These factoids highlight information teachers may find useful in the recent postings of the British Psychological Society Research Digest Blog.
Here’s a definition of teaching researchers Nigel Franks and Tom Richardson at the University of Bristol used to demonstrate that ants teach other ants. Yes, observable instruction among non-humans.
“…to be classed as teaching in the strictest sense, it must be shown that, at some cost to itself, the ‘teacher’ changes its behaviour in the presence of a naïve ‘pupil’, together with evidence that the ‘pupil’ learns something from the interaction.” (Franks, N.R. & Richardson, T. (2006). Teaching in tandem-running ants. Nature, 439, 153.)
Happiness causes success. University of California researchers S. Lyubomirsky, L. King, & F. Diener reported in Psychological Bulletin, 131, 803-855 (2005). These authors conducted a metastudy review of 225 studies, collectively involving more than 275,000 participants. They concluded, “It appears that happiness, rooted in personality and in past successes, leads to approach behaviours that often lead to further success”.
“In other words”, they said “because all is going well, individuals can expand their resources and friendships; they can take the opportunity to build their repertoire of skills for future use; or they can rest and relax to rebuild their energy after expending high levels of effort”.
Looking away from a teacher can improve academic performance. F.G. Phelps, G. Doherty-Sneddon, & H. Warnock (2006) conclude that encouraging five year old students to avoid gazing at the teacher while the child is thinking “appears to be a simple, yet effective way in which to significantly improve a child’s cognitive performance”. (British Journal of Developmental Psychology. In Press)
I especially want to think about the definition of teaching, the requirement that teaching involves a change in behavior of teacher and learner. That makes sense. In other words, teachers exchange time, goods, and other things of value with a learner. The learner gives time, goods, attention, and other things of value to the learner in exchange for something from the teacher. Yes, this still makes sense. Can we also say that happy exchanges cause success, especially of the learner looks away from the teacher?
I wonder what implications these factoids have for uses of Tablet (mobile) PCs in classrooms.