>Chapter 1 from How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School


  • tags:EDUC 604

    • The scientific achievements include a fuller understanding of: (1) memory and the structure of knowledge; (2) problem solving and reasoning; (3) the early foundations of learning; (4) regulatory processes that govern learning, including metacognition; and (5) how symbolic thinking emerges from the culture and community of the learner.
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    • The emerging science of learning underscores the importance of rethinking what is taught, how it is taught, and how learning is assessed. These ideas are developed throughout this report.
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    • Teaching practices congruent with a metacognitive approach to learning include those that focus on sense-making, self-assessment, and reflection on what worked and what needs improving. These practices have been shown to increase the degree to which students transfer their learning to new settings and events (e.g., Palincsar and Brown, 1984; Scardamalia et al., 1984; Schoenfeld, 1983, 1985, 1991).
  • tags:EDUC 604

    • Constructivists assume that all knowledge is constructed from previous knowledge, irrespective of how one is taugh
    • there are times, usually after people have first grappled with issues on their own, that “teaching by telling” can work extremely well
  • tags:EDUC 604

    • A logical extension of the view that new knowledge must be constructed from existing knowledge is that teachers need to pay attention to the incomplete understandings, the false beliefs, and the naive renditions of concepts that learners bring with them to a given subject. Teachers then need to build on these ideas in ways that help each student achieve a more mature understanding. If students’ initial ideas and beliefs are ignored, the understandings that they develop can be very different from what the teacher intends.
  • tags:EDUC 604

    • The new science of learning does not deny that facts are important for thinking and problem solving. Research on expertise in areas such as chess, history, science, and mathematics demonstrate that experts’ abilities to think and solve problems depend strongly on a rich body of knowledge about subject matter (e.g., Chase and Simon, 1973; Chi et al., 1981; deGroot, 1965). However, the research also shows clearly that “usable knowledge” is not the same as a mere list of disconnected facts. Experts’ knowledge is connected and organized around important concepts (e.g., Newton’s second law of motion); it is “conditionalized” to specify the contexts in which it is applicable; it supports understanding and transfer (to other contexts) rather than only the ability to remember.
  • tags:EDUC 604

    • limitation of early behaviorism stemmed from its focus on observable stimulus conditions and the behaviors associated with those conditions. This orientation made it difficult to study such phenomena as understanding, reasoning, and thinking—phenomena that are of paramount importance for education.
    • hallmarks of the new science of learning is its emphasis on learning with understanding. Intuitively, understanding is good, but it has been difficult to study from a scientific perspective. At the same time, students often have limited opportunities to understand or make sense of topics because many curricula have emphasized memory rather than understanding.
  • tags:EDUC 604

    • behaviorists held that the scientific study of psychology must restrict itself to the study of observable behaviors and the stimulus conditions that control them.
    • Drawing on the empiricist tradition, behaviorists conceptualized learning as a process of forming connections between stimuli and responses. Motivation to learn was assumed to be driven primarily by drives, such as hunger, and the availability of external forces, such as rewards and punishments (e.g., Thorndike, 1913; Skinner, 1950)
  • tags:EDUC 604

          • First, we focus primarily on research on human learning (though the study of animal learning provides important collateral information), including new developments from neuroscience.
          • Second, we focus especially on learning research that has implications for the design of formal instructional environments, primarily preschools, kindergarten through high schools (K-12), and colleges.
          • Third, and related to the second point, we focus on research that helps explore the possibility of helping all individuals achieve their fullest potential.

      The scientific literatures on cognition, learning, development, culture, and brain are voluminous. Three organizing decisions, made fairly e
      arly in the work of the committee, provided the framework for our study and are reflected in the contents of this book.

  • tags:EDUC 604

    • n the early part of the twentieth century, education focused on the acquisition of literacy skills: simple reading, writing, and calculating. It was not the general rule for educational systems to train people to think and read critically, to express themselves clearly and persuasively, to solve complex problems in science and mathematics. Now, at the end of the century, these aspects of high literacy are required of almost everyone in order to successfully negotiate the complexities of contemporary life.
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    • Thirty years ago, educators paid little attention to the work of cognitive scientists, and researchers in the nascent field of cognitive science worked far removed from classrooms. Today, cognitive researchers are spending more time working with teachers, testing and refining their theories in real classrooms where they can see how different settings and classroom interactions influence applications of their theories.
  • tags:EDUC 604

    • competition among students for teacher attention, approval, and grades is a commonly used motivator in U.S. schools. And in some situations, competition may create situations that impede learning
      • Like how students who participate in AR read for points and rewards, but when they exit the program, stop reading altogether
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    • expose students to the major features of a subject domain as they arise naturally in problem situations. Activities can be structured so that students are able to explore, explain, extend, and evaluate their progress
      • Another caveat for Problem-based learning. Students see a need and cultivate a desire for learning through the process of solving a meaningful problem.
  • tags:EDUC 604

    • School administrators were eager to make use of the “scientific” organization of factories to structure efficient classrooms.
      • Are we not moving back toward this model? Consider the focus of using “research-based” methods of teaching and the “programs” that assume that each child learns and functions the same.
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    • inquiry-based approach, had a better grasp of the fundamental principles of physics
      • Further support for problem based learning rather than that which is teacher centered or rote
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    • In reaction to the subjectivity inherent in introspection, behaviorists held that the scientific study of psychology must restrict itself to the study of observable behaviors and the stimulus conditions that control them.
      • Add to developing definition of behaviorism

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