#109 Paul Kirschner and Carl Hendrick: How learning happens

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Hello and welcome to another episode of the Mr Barton Maths podcast, with me Craig Barton.

Paul Kirschner describes himself as an educational realist. He is also an Emeritus Professor of Educational Psychology at the Open Universiteit. On a personal note, Paul is also the co-author of a research paper that had a profound influence on my own teaching practice: Why Minimal Guidance During Instruction Does Not Work – something we discuss during the interview.

Carl Hendrick is a podcast favourite, appearing a few years ago with Robin MacPherson to discuss their excellent book, What does it look like in the classroom? Carl is an English teacher and Director of Research at Wellington College.

Paul and Carl have come together to write a new book – How Learning Happens: Seminal Works in Educational Psychology, and it is superb.

So, In a wide ranging conversation,we discussed the following things, and plenty more besides:

  • Paul describes not one, but two favourite failures, and what he learned from the experiences
  • We dive deep into the writing of and reaction to Paul’s seminal paper, Why Minimal Guidance During Instruction Does Not Work
  • Paul responds to criticisms of his mantra that “learning is a change in long-term memory”
  • Then I ask Carl and Paul to each choose a paper from their book and describe why they think it is important for teachers to know about
  • Finally, we discuss educational research in general – what can cognitive science not tell us, and can you prove anything with research?

Now, I actually have two other “normal” episodes that I recorded before the school closures – one with Mark Healy and another with Robert Kaplinsky. However, I decided to bump this episode up the running order because we touch upon Carl and Paul’s thoughts about remote teaching and learning based on all the things they have read and researched.

I loved this conversation. I have been lucky enough to see Paul speak a couple of times, but never quite had the courage to go and say hello. It was a privilege to talk to him and Carl in depth about areas of education we are all passionate about.

On Twitter,  Paul is @P_A_Kirschner
On Twitter,  Carl is @C_Hendrick
Their book, How learning happens, is available here
The paper, Why Minimal Guidance During Instruction Does Not Work, can be downloaded here

Paul Kirschner’s Big 3:
1. A Chemical Orthodoxy – Adam Boxer
2. CogSciSci
3. 3starlearningexperiences – Mirjam Neelen and Paul


My usual plugs:


Thanks so much for listening, stay safe, and I really hope you enjoy the show
Craig Barton

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