Science of Reading: The Podcast

S1-01. The Knowledge Gap: Natalie Wexler

October 16, 2019 Amplify Education Season 1 Episode 1
Science of Reading: The Podcast
S1-01. The Knowledge Gap: Natalie Wexler
Show Notes

What's broken in our education system? Natalie joins Susan for a provocative talk about her latest book, The Knowledge Gap, and how a knowledge-based curriculum can bring equity into the classroom, and students' futures.


“Kids actually love to learn stuff. They love to feel like they’re experts. It does wonders for their self-esteem.” - Wexler

“Once teachers try it and can see what can happen…they’re going to say ‘I’m never going back to what I was doing before.” - Wexler


Natalie Wexler’s books:

The Knowledge Gap: The hidden cause of America's broken education system--and how to fix it

The Writing Revolution: A Guide to Advancing Thinking Through Writing in All Subjects and Grade

Natalie Wexler’s articles:

Elementary Education Has Gone Terribly Wrong: The Case for Teaching Kids Stuff” (The Atlantic, August 2019)

“Why American Students Haven't Gotten Better at Reading in 20 Years” (The Atlantic, April 2018)

Additional resources:

Cognitive scientist Daniel Willingham’s education blog

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Episode Content Timestamps*

2:00: Introduction: Why is Natalie Wexler?
4:00: The meaning of "content"
6:00: How did the problem of not teaching content evolve? Why do we need to teach content?
10:00: Observations from a knowledge-based classroom
13:00: Education reform and the current attention on knowledge building
17:00: Classroom teachers: Addressing misconceptions and confusion, and insight
26:00: The knowledge gap issue beyond just the individual teacher
34:00: The connection between content and writing
36:00: Top things for listeners to take away from this episode

*Timestamps are approximate, rounded to nearest minute