: : : PCT applied to education

[From Richard Thurman (970207.1700)]

Bruce Gregory (970207.1100 EST)

Richard Thurman (970206.0825)]
Let me try to explain my position this way. There are at least two

major

sources for instructional prescriptions. The first and foremost source

is

history, either personal or cultural. We humans tend to be very

observant

when it comes to finding 'what works' and we tend to stick with a tool

or

practice as long as it gets us what we need. Thus if we see that 'lots

of

feedback' helps students (or our children if we are a parent), we will
give it.

In order to be meaningful, feedback must be provided by the
task, not the teacher. Imagine trying to learn to drive a car
wearing a blindfold. The instructor provides helpful "feedback"
by saying, "O.K. O.K. No, left. Further left. Now right, Oh my
God...."

You must be psychic -- My son recently got his drivers license. That's
exactly the kind of feedback I gave (almost to the word). And neither of
us was blindfolded!

Even on the way to the License Station I was giving him such "feedback."
Now I see why he thinks I'm such a disturbance (but I think he uses a
different word to describe me when I am not in earshot).

Seriously though I don't think that's the kind of thing I meant by
"feedback." Besides, often the student's task is to get the teacher to
say "Good Work you get an A." Student's may very well be controlling for
an "A" and still learn (as a side effect or as a lower level controlled
variable).

My Son must have been controlling for a variable called "Make him stop
screaming about my driving" because I don't anymore. (And he did get his
license.)

Rich

[From Bruce Gregory (970207.2120 EST)]

Richard Thurman (970207.1700)

Seriously though I don't think that's the kind of thing I meant by
"feedback." Besides, often the student's task is to get the teacher to
say "Good Work you get an A." Student's may very well be controlling for
an "A" and still learn (as a side effect or as a lower level controlled
variable).

I think Rick Marken's point is right on target. Controlling for an "A"
may well lead to trying to generate the "right" outputs, since
that is what the teacher is looking for. Generating outputs is
a long way from controlling, as we all (with a few exceptions :wink: )
know. You really only learn when you are working to satisfy
yourself -- at least that's the way it seems to me.

Bruce Gregory