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Why Do You Ask?

From asking questions that require an answer To asking questions that require a conversation.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Why Don't Students Like School (ch. 2)

"Factual knowledge must precede skill."
Willingham demonstrates how the Education Technology gurus are somewhat wrong in their argument that there is little (or no) reason to memorize anything since you can look it up on the Internet. The argument that the information we learn today will be out of date un 5 years, therefore it is better to teach and practice critical thinking and evaluative skills to determine validity of information.
That got my attention.
Data from the past 30 years is conclusive that THINKING WELL REQUIRES KNOWING FACTS.
The processes teachers care about most (critical thinking, reasoning, problem solving) are deeply connected and impossible without factual knowledge that is stored in long-term memory.
Teachers must make sure that students acquire background knowledge in line with practicing critical thinking skills.
Willingham discusses how chunking works, why it should be used, and how to do it effectively. Factual knowledge is what allows for chunking.
Favorite quotes:
"...background knowledge allows chunking, which makes more room in working memory, which makes it easier to relate ideas, and therefore to comprehend."
"...much of the time when we see someone apparently engaged in logical thinking, he or she is actually engaged in memory retrieval."
"When it comes to knowledge, those who have more gain more."
"...Einstein was wrong. Knowledge is more important then imagination, because it's a prerequisite for imagination, or at least for the sort of imagination that leads to problem solving, decision making, and creativity."
"We must help children learn background knowledge."
Seven implications for the classroom are then given to assist teachers I'm making this happen.
The final idea (discussed in the next chapter in detail) is about "stickiness." I'm eager to compare this with the Heath brothers' - Made To Stick - SUCCES model (which I am using along with Dan Roam's Back Of The Napkin) in my class next year.

 From R. Murry

Posted via email from rrmurry's posterous


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