Paul Ayres is Emeritus Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of New South Wales in Australia. In this episode, Paul talks to Greg Ashman about his journey from classroom teacher in the UK to education professor in Australia. Along the way, Paul and Greg discuss models of human cognitive architecture, mirror neurons, embodied cognition, goal-free problems, what makes a Pythagoras problem difficult and measuring cognitive load. They also discuss the recent review of the Australian Curriculum and what we can do to break the cycle of bad ideas.
Mandy Nayton is the Chief Executive Officer of The Dyslexia-SPELD Foundation and President of AUSPELD, the Australian federation of SPELD Associations (SPELD is short for Specific Educational Learning Difficulties). In this episode, Mandy talks to Greg Ashman about her journey from governess on an outback station to where she is today. Along the way, Mandy and Greg discuss the factors that affect children's engagement with education and the barriers presented by reading failure. They discuss the process of learning to read, vocabulary, morphology and etymology, before chatting about an upcoming researchED conference in Perth and looking to the future for evidence-based education.
John Sweller is Emeritus Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, and is probably best know for his work on Cognitive Load Theory. He is also one of Greg Ashman's PhD supervisors. In this episode, John talks to Greg about the development of Cognitive Load Theory, its implications and some of the common criticisms levelled at the theory. Along the way, they discuss biologically primary and biologically secondary knowledge as well as their thoughts on the draft new Australian Curriculum.
Dr Jenny Donovan is head of the newly formed Australian Education Research Organisation (AERO). Prior to that Jenny has had an influential career in education which has included the founding of the Centre for Education Statistics (CESE) in New South Wales, Australia. In this episode, Jenny talks to Greg Ashman about her journey into education, the work of CESE, including its review of Reading Recovery and its publication of resources on cognitive load theory. Jenny and Greg then discuss AERO and its plans for the future.
Sonia Cabell is an Assistant Professor in the School of Teacher Education and the Florida Center for Reading Research at Florida State University. Sonia started out as a second-grade teacher trained in whole language reading instruction before making the move into research. In this episode, Sonia talks to Greg Ashman about her journey, the effects of the U.S. National Reading Panel report on schools, the 'science of reading' and what we mean by that term, academic language development and her recently published paper, co-authored with HyeJin Hwang, on attempts to boost reading comprehension by building children's knowledge.
Ollie Lovell is a teacher, author, podcaster and entrepreneur. After studying physics and economics, Ollie became a maths teacher in Melbourne where he fed a passion for education research. Recently, Ollie Has written a book on cognitive load theory, Cognitive Load Theory in Action, part of the 'in action' series published by John Catt. In this episode, Ollie speaks to Greg Ashman about cognitive load theory, its implications for teachers and some of the controversies surrounding the theory.
Paul Kirschner is Emeritus Professor of Educational Psychology at the Open University of the Netherlands and Guest Professor at Thomas More University of Applied Science in Belgium. In this episode, Paul talks to Greg Ashman about his long career in educational psychology, the key distinction between epistemology and pedagogy and that Minimal Guidance paper he wrote with John Sweller and Richard Clark. Paul and Greg also discuss Paul’s new book co-authored with Carl Hendrick, How Learning Happens. Unfortunately, Paul and Greg run out of time before all of Greg’s questions are answered and so Paul has agreed to return in the future.
Natalie Wexler is an author and journalist who became interested in educational issues when she began to work with students in disadvantaged schools in Washington. Natalie is co-author of The Writing Revolution, with Judith Hochman and author of The Knowledge Gap. In this episode, Natalie talks to Greg Ashman about her journey into education, the Impact of The Writing Revolution and how its methods align with cognitive science. Natalie and Greg then discuss The Knowledge Gap, the reason why we need more of a knowledge focus in schools and some of the objections and barriers to this idea before discussing some possible solutions.
Emina McLean is an Australian language and literacy expert. In this episode, she talks to Greg Ashman about her training as a speech language pathologist, her imminent career move to a brand new primary school in Melbourne, the science of reading and teacher professional development. Along the way, Emina and Greg discuss the controversies that surround literacy teaching, such as the recent blog post by Diane Ravitch complaining about the term the 'science of reading' and New South Wales' decision to roll-out a phonics screening check in all public schools, as well as the best and worst ways of changing people's minds and hopes for the future.
In the episode, the tables are turned and Kate Barry, an English and French teacher from Ireland, interviews Greg Ashman about his new book, The Power of Explicit Teaching and Direct Instruction. Greg and Kate discuss Greg's route into teaching, the nature and value of education research, the meaning of the terms 'explicit teaching' and 'direct instruction', the different perspectives of academics and practising teachers, the need to look for disconfirming evidence, differentiated instruction and solution to avoiding progressivist/traditionalist pendulum swings. Thanks to Kate for asking the questions. You can read an excerpt from The Power of Explicit Teaching and Direct Instruction here.