doctors, nurses and other health care professionals (insurance companies and now by extension the government may interfere).  Why isn’t the teaching practiced in our schools determined by cognitive scientists, content experts, well educated teachers, and other education professionals?

We would not like doctors, clinics, and hospitals to practice medicine in the same manner as practiced 50 years ago.  Why are we content for teachers and schools to operate almost like those of 50 years ago (none of the passing fads invented by non-educators change what happens on a day to day basis in the classroom)?

Too much of what happens in our schools is determined by politicians and others with no real knowledge of cognitive science.  The most common teaching style and classroom activities are exactly like the teacher was subjected to as a student.

We talk a great game about thinking, critical thinking, problem solving, abstraction, generalization, deductive reasoning,  patterns, and relationships.  Then we send the student home to DO 25 – 50 inane problems, all of the same type but with different numbers (the numbers are normally restricted to simple integers as if rationals and irrationals did not exist).  The goal is that students will be trained to regurgitate the identical problem type on a test three weeks later.  In our hurried, a section a day, teaching schedule, we never mention a problem type more than that one day.  This kind of massed practice is not an effective way of learning anything but it has been the standard, especially in mathematics, for at least 50 years.

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