Carnegie Mellon Press Release: March 9, 2004
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Press Release

Contact:
Jonathan Potts
412-268-6094

For immediate release:
March 9, 2004

Carnegie Mellon Cognitive Psychologist To Speak At U.S. Department of Education Summit

PITTSBURGH—David Klahr, a professor of psychology at Carnegie Mellon University, is among an elite group of researchers and educators who will be speaking Tuesday, March 16, during the U.S. Department of Education's Science Summit in Washington, D.C. The summit is part of Excellence in Science, Technology and Mathematics Education Week and will explore how to improve public engagement, expand teacher knowledge and develop a research agenda to improve science education.

Klahr is a cognitive psychologist whose research has centered on effective techniques for teaching science and on the ability of children to reason scientifically. He has developed methods for teaching science based upon research into how children think and learn. During his talk, he will discuss the state of educational research done by cognitive and developmental psychologists, which Klahr says often fails to take into account the complexities faced by classroom teachers. He will address the need for educational research to take a more pragmatic approach and discuss how he has attempted in his own research to bridge the gap between the way that psychologists study thinking and the need to engineer complex classroom instructional procedures.

"As in medicine, educational practice will only advance when it is based not on vague theories, but on rigorous empirical results from hundreds of highly particularized investigations," Klahr said. "The Department of Education is to be commended for vigorously promoting a variety of research initiatives aimed at the creation of a new science of education."

Carnegie Mellon is a world leader in cognitive and developmental psychology, which is the study of the mechanisms that underlie human thinking processes and their development. The university's Department of Psychology is one of eight departments in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, the second-largest academic unit at Carnegie Mellon. The college emphasizes interdisciplinary study in a technologically rich environment, with an open and forward-thinking stance toward the arts and sciences.

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