Sunday, April 22, 2012

Working memory and IQ

Read this article in The New York Times. Then, consider my comments.

I find this to be an incredibly important article, and would like to point to the other side of the coin, which is how we persecute children who have poor working memory. It’s a ground-breaking concept that we could improve IQ through training to improve working memory, but for those kids with poor working memory, we systematically abuse them through our homework system. We expect them to go home and hold onto concepts taught in school and work independently, often hours on end, without positive results. Then, we punish theme severely with low grades, sending their parents into a frenzy that persecutes them more. I’ve said for years that these children need homework relief and to focus their education primarily to classroom work under the supervision of professional teachers. This does not mean special education or separation from regular courses of study, just relief from the homework they cannot do, at least until some form of remediation takes place. I’ve always considered the two primary offenders to be working memory and processing speed, and assumed there were more possibilities for remediation for deficits in processing speed than working memory. This article challenges that belief. But homework relief is essential until science and education catch up. Kenneth Goldberg, Ph.D. author of The Homework Trap: How to Save the Sanity of Parents, Students and Teachers.

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