integrated thinkingWith 37.5% of the votes on Tuesday’s poll = False conflict #1: fact memorization vs. conceptual understanding
This idea gets a whole stage in our 5-stage Framework. Stage 3 to be exact. Lynn Erickson, the Godmother of Concept-Based will be a guest blogger once she’s back from world travels of spreading the gospel.
It is a false conflict because you cannot have one without the other. Concepts remain too abstract without examples (facts) and facts alone don’t allow us to transfer learning to new or unfamiliar situations.
Cartoon by David Ford davidford@cablespeed.com
For now, a few points:

  • “Grasping the structure of a subject is understanding it in a way that permits many other things to be related to it meaningfully. To learn structure, in short, is to learn how things are related”. – Jerome Bruner, 1959
  • “To develop competence in an area of inquiry, students must have (a) a deep foundation of factual knowledge, (b) understand facts and ideas in the context of a conceptual framework, and (c) organize knowledge in ways that facilitate retrieval and application”. – National Research Council, 2000
  • “Education needs to increase the percentage of time on the factual/conceptual relationships of knowledge”. – H. Lynn Erickson, 2007

A few notes for the other false conflicts that received votes:
Basic skills vs. higher-ordered thinking skills. This one is the most contentious, especially in urban education. See Authentic Intellectual Work and a Department of Education study from 1992
Happy teachers vs. successful students. The idea that these two things are in conflict assumes two things: 1) successful students require superhuman adults and 2) stressed-out, overworked teachers do not hinder learning. We think both of these assumptions are false and need to be explored.
Autonomy vs. universal principles and shared goals. If we focus on universal principles of learning it gives teachers way more autonomy in how they achieve them and is more effective than if we make the strategy mandatory. For example, take this one: Allow processing time when exposing students to new information. Smart, creative teachers can come up with countless strategies to make this happen in a way that works best for them, their students and their discipline. Mandating that all teachers, for example, do Socratic Seminars would be less effective. Our five-stage framework is open enough to allow schools to adapt each stage to meet specific needs based on priorities, demographics, etc.
Education for enlightenment vs. education for economics. These goals have thankfully merged in the 21st Century. Watch this. Read this. And this.
This week is all about Adults as Learners:
1) Questioning habits and beliefs of the status quo
2) Finding universal principles of learning
3) Systems-thinking
4) Continuous learning
Let us know what you think about this week’s posts! We want to hear from you. 🙂

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