• Raj

Why does 1 to many teaching suck so bad?

Semantic Distance. Recently I read about semantic distance (also called referential distance). I also recently read about Bloom's 2 Signal Problem. I think they complement each other. Bloom's 2 Sigma Problem: Bloom found students taught 1-1 did waaaaaay better than students taught 1-many. This much better: "the average tutored student was above 98% of the students in the control class".[1]:4 Additionally, the variation of the students' achievement changed: "about 90% of the tutored students ... attained the level of summative achievement reached by only the highest 20%" Semantic distance: roughly the gap between one knowledge set and another I think semantic distancing explains well why 1 on 1 did so much better than 1 to many. Each student has a different semantic distance to the concept the teacher is trying to explain. But for those with a short semantic distance, the teacher will be explaining too many things already known to them. They will become bored. For those with a long semantic distance, the results are even worse. The teacher will not explain enough to shorten the semantic distance. They will think they are stupid but really, the teacher is ignoring whatever lies between them and the concept that they are not teaching at that moment. If a teacher is explaining x concept, but you don't know y, you will think you are stupid and incapable of learning when all you need is to go over some other material for things to click. Thus, with 1 to many, teachers cannot consider individual semantic distances to a concept. It's simply too hard when you have multiple students. When you have 1 to 1, it becomes much easier to teach based on the prerequesites needed to form a concept, regardless of some rigid curriculum. You can base it on the human in front of you. With mastery learning (add link) and a tutor, you can do significantly better than normal. But what if you had a perfect machine, capable of finding exactly what is needed to shorten a semantic distance...? That's your brain! Your brain is designed for exactly that! If you are interested in a subect, it's not so hard to pursue it further and figure out what knowledge you're missing (if you think this wrong, there's a good chance you have learned helplessness from school) If you use a brain that doesn't know your brain to decide what to learn, you get poor results. If you use a brain that focuses only on putting things into your brain you get better results. But if you have a brain that spends all day thinking about itself, what kind of results would you get...?

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