Letter to the editor

An extraordinary tool for further discussions

by Prof. Dr med. David Holzmann, Zurich

In never ending, persistent, wearisome discussions with school superintendents and administrations which lastly terminated annoyingly, I have regularly, as a family father, banged my head against a brick wall after asking about the researched background of the modern school reforms. As a researcher and medical doctor who is scientifically active, I have asked the respective pedagogical people who are responsible for the new forms of lessons such as ‘self-discovering learning’, etc. how far they were actually scientifically reviewed. I wanted to know from them with reference to the new form, if there was an effective advantage for the growing adolescent and should this be the case, how would this advantage be quantified. Either, I was admonished with responses such as “Yeah, you know, that comes from above”, in which Heaven was not meant rather the Department of Education. Or, the discussion would be abruptly ended with the words, ‘Mr Holzmann, I will not discuss the science of education with you.’ The last answer reminded me of Bertolt Brecht’s theatre play, ‘The life of Galileo’ where the Inquisitors did not want to look through the telescope, with the hint the central question is “if such stars are at all necessary”. It soothed and was a relief to read the careful summary of the “Follow Through” study by Peter Aebersold in the issue No 3 of 17 Februray 2020 of Current Concerns1. This study convinced, through its scientifically thorough method, using a large sample comprising of almost 10,000 pupils and included a control-group and because the sustainability of results were re-evaluated years afterwards. If, however, despite these devastating facts, the new learning methods are being maintained by the teacher training colleges and education departments, then we now have proof that these institutions have committed themselves to an ideology and are ignoring scientific knowledge. Heartfelt thanks to Peter Aebersold for this article. This study, and in particular the concise summary, gives me an excellent tool for further discussions.

1 summary of the  «Follow Through» study by Peter Aebersold 

(Translation Current Concerns)

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