- Jun 2018
a teacher constructs an instructional program
I think it is important that teachers retain the role of constructing an instructional program and utilize the strengths and interests of the children when doing so. As was pointed out above, children learn best when they are able to use their preconceptions and misconceptions to test out new information. It is up to the teacher to know what her students know and harness this knowledge as a foundation for new concepts.
Teachers must come to teaching with the experience of in-depth study of the subject area themselves.
YES! There is a lack of truly knowledgeable teachers, especially in the early years and elementary. I work directly with 2-6 year olds who ask tons of questions. The main science focus in this age group is focused on plants and life cycles. I have observed so many wasted moments in the classroom because a teacher didn't know the answer to "how does the water go up the roots?" or "why are leaves green?" Teachers with rich background knowledge are able to apply that to the question and development of the child and continue to build layers of knowledge that will be added to in years ahead.
For the scientific understanding to replace the naïve understanding, students must reveal the latter and have the opportunity to see where it falls short.
To do this, a school must value student-driven learning. Not many are willing to devote time to taking a child's idea, putting it to the test, and seeking additional information on the topic unless it is one that relates directly and specifically to the prescribed curriculum.
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.
This comes about through dialogue with the child one-on-one or in a small group setting which is hard to find in modern class settings and teacher/student ratios. Young children who are given the opportunity to explore a rich environment and ask spontaneous questions are developing habits which will encourage them to keep learning through the rest of life.
rather, the goal of education is better conceived as helping students develop the intellectual tools and learning strategies needed to acquire the knowledge that allows people to think productively about history, science and technology, social phenomena, mathematics, and the arts.
I agree with this, but I am interested to see if this is seen as a negative or positive as the book continues. Personally, I think that this shift was viewed as a negative, isolating people from each other and building a dependency on AI up until a few years ago. At the moment, I see this view shifting to one of collaboration. I recently watched our elementary students preparing for a reading competition. They had 8 books for the team of 4. Amongst themselves, they decided to each read all the books, but then each took 2 books to read multiple times and be the "expert" on. I think dividing knowledge among people is becoming more important and it is becoming more acceptable to have depth of knowledge rather than breadth.
Developmental researchers have shown that young children understand a great deal about basic principles of biology and physical causality, about number, narrative, and personal intent, and that these capabilities make it possible to create innovative curricula that introduce important concepts for advanced reasoning at early ages.
I have seen this first-hand with my preschoolers. It all starts when an adult takes the time to question a child about his/her thinking and understand what the child has observed or experienced that has influenced this thinking. I work in a bilingual Mandarin/English school and recently had quite a scientific conversation with a child who was telling me that the word for muscle and chicken are nearly the same in Chinese and that the chicken's muscles were the part we were eating for lunch.