Are The Dutch Wrong?

I am going to tread lightly today, as I am not sure what to believe any more.  After reading Daisy Christodoulou’s blog post entitled ‘Seven Myths About Education’ and more precisely her excellent post on ‘Myth six – Projects and activities are the best way to learn‘  I couldn’t help thinking of the Dutch style of teaching of mathematics – the ‘Realistic Mathematical Education‘ project.

The Dutch approach is at complete odds with what Daisy’s research has uncovered.  However, it seems that the scores of the Netherlands in PISA is always extremely high.  Always around the top 10 and as high as 4th in 2003.

So as a teacher I come to a real issue, there is research telling me that ‘Direct Instruction‘ is the best way to go – that the transmission of information from myself to the students will lead to the best long term results, however I am wary that the long term results don’t seem that great, however short term performance is excellent.  The real problem I have here, with Direct Instruction, is this : how do we know that it doesn’t just increase short term performance at the cost of long term learning?  Certainly the data taken at face value from ‘Project Follow Through’ seems good, however when put under the microscope it starts to pale.

So I ask you (well when I say you, I probably mean just me, as nobody ever reads my blog) what on Earth should I do?  Is the Dutch model the correct answer?  Is ‘Direct Instruction’ the way forwards?  I am once again lost.

 

(For those people that know not of what the Dutch do: http://www.fisme.science.uu.nl/wisweb/en/)

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