Ask the Educator

See and listen to leading researchers, thinkers, and Institute for Learning Fellows respond to pressing questions about instruction.

What Does Research Say about the Kind of Writing Assignments that Support Student Learning?"

Lindsay Clare Matsumura Answered by Lindsay Clare Matsumura, posted on January 29th, 2016

Lindsay Clare Matsumura, an associate professor in the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education and a research scientist at the Learning Research and Development Center, describes the features of text-based writing assignments that build students' reading and analytic writing skills

What Do We Know about How Learners Acquire New Vocabulary?

Margaret McKeown Answered by Margaret G. McKeown, posted on October 22nd, 2014

Margaret G. McKeown, a Senior Scientist at the Learning Research and Development Center and a Clinical Professor in the School of Education at the University of Pittsburgh, explains how learners acquire new vocabulary.

Is There a Good Way to Use Peer Review to Add Writing in the Classroom?

Christian Schunn Answered by Christian Schunn, posted on January 13th, 2014

Learn about simple research-based strategies to make peer review effective and efficient, transforming the learning in your classroom.

Why is it important for English learners to talk every day and how can teachers engage these students in academic conversations?

Rosa E. (Rosita) ApodacaAnswered by Rosa E. (Rosita) Apodaca, posted on May 31st, 2012

Rosa E. (Rosita) Apodaca is a Fellow at the Institute for Learning and leads its English Learner ELA work. In this video she discusses why English learners must go beyond fluency in everyday English and how teachers can help students become fluent listeners and speakers of academic English.

Why is it important to let students work on a math task without first showing them how to solve it?

Idorenyin (Ido) JamarAnswered by Idorenyin (Ido) Jamar, posted on November 7th, 2011

Idorenyin (Ido) Jamar is a Mathematics Professional Development Specialist with the Teachers Development Group. In this video she discusses why it is important to let students work on a mathematics task without first showing them how to solve it.

How can we use high-level tasks to promote equity in the mathematics classroom?

Margaret (Peg) SmithAnswered by Margaret (Peg) Smith, posted on September 9th, 2011

Margaret (Peg) Smith is a Professor in the Department of Instruction and Learning in the School of Education and a Research Scientist at the Learning Research and Development Center, both at the University of Pittsburgh. In this video she discusses the importance of high-level tasks in developing students capacity to think, reason, and problem solve and the ways in which high-level tasks can provide all students with access to challenging mathematical content.

What is the importance of engaging students in talk in the science class?

Sam SpiegelAnswered by Sam Spiegel, posted on July 6th, 2011

Sam Spiegel is a former Fellow at the Institute for Learning and chair of the Disciplinary Literacy science team. In this video he discusses why student talk is important in the science classroom.

Why should all students read to get the gist?

Stephanie McConachieAnswered by Stephanie M. McConachie, posted on March 25th, 2011

Stephanie M. McConachie, a former IFL Fellow, discusses why all students need to read to get the gist as part of the Institute for Learning's Patterned Way of Reading, Writing, and Talking.

How does Accountable Talk® promote learning?

Lauren ResnickAnswered by Lauren B. Resnick, posted on August 20th, 2010

Lauren B. Resnick, the founder and Director of the Institute for Learning and a Distinguished University Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Science at the University of Pittsburgh. In this video, she discusses how Accountable Talk® promotes learning.

What can we do to improve mathematics and science for all students?

William F. Tate IVAnswered by William F. Tate IV, posted on March 5th, 2010

William F. Tate IV holds the Edward Mallinckrdodt Distinguished University Professorship in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis and serves as Chair of the Department of Education. In this video, he addresses high quality mathematics and science education for all students.

What ideas should guide our thinking about the education of English Language Learners?

Claude GoldenbergAnswered by Claude Goldenberg, posted on January 1st, 2010

Claude Goldenberg is Professor of Education at Stanford University and (since 2005) Executive Director of the Center for Language Minority Education and Research (CLMER). In this video, he addresses the issues of rigorous education for ELLs.