Video: Robert Weissberg on Limits to Learning

NAS member and professor emeritus of political science at the University of Illinois Robert Weissberg was a recent guest on the video interview program Inside Academia. He spoke about his most recent book Bad Students, Not Bad Schools Dr. Weissberg drew comparisons to athletics, arguing that just as some people have more natural talent as athletes, some have more natural ability to perform well academically. Motivation and environment also factor in. 

Click on the video below to watch the 20-minute interview. 

Key Take-Aways

  • 1:04 – What everyone knows, but is afraid to say in public. (1 min)
  • 3:50 – Like in athletics, there are limits to your natural learning abilities (1 min)
  • 5:10 – Children can distinguish between “smart” and “dumb” peers (1 min)
  • 6:30 – Programs like HeadStart do not boost cognitive ability (1 min)
  • 9:00 – Big Bird should be killed (2 mins)
  • 12:49 – Cheating is endemic — and tolerated — in education, but not in sports (2 mins)
  • 16:15 – School choice is a blind alley, as more choice doesn’t increase motivation (1 min)
  • 17:44 – Let teens leave school at 15, but with certificates to redeem for later schooling (2 mins)

 

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