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Education is an interdisciplinary science, but the buck stops at psychology. Higher-level mental processes are the building blocks of learning. Snubbing the mental and neuroscientific bases of memory, cognition, emotion, and speech puts the efficacy of a learning intervention on feeble ground, yet this is an all-too-common occurrence across classrooms, online and otherwise. According to University of Wisconsin, Madison’s Mark Seidenberg, author of the recently published Language at the Speed of Sight, there is a worrying gap between educational science and practice. In the case of reading, for example, the research (which he deems conclusive) links spoken language with proficiency in grammar and vocabulary. An evident fact that seems absent from teacher preparation curricula, and therefore from classroom programming.
Educational Psychologist is currently the top ranked journal in the field, according to the SCImago Journal Rank Indicator. Home to some of the most popular, groundbreaking, and controversial research on education, and with a fondness for meta-analysis and effectiveness evaluation, the journal is a mandatory stop for educators keen to inform their practice with state-of-the-art educational advice.
Below, you’ll find just a taste of the most commendable research from Educational Psychologist, Volume 53, the first of 2018:
David B. Miele & Abigail A. Scholer. “The Role of Metamotivational Monitoring in Motivation Regulation.” Pages 1-21.
Rather than asking about motivation point-blank, the authors build upon previous research to frame the problem as a “motivation regulation” situation through which educators can address “motivation deficits” identified in students. The framework can be shown to students themselves so they are able to recognize such deficits in themselves, understand them, and work through them.
Jake Follmer. “Executive Function and Reading Comprehension: A Meta-Analytic Review.” Pages 42-60.
“Executive function” is the bundle of metal processes through which a person gets things done. As they have been shown susceptible to improvement (and deterioration) through learning interventions, executive function is thought to be the mind’s educational epicenter. For the specific task of reading comprehension, the author makes a comprehensive review of the literature, starting from two assumptions: that this skill is achieved only with autonomous, “goal-directed behavior;” and that it is, for the most part, unable to be automatized. The review shows that the functions best associated with reading comprehension, and therefore those worth focusing on the most, involve working memory and planning, but also shifting (ability to move between tasks and goals) and inhibition (ability to suppress thoughts or urges that do not contribute to the goal at hand).
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